Of all the fighters Liverpool has produced the man with the biggest punch pound For pound was the lightweight Alf Howard. His reign during the 1920’s and Early 1930’s saw him belt out a succession of thrilling quick victories .
The british title eluded him but in 1930 he became the first Liverpool boxer To win a European title. Alf died in 1959, aged 53, but the legend of his Career lives on. He was without peer as a puncher and took part in some of the Most thrilling of his, or any other era. Probably the most sensational of all was his fight with the brilliant Londoner Harry Fenn in 1929. Fenn was the proverbial mile ahead on points by the 12th round And the Hall was starting to slowly empty of disappointed fans. Howard was Down for a count of six in the 12th but summoned all his strength in the 13th To drop Fenn with a right to the chin.
The roar from the crowd brought the crowds back in, many had been drowning Their sorrows in the local pub, but they missed one of the most dramatic victories In the long history of the Pudsey Street Stadium. Fenn was down for two more counts Before staggering to his corner to retire with just 10 seconds to go in the 13th. It was 12 months later in January 1930 that Alf Howard met the Belgium Francois Sybille for the European lightweight crown and though the ending Was unsatisfactory Howard lifted the title following the disqualification Of Sybille for a foul in the 8th round.
It was the only occasion a contest was run in the UK under the rules of the old IBU which called for a referee and two judges. The referee was Count Volpi of Italy, who took no notice of Howards appeal In the 3rd when he went down from a swing to the body. Sybille had the edge in science But when he had Howard wincing in the 8th from another left to the body Volpi Cautioned the Belgium. The blow was again repeated shortly after and he was disqualified . Alf, who’s bother Mick was a second at the Liverpool stadium, started his pro
Career in 1923 and twice boxed in British title eliminators. In March 1930, while reigning European champion, he met with the Londoner Harry Corbett in an eliminator but failed to find his form and after taking three counts in the 11th round he was stopped in the 12th when he has unable to defend himself.
An even greater shock came in October 1932 when he topped the bill on the Opening night of the Liverpool Stadium – the Pudsey street stadium having Been demolished - .This was a British welterweight title eliminator with Stoker Reynolds. Unbelievably for his legion of fans Alf was down 12 times in 4 rounds, including 6 visits to the canvas in the 4th when the ref called for a halt.
Alf decided to hang up his gloves after this shattering defeat but came back in July 1933 only to be stopped by Charlie Baxter in the 5th In 1937 he had two further contests losing them both to Charlie Parkin. However it is for the victories he is remembered and the trusty left hand with Which he hammered his opponents.