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19 DECEMBER 2014

Where am I? Home Columns Paul Upham
 

Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Dinner in Melbourne on Saturday night


Australian Hall of Fame induction 2009
Australian Hall of Fame induction 2009

By Paul Upham: The Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame will hold its annual induction ceremony dinner on Saturday 9 October 2010 in the prestigious Members Dining Room at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The night will be another special celebration for Australian boxing, which has come together over a relatively short space of time.

Melbourne boxing historian, David Hanvey, first thought about the idea of an Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame in the middle of 2001 when he was planning a trip to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York. Hanvey felt it was important that Australian boxers were recognised in the same way, and approached close friend and boxing collector, Gary Ellis, with his idea.

“We knew each other from collecting boxing memorabilia and Australia has such a beautiful boxing history,” explained Hanvey. “Gary fought as an amateur and knew a lot of people in the fight game so we got together and made a list of people who we thought would be appropriate for a committee. We approached every one of them and they all agreed. We had our first meeting in August 2001 at the Watsonia RSL with all the committee and just went over aims and ideas. From our second meeting we started planning for a fundraising dinner.”

The initial meeting was a great success with all aims agreed upon and the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame (ANBHOF) was registered on 27 August 2001. The office bearers elected were President Gus Mercurio, Vice President Jack Rennie, Treasurer/Public Officer David Hanvey and Secretary Gary Ellis. The committee members were Arnold Thomas, Greg Marcon, Peter Banks and Ron Picken. Within the first few meetings Frank Maher accepted the Secretary’s position and Gary Ellis moved to the general committee.
On the 9 August 2002, the ANBHOF had its first fundraising dinner at the RACV Club in Melbourne. This night was sold out with 220 people attending, including seven of the eight living Australian world champions – Lionel Rose, Johnny Famechon, Rocky Mattioli, Lester Ellis, Barry Michael, Jeff Fenech and Kostya Tszyu.

The dinner launched the concept of the Hall of Fame and helped raise much- needed funds to allow the first induction dinner to happen the following year. It was a tremendous success and $25,000 was added to the coffers for induction ceremony.
The Hall of Fame committee meets once every month and every week in the month leading up to each dinner. Those inducted into the Hall of Fame go through a long screening process by boxing experts. Lists of up to 20 fighters in each category are then sent to judges across Australia who use a voting system to select the nominees.
The six categories for induction are Pioneers, Old Timers, Veterans, Moderns, Non-combatants and Internationals.

There is also an official Hall of Fame memorabilia display featuring the inducted boxers at the National Sports Museum inside the Melbourne Cricket Ground, maintained by curator Arnold Thomas.

Inductions into the Hall of Fame have subsequently taken place every year at dinners from 2003 to 2009.

Boxers, their families, friends and fans have made each dinner a memorable and glittering occasion. Saturday 10th October 2010 will be no exception.

Hall of Fame President Brett McCormick, his dedicated Hall of Fame board and support team have again worked very hard to honour the boxers being inducted in 2010.

One of the highlights of the 8th annual induction ceremony for the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame will be elevation of bantamweight world champion Lionel Rose, already a member of the Hall of Fame, to Legend status. The ceremony will be held in the Members dining room at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne, Victoria on Saturday evening 9 October 2010.

At the 2009 induction ceremony, the “Maitland Wonder” Les Darcy, a multiple division Australian champion from the 1910s, was the first Hall of Fame boxer to be elevated to Legend status.

Born in Drouin, Victoria, on 21 June 1948, the physically gifted Rose demonstrated a superb left hand and idolised another Aboriginal Australian boxer, lightweight champion George Bracken.

When 19-year-old Rose went to Japan to face world champion Masahiko ‘Fighting’ Harada for the WBC and WBA bantamweight world titles in February 1968 and won via majority points decision, not many people gave him a chance of winning. This was meant to be an easy fight for the champion, but Lionel Rose and ‘Fighting’ Harada was actually a mismatch. The Australian winning over 15 rounds on 27 February to become world champion against the two-division world champion. Rose became the first Aboriginal man to become a world champion boxer.

Rose was named Australian of the Year in 1968, the first Aboriginal man to be awarded the honour. He was also appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

Mexico great Ruben Olivares, who had a record of 51 wins, zero losses and one draw, defeated Rose for his world titles on 22 August 1969.

After his final fight in December 1976, Rose’s record was 42-11 (12).

Others greats to be inducted into the Hall of Fame on 9 October include undisputed super lightweight world champion Kostya Tszyu, three-division Australian champion Wally Carr, amateur star Tony Madigan, flyweight world title challenger Rocky Gattellari and referee Billy Males.

The induction ceremony evening at the MCG is always the glittering night of nights for Australian boxing, attended by the cream of Australian boxers from past and present. It is the perfect opportunity for fans to meet their boxing heroes in a respectful and celebratory environment.

Some tickets are still available at $165 per head and include a three course meal, with beer, wine and soft drinks included. Tables of 10 and special sponsor tables are available.

For ticket and media enquiries, please contact the ANBHOF Secretary, Frank Maher, by telephone on (03) 9478 3578.

2010 ANBHOF Inductees

Legend: Lionel Rose
Moderns: Kostya Tszyu / Wally Carr
Veterans: Tony Madigan / Rocky Gattellari
Old Timers: Mickey Miller / Merv Blandon
Pioneers: Tim Hegarty
Non Participants: Ern McQuillan Sr / Billy Males
Honorary Internationals: Jimmy Clabby

The official Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame website is www.ANBHOF.com


Paul Upham
Content Editor

three division world champion Jeff Fenech & Hall of Fame Chairman Brett McCormick
three division world champion Jeff Fenech & Hall of Fame Chairman Brett McCormick


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