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Reply with quote  #16 

Hi All... thanks for the posts with regards to 'Fighting Spirit' - very informative indeed.

 

Mactheknife...I find your posts very challenging in an intellectual sense, and I find all your posts are always very articulately put.  However, I have to admit that I find you to be a bit of an enigma - even if you are providing me with an education! 

 

Admin2, very subtle change in lyrics in your previous post, which is as follows:

 

For mactheknife:

When the shark bites with his teeth, babe
Scarlet billows start to spread
Fancy gloves though has old MacHeath, babe
So there's not ever a trace of red.  


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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Admin

Hi All... thanks for the posts with regards to 'Fighting Spirit' - very informative indeed.

 

Mactheknife...I find your posts very challenging in an intellectual sense, and I find all your posts are always very articulately put.  However, I have to admit that I find you to be a bit of an enigma - even if you are providing me with an education! 

 

Admin2, very subtle change in lyrics in your previous post, which is as follows:

 

For mactheknife:

When the shark bites with his teeth, babe
Scarlet billows start to spread
Fancy gloves though has old MacHeath, babe
So there's not ever a trace of red.  

Hi Admin, I never changed the lyrics as the original ones were from a German source who had intended to write the whole song but only got as far as the first verse:

Mack The Knife

Lyrics: Brecht, Blitzestien
Music: Weill

Atempted only once by the Grateful Dead, on 30 November 1981. Bob Weir sings one verse (the second one from the full version) before the band grinds to a halt and he adds "We'll work that up for next time" (but they never did).

When the shark bites with his teeth, babe
Scarlet billows start to spread
Fancy gloves though has old MacHeath, babe
So there's not ever a trace of red

 

 


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Reply with quote  #18 

The Scottish threat

Future of the monarchy
Join the debate online


Tom Nairn
Wednesday December 6, 2000
The Guardian


Has the return of the Scottish parliament changed the way the monarchy is seen? In one sense, hardly at all; yet in another, it threatens to change everything, and in a relatively foreseeable future.
 

Her Majesty of course inaugurated the parliament in 1998, and with a certain grace meant to endear her anew to northern subjects. These included the editor-in-chief of the Scotsman, Mr Andrew Neil, who was seen to go weak at the knees while commenting on the event for BBC Scotland. This once stalwart republican even forecast "a new style of monarchy for the 21st century".

 

But the new style was soon in trouble. Because of the large Catholic vote in Scotland, all Scottish parties have a common interest in combating sectarianism, and the new assembly unanimously decided the Windsors were delinquents in this regard. The campaign was backed by Michael Forsyth, a former Tory secretary of state. The modern crown rests upon the infamous 1701 Act of Settlement, which declared that no individual of the Catholic faith should ever again occupy a British throne. Could any sane multicultural court of the present do anything but condemn such discrimination? Surely it was time for Holyrood and Westminster to join in repealing the anachronism?

With unexampled haste and glibness, Blair declined this honour. No parliamentary time, far too many consultations needed, not within the Scottish remit, and emphatically not the kind of thing middle England wanted to hear about. He had not reprieved the Windsors from Diana-fever, merely to subvert them from another direction. Also, an untarnished Queen would be required to open the Millenium Dome.

This fire-hose of platitudes omitted something quite important. The Act of Settlement is one item in the rather meagre written part of the British constitution, alongside the less picturesque Treaty of Union of 1706-7. In fact, it was a necessary condition of the latter. In fact, it was just too damn close to the spinal column of "all we hold dear". There are, after all, extremists around (not all Scots) who believe that a modern written constitution would be better for the United Kingdom (or the United Whatever-it-is), and ought to replace these heirlooms altogether. Some of them even think it was a precondition of devolved government, and that without it devolution is sure to break down.

Such lunatics are at odds (sometimes unknowingly) with the very soul of the United Kingdom. The third way pines for regeneration, not wholesale replacement. It wants a monarch kind to Muslims and Buddhists, not a soulless republic. Having transformed local government into "local government" through devolution, it now has little time for upstarts with ideas exceeding their non-sovereign status. The crown should support a given dispensation of authority, not become a lever of possible alteration.

The Scottish parliament's appeal on the 1701 act was intended reasonably, as a gesture of atonement. In reality, it was an arrow aimed at the very core of Anglo-British custom-observance. Formal renunciation of this part of the symbol-heritage might encourage a more thorough formalism, and a lettered constitutionalism, the antithesis of royal magic. Republicanism thrives on precisely that tendency. Also, the Act of Settlement was a prelude to the Treaty of Union between the old parliaments of Scotland and England, five years later: the very hinge of the United Kingdom, and just as much of an anachronism.

It was recently reiterated in the Scotland Act 1998, an element of the New Labour dispensation, therefore, and meant to stabilise it. Decidedly, children should not be allowed to play with matches in this cellar.

But play they will. By 2007, the third centenary of union, the SNP will quite probably control the executive, and be seeking to repeal the old treaty. And there will be a growing number of English republicans who agree with them. Since no new constitutional settlement was allowed to precede devolution, it will have to follow it. The matter of Britain, in which most Scots have an overwhelmingly strong, and often personal, interest, could then be renegotiated on a basis of equality, along with the other countries and populations awarded places on the Belfast Agreement's "Council of the Isles".

