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Boxing | International

Jack Bodell dies at 76

Former British, Commonwealth and European heavyweight champion Jack Bodell died on November 11 at the age of 76. He had been suffering from dementia.

He began boxing at the age of 15 and became a miner; and went on to win the National Coal Board light heavyweight championship on three occasions.

From Swadlincote, Derbyshire, Bodell, a southpaw, also won the Amateur Boxing Association championship in 1961 and a bronze medal at the European amateur championships as a light heavyweight.

Bodell made his pro debut on February 13 1962 with a six-round points decision over Mick Cowan and in June 1962 beat Roy Seaward for the vacant British Midlands light heavyweight title. As a heavyweight he also claimed the British Midlands title in January 1965 with a points win over Ron Gray.

However, prior to this he had lost four of his previous five fights, one which included a loss to South African heavyweight champion Stoffel Willemse at the Olympia Ice Rink in Johannesburg on September 7 1963.

I was at the fight and can well remember these two big gangling heavyweights coming at each like two raging bulls from the first gong with the heads going in and it was inevitable that one was going to come out with gash over the eye.

Unfortunately it was Bodell who was cut and referee Wilf Lubbe had no option but to call the fight off in the second round and award the fight to Willemse.

He subsequently returned to South Africa in July 1970 and scored a ten-round points victory over Jimmy Richards at the Ellis Park Tennis Stadium in Johannesburg.

In June 1967 Bodell was stopped in the second round by Henry Cooper in a challenge for the British and Empire heavyweight titles.

However, in October 1969 he won the vacant British heavyweight title with a 15 round points victory over Carl Gizzi only to lose the title to Henry Cooper in his first defence.

Bodell subsequently regained the British title and won the Empire and European heavyweight titles with an upset 15 round points victory over Joe Bugner at the Empire Pool, Wembley in London.

He subsequently lost the European title to Jose Manuel Urtain and the British and Empire titles to Danny McAlinden on June 27 1972 in his last fight.

In 1983 he and his wife moved to Coventry and opened a fish and chip shop – the Knockout Fish Bar.

He retired with a record of 58 wins, with 31 coming inside the distance and 13 losses.


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