Name: Tony Butcher
Birth Name: Tony Bacchino
Birthplace: Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom
Died: 1982-01-01 (Age:70)
Nationality: United Kingdom
Hometown: Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom
TONY BUTCHER –published in the Liverpool Echo 20th February 1973
Tony the Tiger — the man who once fought a world champion.. .for nothing!
The name Tony Bacchino may not ring a bell with fight fans — but try his adopted name of Tony Butcher and memories will surely be stirred, for the tigerish Butcher was one of Britain’s busiest bantams in the 1930s, and also of the best despite the fact that he never earned a title shot. Butcher went in with a host of top class boxers, including many who were champions themselves at some time in their careers. Fighters such as Tiny McGrory, Jimmy Walsh, Dave Crowley, Johnny Cuthbert, Ronnie James and Ernie Roderick.
However, despite meeting such illustrious British boxers, Tony’s biggest fight in boxing also brought him his biggest disappointment! This was in 1936 when he went to Spain to meet the then World bantamweight champion BaltazarSangchili in Valencia’s fabulous bull-fighting arena, the Plaza de Toros.Sangchili had taken the title from Al Brown the previous and it was a tremendous opportunity for Butcher to be offered this ice. His manager at the time, Liverpool’s Tony Vairo, could not make trip so Butcher set off alone for Valencia, where he was handled by international boxing agent Bobby Diamond. From the start everything t wrong however, for the Spanish Civil War had not long commenced the country was in some turmoil. It was therefore no surprise when the fight was postponed. Tony was all set to return to Liverpool, but the contest was eventually rearranged for the following week.
Butcher managed to last the 15 rounds but eventually lost on points. With guns booming across the country, Tony made a hasty exit, the promoters assuring him that they would send on his money, around ú200, in the near future. To this day however Tony is still waiting. Probably the only boxer to have fought a world champion for nothing!
Tony, now 61, works for Liverpool Corporation after having spent 35 yeas at Lister Drive power station (where he had Ernie Roderick for company). He eventually retired from the ring at the relatively early age of but managed to fit in over 300 contests in his 10-year career. In 1934, , Tony set up what he feels must be a record, for he averaged a fight a week for a staggering 46 weeks.
Tony’s proud boast is that he was never kayoed throughout his entire career and though chiefly regarded as a bantamweight, he actually mostly fought featherweights and even lightweights. “I was never beaten at 9st 41b., and I reckon I could have beaten Joe Louis if he had been weight!”
Tony’s Italian parents had 18 children in all, and they lived in Gerrard Street off Scotland Road. “You could knock at almost any door in street and a professional boxer would answer. Look at some of the fighters who lived there — Dom Volante, Dom Vairo, Billy Simpson, Joe Curran brother-in-law, Charlie Morris, Jimmy Dean, Bob McAnn, Larry Bos Bob Miller, Lew Sullivan, Nat Williams and his son, Young Nat Williams who took part in the first contest at the present Liverpool Stadium which opened in 1932.
“I actually had my first professional contest before I was 14. It was at the Seaforth Greyhound Stadium and I lost on points to Johnny McGurn. If memory is correct that was Liverpool’s first open-air boxing show. I got 30s though I lost my amateur status I later reinstated and carried on with old club, St. Joseph’s, under Billy Walsh.
“It was Dom Volante who took along and persuaded me to have my official contest at the old Pudsey Street Stadium, although if money had been so tight and my father had not I so old and in ill-health, then I would have stayed amateur. I really loved amateur sport, but the need for money made me go pro.
“One of the toughest and professionals I ever fought fellow Liverpool boxer Frankie Brown. He knew all the tricks of the trade. We met four times and the score was 2-2. I had a sprained left ankle when I boxed George Morgan, the Welsh featherweight champion. I limped at the bell, put all my weight on my good right foot and swung a left h which flattened him in just 20 seconds. I was praying he wouldn’t get and he didn’t. I once boxed Dick Corbett over 12 rounds, losing on points, and a fortnight later went 15 rounds with Johnny Cuthbert. I reckon I won 14 of the 15 rounds, but he still got the decision.
“When I boxed Dave Crowley at the old Holborn Stadium it was desperately close. I thought I deserved it though Crowley got the vote, but Lord Tweedmouth, who was at the ringside, was so delighted with the contest that he jumped into the ring and handed me two crisp ú5 notes.
Despite what the record books might say I was the first man to stop Ronnie James. I did him in six rounds. James at that time was a leading contender for the lightweight title and I thought I should take his place, for the contest had been billed over the 15 rounds championship course. The Board wanted me to box Len Beynon to prove myself however, and I was so disgusted I packed it in. I had just got a good job at lister Drive and had been thinking of quitting anyway.