Wolverhampton marks Civic's 70th for boxing

Former boxers and fight fans from across the United Kingdom came together to celebrate 70 years of boxing at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall.

No other venue in the country has held paid fights as long as the Civic ,with nearly 1,200 boxers having climbed through the ropes over the years.

Every fighter who punched for pay at the venue was honoured with a medal during a special event held at the North Street venue. which also showcased memorabilia of fights.

The exhibition was organised by Central Midland Ex-Boxers’ Association, in conjuction with the London Ex-Boxers’ Association.

Members of Wolverhampton Amateur Boxing Club, based on Willenhall Road, were on hand to give some demonstrations of the sport before the main bill started.

Paul Nutting, 56, from Codsall who is the secretary of the Central Midland Ex-Boxers’ Association and was instrumental in organising the event.

He said: “Wolverhampton Civic Hall is one of the venues that has a great reputation in the boxing community far and wide.

“The likes of Sir Henry Cooper, Joe Calzaghe, Bunny Johnson and Paul Chance have fought here and it really does put the city on the map.

“The Civic has held fights continuously longer than any other venue in the country. Speaking to boxers it has the best reputation of all the small hall venues because of the atmosphere it creates.

"It has a long, proud history.”

The tradition of paid fights began on March 8, 1943, with a charity show to raise money for the Express & Star’s 'Comfort Fund' for those serving in the Second World War.

The event was headlined by 29-year-old Jack London, a year before he beat Freddie Mills to be crowned British Heavyweight champion for the first time.

By Adam Thompson