Terrifying only to addicts of the great and the exceptional, such a process would seek to keep (and build upon) what matters to the common life of the archipelago. Republican in essence, it would surely dispel such 18th century phantasms once and for all.

Tom Nairn is research fellow in Irish and Scottish studies at the Unversity of Aberdeen. His latest book, After Britain, is published in paperback by Granta Books on January 16

 

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Lance Armstrong:

 

(born Lance Edward Gunderson on September 18, 1971 in Plano, Texas) is a retired American professional road racing cyclist. He is most famous for winning the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times from 1999 to 2005, several years after brain and testicular surgery and extensive chemotherapy in 1996 to treat testicular cancer that had metastasized to his brain and lungs.

In 2002, Sports Illustrated magazine named him their Sportsman of the Year. He was also named Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year for 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, received ESPN's ESPY Award for Best Male Athlete in 2003, 2004, and 2005, and won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Overseas Personality Award in 2003. Armstrong retired from racing at the end of the 2005 Tour de France, but his success prompted some to nickname the event the "Tour de Lance."

His athletic success and his dramatic recovery from cancer inspired Armstrong to commemorate his accomplishments in conjunction with Nike through the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a charity founded in 1997.

Together with Nike he launched the high-end cycling clothing collection 10//2 referring to the day he was diagnosed with cancer.

 

Early career

Armstrong began his sporting career as a very talented triathlete, competing in adult competitions from the age of 16. It soon became clear that his greatest talent was as a bicycle racer. At 17, he received an invitation to train with the Junior National Cycling Team. Plano Independent School District's school board said that the 42 days leave to train taken during the second semester of his senior year would bar him from graduating. Armstrong withdrew from Plano East Senior High School with his mother's blessing and went to train with the team. He graduated from Bending Oaks Private Academy in Dallas the following spring. Armstrong still harbors resentment toward Plano because of this and prefers his adopted home of Austin, Texas.

After competing as a cycling amateur winning the US amateur championship in 1991 and finishing 14th in the 1992 Olympics road race, Armstrong turned professional in 1992. He finished last in his first professional cycle race, the Clasica San Sebastian. The following year he scored his first major victory as he rode solo to win the World Road Championships in Oslo, Norway. His victory was so dominant (he had time to blow kisses to his mother in the home straight) that he was invited to an audience with the King of Norway, which he initially turned down after finding his mother was not included in the invitation. Minutes later, the King invited both. Earlier that year, Armstrong had also won the 8th stage of the 1993 Tour de France.

His successes continued with Team Motorola, with whom he won stages in the 1993 and 1995 Tours de France and several classic one-day events. Also in 1995, he won the premier U.S. cycling event, the Tour DuPont, having placed second in 1994. He won the Tour DuPont again in 1996, and was ranked number one cyclist in the world. Later in 1996, however, he abandoned the Tour de France and had a disappointing Olympic Games. These early disappointments spurred him on to the great things he has achieved post-cancer, and he admits that if he had given in on the devilishly difficult Clasica San Sebastian in which he had previously finished last, he could have retired from the sport.

Cancer

Armstrong speaking at the NIH.
Enlarge
Armstrong speaking at the NIH.

On October 2, 1996, Armstrong was diagnosed with stage three testicular cancer that had metastasized, spreading to his lungs and brain. His doctors told him that he had less than a 40 percent chance of survival. After his recovery, one of his doctors told him that his actual odds of survival had been considerably smaller (one even went as far as to say three percent), and that he had been given the estimate primarily to give him hope. The date of October 2 was eventually commemorated by Armstrong and Nike, through the "10//2" line of merchandise. One dollar from the sale of each piece of "10//2" merchandise is donated to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which was founded in 1997. Armstrong managed to recover after surgery to remove his right testicle and two brain lesions, and a course of chemotherapy, performed at Indiana University School of Medicine. The standard chemotherapy for his cancer would have meant the end of his cycling career, because a known side effect was a dramatic reduction in lung function; he opted for a more severe treatment that was less likely to result in lung damage. While in remission he resumed training, but his contract had been canceled by his Cofidis team. He was eventually signed by the newly formed United States Postal Service Pro Cycling Team, and by 1998, he was able to make his successful return in the cycling world marked by his fourth place overall finish in the Vuelta a España. To this day, Armstrong lists his return from cancer as his proudest accomplishment.

Tour de France

Armstrong's true comeback came in 1999, when he won his first Tour de France. His final lead times over his closest competitor have been over six minutes every year except for 2003 and 2005. In 2003, he finished 1:01 ahead of Jan Ullrich, following an unusual set of circumstances including a stomach illness at the outset of the race, and in 2005, he finished 4:40 ahead of Ivan Basso. In addition to his 7 overall wins, he has won 22 individual stages (1993-1, 1995-1, 1999-4, 2000-1, 2001-4, 2002-4, 2003-1, 2004-5, 2005-1). He has won 11 time trials in the Tour de France; his team has won the team time trial three times (2003–2005).

