|Whilst my own personal introduction to Boxing training
and competition wasn't until I was 19 going on 20 the
Herbert family has an extensive background in the sport. My
dad Sidney Herbert was a London amateur champion and my
Uncle Will, who was killed in 1915 at the first battle of
Ypres in World War 1, was an Army Boxing Champion of India.
My favourite Uncle Joe never fought, even though dad reckons
he caused plenty of fights, but all his sons did. Uncle Joe
also brought up British Champions Harry and Dicky Corbett
and his son my Cousin Harry was a top English professional
in the 1950's. "Harry Boy" a celebrity in the
Boxing game especially in the East End of London also
appeared in a Boxing film called the "Square Ring"
as the dirty fighter who used the thumb in the eye trick.
Harry was the only one I ever saw box and years later in
1970 he returned the compliment when I went back to box in
England. He came to see me in a return bout against English
International Tony Tacchi after the ring doctor had put me
out of our previous contest on a cut eye in the final of the
English ABA Divisional Championships. I was looking forward
to reversing that result before returning to Australia
having just come off beating Irish International Mickey
Foley, but sorry to say Tacchi never showed and Harry never
saw me box.
|I began boxing in England before coming to Australia
where I had my first contest on the inaugural 1967 Channel
Nine televised Australian Golden Gloves Boxing. I boxed on
the first two Golden Gloves telecasts taking out the Best
Boxer Award on both occasions. The championships that
started shortly after were a lead up to the Mexico Olympic
Games of 1968 and open to all comers. In a vintage year of
Boxing Channel Nine flew the best Boxers into Melbourne from
all over Australia.
I entered the Australian Golden Gloves Boxing Championship
just to compete even though I wasn't a champion of anything.
Sometimes luck rides on your side and after getting a
walkover when the Tasmanian Champion never showed beat the
Queensland Champ by the literal whisker. Picked up another
Best Boxer Award in beating the Victorian Champion in the
semi-finals, and capped it off in taking the
Light-Welterweight Crown by beating South Australian
Champion Tony Smith in the final
All good things come to an end and I lost on points in the
final of the 1968 televised Mexico Olympic Trials, but as I
said to the national newspaper reporters a couple of years
later after a cut eye cost me a fighting chance at the
English ABA Crown - "that's the way the cookie crumbles".