ANYONE making an attempt to advertise at a small corridor boxing occasion within the Nineteen Sixties, very similar to at present, wanted to be ready to lose some huge cash.
The Fifties was the final decade the place such ventures may show worthwhile for normal exhibits. As that decade wore on and the tv began to make inroads into the lives of working households, and other people stopped going out to hunt their leisure, skilled boxing hit the skids, and the variety of tournaments declined quickly.
George Merritt was an old-school skilled from the Nineteen Thirties. From Silvertown, a tricky space down by the docks on the north aspect of the Thames, George had taken half in almost 150 contests in a tough profession that lasted between 1932 and 1945. Considered one of three boxing brothers, George was the most effective and in 1934, as an example, he took half in 34 contests, 5 of which had been 12-rounders. After his profession had ended George stayed in boxing and in 1962, on the age of 48, he determined to strive his hand as a promoter.
One of the best of London’s small halls had been within the palms of rivals. There have been few round together with West Ham Baths, the Seymour Corridor in Marylebone, Shoreditch City Corridor and the Majestic Ballroom in Finsbury Park. George needed to discover a venue of his personal and for his first present he tried the Winter Baths Corridor in East Ham. It was the one, and solely, present ever held there however George was sufficiently inspired to strive once more.
He then discovered one other new venue, a small art-deco pub in-built 1936, often called the Roundhouse and situated in Dagenham, an ideal place from which to draw struggle followers. George additionally discovered man to base these exhibits round; native fighter Tommy Rix had solely just lately turned skilled and in six months he had received six contests. A Nationwide Faculties champion and London finalist, Tommy was a cultured performer with novice pedigree, and he may promote tickets.
In January 1963 received his seventh bout on the Roundhouse, on a invoice topped by one other native lad, Basildon’s Danny Wells. A very good crowd turned up and George determined to go for month-to-month exhibits on the venue. With matchmaker Jack Hopwood, one other 100-bout veteran from the Nineteen Thirties, George lured Johnny Caiger, one other prime novice from Dagenham, to the venue to make his debut. With Rix on the invoice once more, Merritt scored one other hit and issues had been trying good.
His third present occurred in October with Rix profitable once more. Caiger suffered a shock defeat by the hands of Joe Sommerville, dropping by disqualification within the third. Tommy appeared good in profitable an eight-round resolution over Wolverhampton’s Tommy Icke to register his thirteenth straight victory. On Monday November twenty fifth, Tommy picked up win quantity 14, when he topped the invoice for George once more, this time beating Nigerian, Tommy Atkins.
It appeared like Merritt had succeeded in establishing himself, with little venue and respectable playing cards crammed with native lads, just a few of whom appeared promising. However, with revenue margins being so tight, it wasn’t straightforward to justify the effort and time that had been wanted to rearrange these exhibits and George was a busy man away from the game.
Each Merritt, as a promoter, and Rix, as a fighter, had been inactive all through 1964. Rix returned in February 1965, at Nottingham, and he fought once more in March, this time for rival promoter Harry Grossmith at Shoreditch City Corridor.
In June 1965 Merritt, with out his star attraction, held his final present on the Roundhouse after which packed it in, deciding it wasn’t definitely worth the effort, and London misplaced one other small corridor. Rix retired the next 12 months, after his first loss.
The Roundhouse went on to higher issues within the Nineteen Seventies when, as a music venue, it hosted the likes of Led Zeppelin, Queen, Pink Floyd and a private favorite, Rory Gallagher. It’s nonetheless there and serves an honest pint.