Enlarge
Armstrong riding in the prologue to the Tour de France, 2004.

In his 2004 Tour victory, Armstrong won a personal-best:

He contends that he let his friend Ivan Basso win Stage 12 at the finish line as his way of offering support for Basso's mother's struggle with cancer, though video footage appears to show Armstrong being beaten fairly. He outsprinted Basso to take the next stage, and followed that up by becoming the first man since Gino Bartali in 1948 to win three consecutive mountain stages—15, 16, and 17. For the first time Armstrong also found himself unable to ride away from his rivals in the mountains (except for the individual time trial in stage 16 up L'Alpe d'Huez when he started two minutes behind Basso and passed him on the way up). He won sprint finishes from Basso in stages 13 and 15 and made up a huge gap in the last 250 meters to nip Andreas Klöden at the line in stage 17. He won the final individual time trial (ITT), stage 19, to complete his personal record of stage wins.

Armstrong's 2005 Tour victory took place on July 24. His Discovery team won the team time trial, but he won only one individual stage, the final individual time trial. He looked strong from the beginning of the tour, being beaten in the first stage by only two seconds and passing one of his major competitors, Jan Ullrich, on the road. In the Alps and the Pyrenees he answered all attacks, even when his teammates, whose role was to support him, could not keep pace. Because of wet streets in Paris on the last stage, the referees decided that the final General Classification overall time for the Tour would be taken 50 kilometers before the end, to avoid even more crashes. Armstrong crossed the finish line to cheers of the French and international public, for his seventh consecutive Tour de France win, records for total Tour wins and consecutive Tour wins.

Livestrong and the Lance Armstrong Foundation

The Lance Armstrong Foundation was formed by Lance after fighting cancer. During summer 2004, the Lance Armstrong Foundation (with initial funding from Nike) developed the Livestrong wristband. The band was part of the Wear Yellow Live Strong educational program, intended to support cancer victims and survivors and to raise awareness about cancer. The band sold in packs of 10, 100, and 1200 as part of an effort to raise $5 million for the Lance Armstrong Foundation in cooperation with Nike. Individual bands sold for only US$1 each. Yellow was chosen for its importance in professional cycling, especially as the color of famed leader's yellow jersey of the Tour de France. As of January 2006, over 58 million Livestrong wristbands have been sold. Armstrong has also lent his name to Nike's newest line of footwear, all branded with the familiar "Live Strong" yellow. Armstrong, a member of the President's Cancer Panel since 2002, said in a recent article (7/25/2005)[1] published in USA TODAY "we have the smartest people in the world" working on cures, so his (President Bush) role is to get the funds to keep that research alive.

"Funding is tough to come by these days," he says. "The biggest downside to a war in Iraq is what you could do with that money. What does a war in Iraq cost a week? A billion? Maybe a billion a day? The budget for the National Cancer Institute is four billion. That has to change. It needs to become a priority again."

Armstrong's next steps with the Foundation are yet to be determined. But he seems to be giving thought to using his celebrity and status as a cancer survivor to become more involved in the political world.

After being named the 2005 Sportsman of the Year, he said "Cancer and what all can be done there, not just in the world of health care, but if it's education or political, this is a very real issue," Armstrong said. "We're at an interesting time in medical research. That would be a serious rush for me if I could effect change there.

"The initiatives to effect change will come out of the foundation," he said. "The think tank is there."

Armstrong points to rock singer Bono's lobbying for help for the world's poor and AIDS-stricken as a prime example of the power celebrity can bring to an issue.

He also realizes that battles involving politics and money could be much more difficult than anything he faced on the bike. He figures he won't being doing it alone, though, noting the 60 million Livestrong yellow bracelets the foundation has sold since 2004.

"I know not all 60 million bought them because of a connection to cancer, but a lot of them did," he said. "When you consider that army, there's a powerful force for change."


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The Times May 10, 2006

Burglar beaten with a saucepan

A woman who battered a burglar with a saucepan has been praised by a judge who said that many people would be disappointed that she had not hit him harder.

Laura Partington, 23, reached for the weapon in self-defence when she found a man in her bedroom. Ibrahim El- Hamady, who lived in the flat above Miss Partington’s in Gloucester, had just ransacked her jewellery box. She laid into him so enthusiastically that the pan broke. She then went back to the kitchen to fetch another one. After chasing the 20-year-old burglar from her flat, she knocked him off his bicycle and dragged him in front of a closed-circuit television camera, where she held him until police arrived.

El-Hamady had earlier pleaded guilty to burglary. At a hearing at Gloucester Crown Court, sentencing was deferred.

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Ken Buchanan

A clever boxer, Buchanan was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and turned pro in 1965. He won both the Scottish and British lightweight crowns before traveling to the United States and gaining world-wide recognition.

In 1970, Buchanan, fighting outside of the British Empire for the first time, lost to Miguel Velasquez in Madrid, Spain, in a bid to capture the European 135-pound title. By year's end, though, he'd conquer the world.

