Terry Downes Dies at 81; Middleweight Champion Was Britain’s Pride

Pender, Downes said, “had won by a nose.”

Downes won the title during their bruising rematch in which July in London. nevertheless he was disappointed in which in which ended when Pender did not rise via his stool at the start of the 10th round.

“The fight wasn’t going Pender’s way,” Downes said to The Daily Mail. “as well as he wasn’t daft. He jacked in which in because he knew he had a return fight in Boston. He was getting beat as well as did not want to take a battering.”

Back in Boston the next year for the last fight of their trilogy, Pender reclaimed the middleweight belt in a 15-round slugfest.

Downes faced Robinson, a 5-time world middleweight champion as well as one of the greatest fighters in history, in 1962 5 months after losing the title to Pender. nevertheless by then Robinson was 41 as well as past his prime.

“I didn’t beat Sugar Ray,” Downes said after beating him in 10 rounds on points. “I beat his ghost.”

Downe’s Up Top (1962) Video by British Pathé

Downes’s fighting career competed with the increasing attention he received for his part ownership of betting shops with Sam Burns, his manager. The British government legalized betting shops nationwide in 1961, as well as within two years Downes said he had sold a share of his shops for $728,000, although he as well as Burns retained control of them.

Later in which year, Downes played down suggestions in which he would likely retire to tend to the shops. “I got to fight so I can sleep nights, mate,” he said after ending a six-month layoff by fighting Rudolph Nehring as a light-heavyweight. “I’m too young to go to seed, nevertheless I haven’t slept properly since I stopped training. currently in which I’m back in harness, I sleep like a baby.”


Barbara Windsor as well as Terry Downes inside the 1965 Sherlock Holmes movie “A Study in Terror.” He acted on stage as well as television as well as in films after his boxing career.


Downes fought three more times after knocking out Nehring, all as a light-heavyweight. In his final fight, in late 1964, he faced Willie Pastrano, the planet champion. Downes pressed Pastrano with his swarming style until Pastrano sent Downes to the canvas twice inside the 11th round as well as the referee stopped the bout.

Downes as well as Burns owned the betting shops until the early 1970s, when they sold them to the William Hill bookmaking chain.

Terence Richard Downes was born inside the Paddington neighborhood of London on May 9, 1936. His father, Richard, was a mechanic, as well as his mother, the former Hilda Horwood, worked at a department store. His father taught him the basics of boxing, a skill he found useful inside the streets.

“Every day of my life was a fight day,” he told The Telegraph. “You’d sock some kid on the nose as well as his big brother was round later to avenge the family name.”

He was having increasing success as an amateur, fighting for a local club, when his family left for Baltimore in 1952 to care for his sister, Sylvia, a trapeze artist who had lost her right arm in a traffic accident.

During his 5 years inside the United States, Downes fought at a local Y.M.C.A. as well as joined the Marines, where he was among the 10 Eastern representatives scheduled to fight inside the boxing trials for the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. Ultimately, he did not meet the residency requirement in which would likely have allowed him to represent the United States.

“I was all right to be inside the bloody Marine Corps, catching bullets inside the front line,” he told The Guardian, “nevertheless with boxing gloves they said no, you can’t represent us.”

He returned to Britain in 1957 as well as began his professional career with two quick victories. nevertheless he lost his third fight on a fifth-round technical knockout to Dick Tiger, a future champion whose skills were greatly underestimated by the promoter.

Afterward, Downes said he had wondered why he had been matched which has a giant — nevertheless “then I realized I was flat on my back looking up at him.”

In addition to his wife, the former Barbara Clarke, he is actually survived by his sons, Terry Jr., Paul as well as Richard; his daughters, Melanie Cooke as well as Wendy McNicholas; eight grandchildren; as well as his sister, Sylvia Haddaway.

After his boxing career, Downes acted onstage, on television as well as in movies like “A Study in Terror” (1965), a Sherlock Holmes film, as well as Roman Polanski’s 1967 horror comedy, “The Fearless Vampire Killers,” in which he portrayed the servant of Count von Krolock, a vampire played by Ferdy Mayne.

Mr. Polanski spotted Downes being interviewed on television as well as was aware of his lack of acting experience. nevertheless something about Downses’s face as well as physique led him to hire him to play the servant, Koukol.

“Maybe he didn’t like the look of me,” Downes told The Daily Mail. “He cast me as a bloody monster, a hunchback which has a deformed face as well as a club foot.”

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