Yesterday’s Heroes: Stan Hawthorne and Billy Thompson as soon as attracted 18,000 followers to Anfield for an Space title battle


By Miles Templeton


THERE are sure British title fights that actually stand out within the reminiscence, each for the sheer high quality of the match-up and for the thrill the motion produced. Again when the British title meant excess of it appears to as of late, some clear examples are the Eric Boon-Arthur Danahar light-weight contest in 1938, the good Alan Minter-Kevin Finnegan trilogy within the mid-Nineteen Seventies and the three contests between Jackie Brown and Bert Kirby between 1929 and 1931. One other one, that I’ve all the time been keenly desirous about, is that between Stan Hawthorne and Billy Thompson at light-weight in 1947.

Thompson got here from Hickleton Predominant, a pit village close to Thurnscoe, in West Yorkshire.  The realm had a convention of manufacturing arduous males, and Hickleton Predominant ABC was a prime novice membership that turned out champions, together with Thompson, who received the ABA light-weight championship in 1945, and Ronnie Latham, who received the identical title 5 years later.

Hawthorne, in the meantime, was a big-punching fighter from North Shields, a fishing port 10 miles north of the Tyne from Newcastle. North Shields additionally produced its fair proportion of powerful fighters, with Spike Robson and Paul Charters standing out.  Hawthorne’s father, who additionally fought within the Nice Struggle, was rescued from the seashores at Dunkirk, his brother Ronnie took half within the D-Day landings, and Stan, who was born in 1923, spent 17 months within the Military himself.

Hawthorne fought Thompson seven occasions as an novice, all bouts happening in 1944 and 1945, dropping six of them, however profitable the final of them by knockout at Hickleton Predominant. After being discharged from the Military he wasted no time in turning professional, shortly gaining an enormous popularity in rings round Liverpool and Blackpool, the place Stan had based mostly himself.

Thompson additionally turned professional in 1945, however with supervisor Benny Huntman signing him after his ABA victory, Billy based mostly himself in London. By the next yr, he had received 20 on the trot and he was matched towards Hawthorne for the Northern Space light-weight title.

At the moment the Northern Space encompassed Lancashire and Yorkshire in addition to the North-East, however it’s nonetheless superb to notice that 18,000 folks turned as much as see an space title battle at Anfield, dwelling of Liverpool FC. The bout was additionally given official recognition as an eliminator for the British title, held by Ronnie James. Hawthorne confounded the chances that night time, outpointing the Yorkshireman in a bout which BN described as “one steady thrill”.

James retired following his 1946 loss to Ike Williams for the world title, and so Thompson and Hawthorne had been rematched for the vacant British title in October 1947, once more at Anfield. Because the 1946 contest that they had every engaged in loads of contests with solely two losses; Thompson dropping out to Andre Famechon and Hawthorne to Josef Preys. With many extra wins behind them there was eager anticipation for the return.

BN sat on the fence in stating that “There isn’t any doubt that these two kids will present one other spectacular and thrilling battle that, if it goes the space, will once more be very carefully contested.”

The 2 males might each punch and an inside the space victory, somehow, was anticipated. This time, 20,000 turned up and Thompson was in no temper to present Hawthorne time to settle. He steamed into the North Shields man proper from the off and the 2 traded arduous blows in a sensational first spherical, with the honours going to Thompson. Within the second, Billy blasted Hawthorne to the canvas 3 times with the bell saving him from a knockout on the depend of eight. The third proved to be the final with a groggy Hawthorne, fully outclassed and badly battered, being rescued by the referee. Hawthorne fought on, with various success, till 1951, while Thompson retired in 1953 after he had added the European title to his British crown.

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