Buchanan challenged lightweight champion Ismael Laguna on September 26, 1970 in Puerto Rico. The temperature inside Hiram Bithorn Stadium reached 100-degrees as these master boxers put on a sterling exhibition. Buchanan rocked the champion in the 12th round and won the title via narrow split decision -- 145-144 (twice) and 144-145. He became the first British lightweight champ since Freddie Welsh in 1917.

In 1971, Buchann successfully defended his title twice, copping 15-round decisions over Ruben Navarro in Los Angeles and Laguna at Madison Square Garden in New York. A year later, Buchanan would return to the Garden for his most controversial and memorable contest.

On June 26, 1972 Buchanan put his belt on the line against Roberto Duran (Duran scored an impressive kayo on the undercard of the Buchanan-Laguna rematch). Duran dropped Buchanan early and controlled much of the action. At the close of Round 13, the fighters swapped punches. Buchanan claimed he was kneed in the groin. Referee Johnny LoBianco, however, did not see the infraction. The fight was stopped before the 14th round could begin and Duran was rewarded with the victory and the title.

Buchanan came back three months later and stopped future Hall-of-Famer Carlos Ortiz in six rounds. In 1973, he decisioned future world champ Jim Watt to regain the British lightweight title. He lost in his only other world-title bid, dropping a decision in 1975 to WBC champ Ishimatsu Suzuki.

Buchanan was inactive from 1976 to 1978 and fought sporadically until retiring for good in 1983.


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Ken Buchanan wins world lightweight title 1970

Ken Buchanan

© SCRAN

Boxing is the harshest of sports in more ways than the physical pounding in the ring. There are no intermediate stages between winning and losing. Scotland's Ken Buchanan should have been remembered as a winner for his world lightweight title, but the fight he plays over again and again in his own mind is his defeat to Roberto Duran over 30 years ago, in very dubious circumstances.

Despite the patriotism of the boxer who wore tartan shorts and was piped into the ring to the tune of Scotland the Brave, he was more appreciated across the Atlantic where he won the American Boxing Writers' Association's Fighter of the Year in 1970, beating both Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. The southpaw is also the only living British fighter to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

In fact he never fought a professional fight in his home town of Edinburgh, after an abortive attempt to fight in Edinburgh's biggest indoor stadium, Murrayfield ice rink, was rejected. It must have been difficult for the boxer, for whom home and family were important elements of his make-up, to never go into a ring with his home crowd cheering him on.

Ken with Lonsdale belt

© SCRAN

Murrayfield's loss was Madison Square Garden's gain as Buchanan topped the bill at this most prestigious boxing venue in New York seven times, a record for a European boxer.

Born in 1945 and brought up in Northfield near Portobello, Buchanan joined an Edinburgh boxing club, the Sparta Club as an eight-and-a-half year old, having to lie that he was nine, after seeing the Joe Louis film 'the Brown Bomber'. After a successful amateur career, he turned professional in 1965 and on winning 23 consecutive bouts he knocked out Maurice Cullen in 1968 to become British Lightweight Champion.

He continued to progress, the only hiccup being losing on points to Miguel Velazquez in Madrid for the European lightweight title - a result Buchanan puts down to the judges favouring their own boxer. Despite this setback, the gifted boxer was given a shot at the world title in 1970 against Ismael Laguna in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Ironically the lean Scot was chosen by the promoters as a warm-up before Laguna took on up-and-coming challenger Roberto Duran.

For Buchanan, the incredible 120 degree heat of a Puerto Rican afternoon was as much a problem as his talented opponent. Laguna was first out into the open-air ring and claimed the shaded corner. Buchanan's father and right-hand man Tommy had to claim a parasol from one of the spectators to offer his son some protection from the sun.

Veteran British boxing commentator Reg Gutteridge said in 2002: "Laguna was an outstanding fighter at the time. Before the fight, I thought Laguna would beat him to be honest. It's very hard to win away like that. I know that the crowd shouldn't be that much of an influence but they normally are."

Always proud of his nationality

© SCRAN

But Buchanan's combination of elegant skills and a razor-sharp tactical brain won the fight over 15 rounds, after he decided to attack his opponent from the bell, despite the heat.

However, the WBC refused to sanction this title and were backed by the British Boxing Board, who refused to recognise their own man as world champion. To add to Buchanan's feelings of rejection he returned to Edinburgh to be welcomed by a crowd of five.

But the following year he beat Ruben Navarro in Los Angeles, and was finally recognised as boxing's world lightweight champion. This time Buchanan was hailed by crowds at Edinburgh Airport and journeyed into town on an open-top bus, with throngs of crowds cheering him on.

Ken in more recent times

© SNSpix

For Buchanan, his most decisive fight was the defeat by the legendary Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran at Madison Square Garden in June 1972. If he had won he would have retired on the $100,000 prize money, with his head and brains still intact and his later life may have turned out differently.

After 13 rounds, Buchanan felt he was finally ahead on points after the two fighters being level throughout. Instead in a few moments, which Buchanan said in his autobiography were to haunt him for the rest of his life, he lost his title after he was punched below the belt after the bell had sounded for the end of the round, which floored him. Such was the force of the punch that his testicles were permanently damaged.

