OldCiren - Cirencester, Gloucestershire, UK
As well as mainstream activities such as Football, Cricket, Rugby, there have always been other clubs and teams in Ciren to cater for minority interest as well. Boxing is a sport which goes in and out of popular interest, but in the 1960’s Boxing was a widely followed sport. These were the days of Cassius Clay, Henry Cooper, Joe Bugner and others, who’s fights we listened to excitedly on the radio and then enacted in the School playground or better still (and safer) did so up the stairs to the hall at the back of the Nelson pub in Gloucester street.
Cirencester Boxing Club met on a weekday night at the Nelson with coaching by Reg “Pop” Mathews (from Patterson Road) assisted by a number of Dads; keen to encourage their sons in the “Noble Art” but also there for a couple of pints afterwards in the Nelson public bar. At 13, I was too young to join my Dad at the bar after, but waited for him instead in the car outside; nursing a sometimes bloodied nose, with a bottle of real “pop” and a packet of crisps – which in those days came with a small blue bag of salt.
The Boxing Club frequently took part in what were called “Tournaments”; fighting with other Clubs as far away as the Synwell Boxing Club at Wotton under Edge and Nailsworth. Sometimes we went further; to the Isle of Wight one year for the Three Counties Championships.
Training continued outside of the Nelson with regular running around the City Bank and also with sparring in the front room of your house with your Dad or a someone else from the Club. I remember many an afternoon sparring with Club Member, Derick Smith in his front room at Upper Churnside; avoiding the sofa and trying not to knock over the then fashionable glass top coffee table.