Sammy tells his story of bygone boxing era
- Credit: Archant
Stepney fighter who became east London’s big boxing hero of the 1950s
‘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.
You may also want to watch:
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.
- 1 Teenager found dead in Victoria Park
- 2 Driver arrested after police 'drugs patrol' stops car in Whitechapel
- 3 Two in five people in Tower Hamlets may have had Covid-19
- 4 Students in rent strike over Queen Mary's campus staying open during Covid emergency
- 5 'Laptop bonanza' for schoolchildren in Poplar to help survive lockdown gloom
- 6 Leyton Orient sign Dan Kemp on a permanent deal from West Ham United
- 7 Drug and alcohol abuse by Tower Hamlets parents and children soars
- 8 That's so raven: Everything you need to know about the guardians of the Tower
- 9 Post deliveries in east London hit by Covid crisis among Royal Mail staff
- 10 Gun seized after woman tells police she was threatened in Whitechapel
“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.