The referee, Tony Lobianco didn't punish the foul but awarded the bout to Duran as he decided that Buchanan couldn't continue, without asking if he could go on. It was the referee's one and only title fight and Buchanan described the punch as: "That one late blow went a long way to destroying my career."

The way he lost his world title has become an obsession for the Scot, especially as he never got his promised rematch against Duran, who went on to become one of the sport's biggest stars. But the Panamanian later told Scottish sports writer Hugh McIlvanney that Buchanan was his best opponent in all of his many years in the ring.

Eventually Buchanan retired on the advice of his doctor because of the damage to his left eye over the years, which meant he would always have to wear glasses. With his customary energy, he threw himself into the hospitality business, opening the Ken Buchanan Hotel in Edinburgh.

Unfortunately his personal life took a downturn when his wife divorced him. He had to sell the hotel to pay for the settlement and returned to his original trade as a joiner. But Buchanan missed the ring and returned in an unsuccessful postscript to his career.

In his autobiography he wrote: "If I was a runner, that would have been OK. I could run marathons and go in for age-group championships. But I was a boxer and all that matters in boxing is what you can do in the ring."

Jim Watt, who Buchanan defeated in Glasgow to win Watt's British title in 1973 said in 2002: "Ken probably doesn't have the adulation he deserves. He had a wonderful career with world class achievements, but everything was done elsewhere."

 

By oldbill.


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Welcome oldbill and thank you for a most excellent post on KEN BUCHANAN.

 

He was and is by far the best boxer ever to have come out of Scotland which the BOXING HALL of FAME confirm.

 

Ken had what it took...............FIGHTING SPIRIT!


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"They say you will never beat the system,
but the system has never beat me either"

ROY SHAW was born in Stepney in 1936. In 1963 he was sentenced to 18 years for a record breaking armed robbery.

He started bare-knuckle fighting aged 42 with many infamous victories, including one over Donnie "The Bull" Adams. His fights with archrival Lenny "The Guvnor" McLean were described by critics as among the bloodiest of the century.

I'm Roy Shaw. Maybe my name means nothing to you. Why should it? I'm no actor, no showman, no wannabe celebrity. I'm not loud or brash and I don't huff or puff or growl at anyone, but I live by a merciless code.

 

For me violence is simply an accepted part of my profession - the profession of violence. I don't exaggerate the violence I have inflicted. I can't excuse it and I certainly won't apologise for it.

 

Writing my book has, in a way, made me understand the reasons why I did the things I did and has enabled me to put them to rest. My book includes murder, armed robbery and gratuitous violence beyond your worst nightmare. I'm not glorifying it or trying to justify the violence, I'm putting my hands up to it all.

 

I admit I'm prepared to go all the way but I never do it for pleasure and I always do my own dirty work. I need no labels nor anyone's seal of approval, you can take me or leave me - I care for no man. I've been through the rigors of army life and prison, including Broadmoor.

 

They say you will never beat the system but the system has never beat me either.

 

It's been said that if you understand a man and you know why he does things then you don't have to be afraid of him.

 

There are tough men but let me tell you I know from experience that really dangerous men have no pity.

 

I'm not an unreasonable man, and, like anyone else, I love my mother and I wouldn't hurt women, children or the ordinary man in the street.

 

But if you are a man and you take a liberty with me or cross me, then believe what I say, when it comes to retribution I have no pity or conscience.

 

If that makes me the devil then devil I am, but I haven't got horns sticking out of my head or cloven hooves and a tail, but if you're unlucky enough to have me come after you - beware - 'cos hell's coming with me....

 

11 9 2 0 8
 
     
 
Donny 'The Bull' Adams won by K.O round one
'Mad Dog' Mullins won by K.O round one
Mickey Gluxted won - ref stopped fight round three
Terry Hollingsworth (The ABA Champion) won by K.O round one
Lenny McLean won - ref stopped fight round three
Ron Stander (USA Heavyweight Contender) won by K.O round three
Lenny McLean - fight two lost by K.O round one
Lenny McLean - fight three lost by K.O round one
Harry Starbuck won by K.O round one
Lou 'wild thing' Yates won by K.O round three
Kevin Paddock won by points eight rounds

http://www.royprettyboyshaw.com/index2.html

 

 


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Last words from the Somme...

It was a battle that claimed 95,675 British lives, including 20,000 on the first day. Ninety years on, letters and diary entries written by those who fell have been posted online for the first time by the Imperial War Museum.

Composed shortly before the men died, they offer a poignant glimpse into the last days of doomed lives.

Published: 02 June 2006

Wilfred Nevill, Captain

Captain Wilfred "Billie" Nevill was both reckless and impossibly brave during the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Throughout May 1916, while home on leave, Nevill and fellow young officers entered heated discussions about how their men might react when finally ordered to go over the top and run towards the German gunners.

The 21-year-old devised what he considered to be an ingenious plan to distract the men of the 8th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment from the rain of machine-gun fire they expected to face crossing No Man's Land. While in England, he obtained two heavy brown leather footballs, and took them with him back to France.

