Search

Sammy tells his story of bygone boxing era

PUBLISHED: 09:00 15 August 2014

Sammy McCarthy celebrates winning the British featherweight title in 1954 with trainer Snowy Buckingham and manager Jack King

Sammy McCarthy celebrates winning the British featherweight title in 1954 with trainer Snowy Buckingham and manager Jack King

Archant

Stepney fighter who became east London’s big boxing hero of the 1950s

Former British featherweight champion Sammy McCarthy relaxes at home (pic: Alex Daley)Former British featherweight champion Sammy McCarthy relaxes at home (pic: Alex Daley)

‘Smiling’ Sammy McCarthy, the Stepney fighter who became east London’s big boxing hero of the 1950s, admits he took up the sport because he was frightened, writes Len Whaley.

Sammy is now an 82-year-old living in Wanstead and enjoying the company of friends at the London Ex-Boxers Association, after an eventful life in and out of the ring.

Still smiling, the ex-champion insisted: “Even on my lowest day, I think it’s wonderful to be alive. I am just happy being here.”

McCarthy is featured in a new book “Fighting Men of London – voices from inside the ropes”, by Alex Daley, which has been produced by Pitch Publishing and is priced at £16.99.

It recalls a boom time for boxing when the leading fighters were working class idols.

McCarthy recalls following his brother into the sport, saying: “I always wanted to box, but I was always very frightened, very nervous.

“I overcome it the way you overcome things and started boxing at the Stepney St Georges Club.”

Later came a pro career and big nights at White City, Harringay Arena and the Royal Albert Hall where coachloads of east London fans travelled to cheer their hero on.

After retiring from the ring in 1957 McCarthy managed fighters including Terry Spinks and owned pubs in east London, before he became immersed in the criminal world as a bank robber – for the same reason he took up boxing. “I started doing it because I was excited and always frightened of getting caught,” he says with no bitterness about the long jail sentences that followed.

“Everything I got, believe me, I deserved.”

McCarthy is well covered in a 50-page chapter in the book which also features other east London ex-fighters, including Sid Nathan, Ted Berry, Albert Carroll and Teddy Lewis.

Their memories provide many interesting stories told by author Alex Daley, a grandson of 1920’s boxing legend ‘Nipper’ Pat Daley.

The author provides an insight into the lives of the fighting men of the past – it’s a good read!

■ The legendary east London boxing trainer Jimmy Tibbs will launch his new autobiography at the Peacock Gym in Caxton Street, Canning Town on Thursday August 21.

‘Jimmy Tibbs Sparring with Life’ written with Paul Zanon and published by Trinity Mirror Media, is priced at £9.99 and covers his career over half a century in the sport, from schoolboy boxer to the trainer of world champions.

The launch and book signing is open to the public from 6-7.30pm.

Latest East London Sports News

Yesterday, 18:30

The popular centre back, who scored his eighth goal of the season on Friday, looked ahead to Monday’s huge game at Solihull Moors

The Hammers led twice through Antonio and Perez but it was not enough to take all three Premier League points

Yesterday, 08:46

Essex batsman Varun Chopra had mixed emotions after their Royal London One-Day Cup clash with Middlesex at Chelmsford.

Yesterday, 07:00

Old wounds came to the surface at the Copper Box on Friday to give an unexpected edge to Great Britain’s Fed Cup play-off against Kazakhstan this weekend.

Fri, 19:30

Middlesex opened their Royal London One-day Cup campaign with an exciting 38-run victory over Essex at Chelmsford.

Fri, 18:30

A crowd of 6,665 watched Justin Edinburgh’s team take another big step towards winning the National League title

Fri, 11:00

Pupils were part of a 60-strong group that took part in event earlier this month

PROMOTED CONTENT

All Points East will be returning to Victoria Park next month with two weekends of diverse music and a free community festival.

It’s the debate fans across the UK are discussing - so where better to find out more about the iconic burger than behind the scenes in a local McDonald’s restaurant?

Are you a landlord looking for a fixed rental income, paid whether the property is empty or not? Steve Westley, general manager at estate agents Elliot Leigh, explains their Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it takes the stress out of letting your property.

Live

10:00

Easter Sunday is the most important day in the Christian calendar when parishioners celebrate the resurrection of Jesus when he rose from the dead after being crucified to death.

View Live

Breaking news

10:00

Easter Sunday is the most important day in the Christian calendar when parishioners celebrate the resurrection of Jesus when he rose from the dead after being crucified to death.

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

East London Advertiser twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read sport

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Most Read

Latest from the East London Advertiser

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists