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Narrated to and compiled by Karon Rice, October 2007

My Boxing Life

By Dick ( Roy ) Rogers

Dick as a Boxer - (centre - in Hong Kong in 1956) - and Referee

I started my boxing career in the 1948-49 seasons when referees still sat outside of the ring and boxers had no gum shields or foul belts. I trained at the West End Working Men’s club under Jimmy Tew and Reg Miller. My first contest was against Don Jellis from Kettering at the Co-op Hall in Rushden where I lost on points. Then for a while we had to move our training quarters to the Rose and Crown where, apart from road work, we used the Attic room for “Bag and Ball” work, sparring, etc. This only lasted for one season as alterations were to be done to the pub, so on we go again, this time to The Windmill Club, in Glassbrook Road. The Committee gave us the all-clear to train there.

Then along came National Service in 1954 and I then trained at Quebec Barracks in Northampton. As I signed on for three years, I took a PT Instructors course for six weeks at Shorncliffe, which I passed. So then I went on to the APTC School at Aldershot, again passing the course. On returning from leave the battalion was posted to Hong Kong, sailing on the ‘Empire Orwell’.

Whilst in Hong Kong I fought for the colony at Light Welter Weight. On reaching the final a cut eye stopped me from taking part. My opponent should have been Bombardier Parkes. During our twenty three months' stay in Hong Kong it was always my aim to meet him sooner or later. I finally met him at The Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Hong Kong and beat him on points.

Later on in the year I went to Singapore to fight for the “Far East Land Forces” title. On reaching the semi-finals I beat CFN Legerton, a crafty southpaw. In the final I beat Tpr Wales on points. After a further two weeks, we sailed back to Hong Kong on the troopship “Empire Fowey”.

Other area boxers I trained with were Eric Darlow, from Market Harborough, who broke his dad’s ribs sparring; Don Bellamy, who turned professional; Dave Wallington, ABA champion; Tony Mann from Northampton who also turned professional; Ken Whitney, a good amateur boxer, cousin of Rex Whitney, professional boxer; Gordon Sparrow a professional boxer from Rushden; Derek Law, a local lad who was with us abroad; Norman Walters from Finedon and his brother Les, who died when his plane crashed.

After being demobbed I still trained three nights a week doing road work, bag work and sparring, under trainer Roy Reynolds from Northampton. We had been to Lhar, Singen and Frieberg in Germany with the Three Counties ABA, and boxed against France at Gossington Street Baths in Leicester. I have fought the best of my weight in the country; my only regret was not meeting Dick McTaggart, although I did fight Billy Barber who lost to Dick McTaggart in the ABA finals.

Mick Varley from Nottingham, also an ABA finalist, beat me on points. I stopped Russ Pritchet (brother of British champion Johnny Pritchet) in the first round with a cut eye at Bingham.

My career as a boxer ended in 1964 when I was meeting lads a lot younger than myself, and the aches and pains used to last longer, so I decided to pack it in before it packed me in. I then trained many young boxers including Roger Horsfield, Mervyn Bowyers and Junior John Surrey who I got through to the Wales quarter finals, Gary Woodward, another local lad who had several amateur contests; his brother Tony also had a few contests.

I was:–

  • Three Counties judge for three years
  • Three Counties Referee for three years

I had over 200 contests from Rushden to the Far East.

I have also been President of The Northamptonshire Ex-Boxers Association for the past ten years. We go to other re-unions, i.e., Leicester, London, Ipswich, Croydon, Norwich and the Home Counties, taking it in turn to visit as funds for transport etc. allow.

The Secretary for The Northamptonshire Ex- Boxers Association is Pam Ward. The meetings are the first Sunday in the month.

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