On the eve of battle, he wrote to his sister, Else, thanking her for "a chit of some length and liveliness". He added: "As I write, the shells are fairly haring over; you know one gets just sort of bemused after a few million, still it'll be a great experience to tell one's children about." Cramping his writing to fit it all on to the bottom of the page, he signed off his last words to her: "So long, old thing, don't worry if you don't hear for a bit. I'm as happy as ever. Yrs ever, Bill."

In the hours before the battle, he revealed his plan to his men, giving a football to two of the platoons in his company and ordering the soldiers to punt it towards the German trenches, so "that proper formation and distance was not lost thereby". He kept one for himself, reportedly writing on it: "The Great European Cup Final - East Surreys versus The Bavarians".

At 7.27am on 1 July 1916, three minutes before the British artillery's bombardment of the Germans lifted, he "shared a last joke" with fellow officers before beginning the charge himself, kicking his ball into No Man's Land and running from the trenches in eager pursuit. His goal was the village of Montauban.

Despite facing very heavy rifle and machine-gun fire, the advance began successfully. Approaching the German barbed wire, however, the advancing British soldiers hesitated.

Having got his men so far across No Man's Land, Nevill dashed forward with a grenade in his hand to kick the ball on - and was "immediately shot through the head", according to an eyewitness. The officer kicking the other ball, Bobby Soames, was also shot dead on the German wire.

The press back home leapt on the story as an example of classic British brio and strength of character. A fellow officer, 2nd Lt C W Alcock, in a letter to Else after her brother's death, praised his "personal charm and never-failing good humour" and "the interest he took in every individual under his command". The Germans saw it as evidence of British madness.

The Surreys captured a small tract of land later that day. The survivors searched for and found the footballs, which are on display in Britain. One of them currently resides at the Imperial War Museum.

Alan Lloyd, Lieutenant

The cheerful confidence of Second Lieutenant Alan Lloyd failed to convince his fiancée, Dorothy Hewetson.

The 27-year-old Lloyd, an experienced traveller in South America and East Africa, had immediately volunteered for service when war broke out in July 1914. It was during his honeymoon several weeks later that he found out he had been commissioned. In an effort to quell his new wife's angst, he wrote chastising her: "Everybody must put their personal considerations in the background now, & I don't believe you'd be so selfish as to try & stop me doing my part. Possibly

you don't realise that this is a life & death struggle with Germany." Although he hated "flag-wagging & Union Jack hurrahing etc", he believed: "Everybody who could do something & won't is a beastly unpatriotic kind of person."

After joining C Battery, 78th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, Lloyd repeatedly wrote to his "beloved" that the British were gaining ground.

After a brief visit home at Christmas 1915, where he met his son David for the first time, he was dispatched to the Somme. Ten days into the slaughter there he mailed her: "We are quite alright tho of course have had a hard time. Still it hasn't been nearly so rough as it might have been & we've done pretty well so far & hope to do better still... We are all very cheery & bright so don't fret your little self."

He added, with unwarranted optimism: "Probably they'll relieve us shortly," before signing off "Tons of love, Yr Hub".

Just after midnight on 4 August 1916, the 17th Division launched an attack in Delville Wood, north of Montauban. Disastrously, German artillery cut communications and Lloyd tracked back under heavy fire to mend the telephone wires. He was hit by a shell and died after 20 minutes. Ten days later he was awarded the Military Cross.

After Lloyd's funeral, gunner John Manning placed a simple sign on his grave: "He died as he lived, brave and fearless, a true British hero."

Percy Boswell, Second Lieutenant

A dashing 22-year-old with a pencil moustache and an unwavering gaze, Percy George Boswellwas optimistic about the British forces' prospects against the enemy when he wrote to his father on 30 June 1916, just hours before being sent into battle.

"I am just writing you a short note which you will receive only if anything has happened to me during the next few days," he began, in neat script that teetered off towards the bottom right-hand corner of the page.

A bullish tone soon took over, as the Second Lieutenant promised: "The Hun is going to get consummate hell just in this quarter, and we are going over the parapet tomorrow, when I hope to spend a few merry hours in chasing the Boche all over the place."

He added: "I am absolutely certain that I shall get through all right, but in case the unexpected does happen I shall rest content with the knowledge that I have done my duty - and one can't do more. Goodbye and wish the best of love to all. From Percy."

When Boswell wrote the letter, his battalion, the 8th King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, was already huddled in sodden trenches running along the eastern edge of Authuille Wood.

Their orders were to attack over a 320 metr-long slope in range of well-sighted German machine guns. The regimental history records what happens next: "Over the flat rising ground the enemy machine guns acted like so many reapers and wave after wave of men were mown down in this harvest of the manhood of the nation."

Among the 550 casualties - 80 per cent of their attacking strength - was Boswell, who died during the first hour of fighting on the first day of the battle.

Alfred Bland, Captain

Captain Alfred "Bill" Bland seemed hugely excited by being at war. On the day he first landed in France in November 1915 he write to his wife, Violet (also known as Lettie) that he was "extraordinarily happy, simply bursting with riotous spirits".

