Britains eldest surviving World Champion heard the bell for the final time today, and we bid goodbye to a national boxing treasure. Terry Downes the former middleweight champion of the world passed away at the age of 81 today Friday the 6th October 2017.
The Paddington express claimed the Championship of the World in 1961 when he stopped the excellent Paul Pender in the 10th of a scheduled 15 round battle in a terrific career that saw him take British, Commonwealth and World titles in his 44 professional fights.
His most notable victory was over the greatest of them all Sugar Ray Robinson who he defeated on points in 1962 but was man enough to say “I didn’t beat Ray Robinson I beat his ghost” as Robinson was 41 years old at that time.
He lost the title to Pender in a rematch 9 months later and went on to win his next 7 fights before World light heavyweight champion Willie Pastrano stopped him for the title in November 1964.
In retirement he took up acting and had some notable roles, but it was his great love of boxing that he never strayed far from, as a young professional boxer myself based in South London I met him on many occasions in the Thomas a Beckett gym where he was an ever-present figure and the small hall boxing shows he never missed and you did well if you never fell foul of his hilarious criticism, ” He’s a ——-donut, knock I’m ouut” was a all too familiar saying.
A family man, a fighting man a gentleman Terry Downes Sir we salute you, and British boxing will miss you. God Bless and rest in peace.