In a note which showed none of the scholarly restraint demonstrated in a book he co-wrote with the renowned historian R H Tawney, he wrote: "The one thing lacking is shell fire. I shall not receive the real thrill till I get within sound of the guns..."

In February 1916, after experiencing trench life, the 34-year-old, serving with the 22nd Manchesters, wrote to Lettie: "I can't bear you to be unhappy. Think of the cause, the cause. It is England, England, England, always and all the time. The individual counts as nothing, the common cause everything."

This spirit faded. Writing on 29 June, he accepted it might be his final farewell: "Give my lads such a lot of hugs from me and thank them for their dear long letters, which are beautifully written and spelt. God bless you."

Bland was killed at 7.30am on 1 July 1916. He left two young sons. His last message to his wife was brief and simple: "My darling. All my love for ever. Alfred." Enclosed with the note was a pressed flower - a forget-me-not.

Charles May, Captain

Captain Charles "Charlie" May, 27, thinking of his wife, Bessie, and baby daughter, showed none of his comrades' enthusiasm to go into battle.

A member of the 22nd Battalion, The Manchester Regiment, 7th Division, he wrote to his wife on 17 June, a fortnight before the bloody first day of battle of the Somme: "I do not want to die. Not that I mind for myself. If it be that I am to go, I am ready. But the thought that I may never see you or our darling baby again turns my bowels to water. I cannot think of it with even the semblance of equanimity."

Over the months his attitude changed to resigned fatalism. May's final diary entry at 5.45am on 1 July, reproduced from Malcolm Brown's history of the Somme, was among the last testaments to be written by the 19,240 Britons who would die on the Somme that day. "No Man's land is a tangled desert," he wrote. "We do not yet seem to have stopped his machine guns. These are popping off all along our parapet as I write. I trust they will not claim too many of our lads before the day is over."

Suspecting he might not return, he asked his friend, Captain FJ Earles, if he would look after his wife and daughter. May led his men over the top at 7.30am that day. The 22nd Manchesters made progress across No Man's Land, but the machine guns he wrote of cut down many of the battalion - and May was among the dead. Earles kept his promise, and later married May's widow.


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Valiant Anderson stuns Muttley...

THE ASTON EVENTS CENTRE:

KEVIN Anderson called on remarkable reserves of courage and tenacity last night to write himself into the boxing record books. The Methil man stopped his West Bromwich rival Young Muttley in the tenth round of a raucous contest to add the British welterweight title to his Commonwealth belt.

The 23-year-old's remarkable display, recovering from a second-round knockdown to win, was marred by chaotic scenes outside the ring in the Aston Events Centre. Supporters of Muttley, who had created an atmosphere akin to that of an England-Scotland football international, reacted bitterly to their boxer's stunning loss as they charged across the arena to attack the jubilant group of around 60 Anderson fans who had travelled down from Fife.

 

It took stewards several minutes to restore order as Birmingham's reputation for hooliganism at boxing events was sadly maintained. This was the first major promotion in the city for 12 years because of previous riots and last night's trouble will call future bills into question.

Nothing could dilute Anderson's delight and satisfaction, however, as he stretched his perfect professional record to 17 wins by inflicting the first stoppage defeat of 30-year-old Muttley's career. He becomes only the fifth Scot to win the British welterweight title in its 103-year history. "This is what I have worked so hard for," said Anderson, "and I knew I was capable of stopping Muttley.

"He boxed really well but although it was a shock to be knocked down in the second round, I still had my senses about me. I promised my baby boy Sonny I would be bringing the British belt home with me and this is dedicated to him."

Tommy Gilmour, Anderson's manager, appeared almost as drained as his fighter as he savoured another huge step forward in the career of his brightest talent. "It wasn't the best Kevin has boxed," said Gilmour, "but it was certainly the bravest performance you will ever see. That's what champions are all about. I thought Muttley boxed brilliantly but Anderson came up with what was required. He came into the lion's den and did the business."

Appropriately enough for a contest involving two champions putting their titles on the line, a sense of mutual respect was evident from the opening bell. Neither man was prepared to commit himself too recklessly and both would have taken encouragement from the effectiveness of their left hands. The pair touched gloves at the end of the session in recognition of each other's ability.

The second round, however, was a shuddering experience for Anderson as he was floored for the first time in his career. A sweeping left hook from Muttley landed flush, sending the Scot sprawling backwards. Anderson clambered to his feet quickly and survived the remainder of the round but was clearly now facing an uphill battle.

He recovered his composure well in the third round but Muttley, full of confidence after scoring the knockdown, dominated with greater accuracy and volume of punches. Anderson's crisis deepened in the fourth round when he suffered a bad cut above his right eye. Muttley stepped up the pressure, sensing an early night, but Anderson showed terrific grit and resilience to repel the Englishman's assaults while landing some counters of his own.

The fifth was more even, but it must have been disheartening for Anderson that even when he did connect with Muttley, his punches seemed to have little effect. The British champion was building up a healthy points lead which he extended by clearly winning the sixth round. Anderson tried desperately to claim the initiative in the seventh and, for the first time, forced Muttley to take several backward steps with some precisely delivered hooks and uppercuts. However, Muttley continued to score regularly.

If rounds eight and nine saw Anderson clawing his way back into the fight, he remained some distance behind and in need of something special. He produced it in the next round, stunning Muttley and the home supporters with a ferocious left hook which sent him careering onto the ropes. Sensing his moment, Anderson pounced with a relentless follow up assault and it was immediately evident Muttley was in deep trouble. Referee Phil Edwards stepped in to call a halt after two minutes 18 seconds of the session and although Muttley protested, the stoppage was overdue rather than premature.

 

I almost threw in towel, says Anderson's manager after win...

TOMMY Gilmour, manager of new British welterweight champion Kevin Anderson, has revealed he was close to throwing in the towel on his boxer's behalf before he produced his staggeringly brave victory over Young Muttley in Birmingham on Thursday night.

Anderson recovered from a disastrous start, which saw him sent to the canvas for the first time in his career, to stop his West Bromwich rival in the tenth round and add the British title to the Commonwealth belt he successfully defended for the second time.

 

"After about five rounds, it crossed my mind to pull Kevin out of there," said Gilmour. "He had suffered the knockdown in the second round, a bad cut in the clash of heads in the fourth and things were not going his way.

"The way he clawed his way back into the fight, however, was incredible and a testament to his courage."

Anderson will be given a rest before returning to the ring in September, possibly with a mandatory defence of his Commonwealth title against Ali Nuumbembe of Namibia. The 23-year-old Methil boxer admits he was not at his best against Muttley in terms of technique but has renewed self-belief from the dramatic manner of his win.

"I struggled a bit in there, but to still come out of it with a win and the British title gives me a lot of confidence," he said. "Things weren't right for me in there, the punches were not happening and I wasn't boxing as well I can. I was dropping my right hand too often and getting caught by his left. I just had to dig in, keep coming back at him and in the end I pulled out the shot I needed.

"When someone has a punch like his, you have to be careful and try to get in close. In the end, I just had to go for broke. I had pushed myself to the limit in the gym for this one and I came through in the end."

Anderson was dismayed by the crowd trouble which marred his big night, a group of Muttley supporters reacting to his win by attacking the contingent of around 60 Scottish fans who had travelled from Fife.

"I don't know why they had to start that kind of trouble," he said. "There was no bad feeling between Muttley and me. He came over to me at the end, gave me a hug and said it was a great fight."

Gilmour has called on the British Boxing Board of Control to hold an inquiry into the disorder which stewards struggled to control.

 


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Reply with quote  #27 

Hi All... thanks for all the excellent posts on the topic of 'Fighting Spirit'.

 

I thought Hammer6's post (and all the subsequent links included in the post) on Lance Armstrong was fantastic - definitely a man to be admired and take inspiration from, given all that he has overcome and gone on to achieve.

 

Hammer6 & oldbill - I loved the posts on Ken Buchanan, as being a big boxing fan myself, it was good to read all about his life and career.  Admin2's post regarding Roy Shaw was equally as interesting.

 

As for Hammer6's post with regards to the Kevin Anderson fight - great post and even greater fight!  What can I say... the best man won.

 

Thanks for all your posts - great reading!


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Boxing fan myself, thought you may like this one..Know a man who was himself once a boxing champ in his day, ended up on another path but it was always in his heart, now 65 he's always remained naturally hardy and fit, walks for miles daily. On one of his walks recently as he went to cross a road, a car was indicating to turn another direction so he carried on, only to met with the grill of the big flash car millimetres from his side.Naturally to him his response to the driver of the car was.." What you playin at ya f****n arsehole!" The 30 odd yr old suited up,bow tied driver replied.." Who you callin an arsehole?". 65 yr old replied.." I didn't call ye an arsehole i called ye a F****N Arsehole!". Driver replied.." I'll punch your mouth ye old c**t!".  "I'm lookin forward to that" said the 65 yr old. Driver reached for the car door...65 yr old gave a swift right belter...driver lay horizontal and out cold! 65 yr old carried on with his walk. Everyones always told him he should've stuck to the boxin.  , xxxsteeleyma

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Hi Steeleyma... thanks for your post with regards to 'Fighting Spirit'.  Oddly enough, I thought this would be one topic you would have something to say about!

 

Great story about the 65 year old ex-boxer, albeit a little sad that he had to endure the verbal abuse that he did from the arse in the car, who, it would seem, most definitely chose the wrong victim to gob off to!

 

I'm glad the mouthy driver got what he deserved, and just goes to show you, you should never judge a book by it's cover.  Like you say though, it's only sad that this 65 year old man never stuck to boxing, but then hindsight's a fabulous thing, isn't it?

 

Great post though!


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Reply with quote  #30 

Cheers Admin,

 

I thought you'd like that one, i'm sure when he recuperated the driver did in fact regret it after getting over the shock haha, it does indeed just go to show. Like yerself i can't resist the old 2 o'clock stories. , xxxsteeleyma

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