Name: Gordon Ashun
Alias: Kid Ash
Hometown: Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom
Age at Death: 72
He was one of the best welters on the Mersey fight scene in the immediate post war years, yet his first three professional fights saw him knocked out in one round by Jack Parnell ( Birkenhead) and John Cunningham and in two rounds by Jimmy Molloy.
After such an uncompromising start it is remarkable that he even elected to box on let alone run up a record of about 130 contests, several as top of the bill, and against a class of fighters such as Stan Hawthorne, Al Phillips, Ginger Stewart, Willie Whyte, Charlie Fox and Freddie Wilks.
This article ( by Syd Dye) appeared in the Liverpool Echo on 13 October 1973. Gordon was a staunch member of the Merseyside Former Boxers Association until his death aged 72 in October 1993. may he rest in peace.
He was one of the best welters on the Mersey fight scene in the immediate post war years, yet his first three professional fights saw him knocked out in one round by Jack Parnell ( Birkenhead) and John Cunningham and in two rounds by Jimmy Molloy. After such an uncompromising start it is remarkable that he even elected to box on let alone run up a record of about 130 contests, several as top of the bill, and against a class of fighters such as Stan Hawthorne, Al Phillips, Ginger Stewart, Willie Whyte, Charlie Fox and Freddie Wilks.
Gordon, formally of Bootle but who now lives in Kensington, came into boxing at the age of 15 when he joined the Gordon Institute on the advice of a friend Gus Harris. A small puny figure in those days he found himself frequently knocked about at work so he learned boxing to get his own back. However as Gordon says “Once you become a boxer you don’t automatically go around looking for people to fight. In Fact it is the reverse – “you try to steer clear of trouble”.
At the Institute a big influence in his life was Bootle’s Laddie Walker, his trainer. He steered Gordon to a victory in the Dom Volante Cup, a lightweight competition open to all Merseyside in which he beat Al Lunt in the final and he also won the Command Territorial Army championship for the Liverpool Scottish at Fraser Street just before the war.
Altogether Gordon had about forty amateur bouts. Then at the age of 19 in 1939 he turned professional with Laddie Walker as his manager. “Laddie never took a penny of me, he was a tremendous coach and a real gentleman. Through a misunderstanding I boxed my first three opponents billed as Kid Ash. I had it easy in the amateurs never having taken any punishment , I just wasn’t prepared for the stuff the professionals handed out. This resulted in those three quick KO defeats.
“I went back into the gym and concentrated on neck exercises for three months to toughen up my chin and the next time out with Harold Higginson as my manager I knocked out Peter Herron in one round at Blackpool. He was a huge man, well over six foot tall, and I couldn’t get home quick enough that night to tell the family about my win”.
Gordon ran up an impressive list of contests until December 1942 when he joined the Army. He had a big punch in both hands and won many inside the distance.he twice beat Liverpool’s Billy Hardacre on points, Mick Howard, Bobby Mack, Billy Barnes (Warrington) and in 1941 drew with Al Phillips over eight rounds at the Stadium. He gained a forth round KO revenge over Parnell, outpointed Charlie Fox of St Helens in his first 10 rounder and drew over 10 with Johnny Peers.
Gordon also served with the 7th Armoured Division in the army in North Africa. Then it was on to the Salerno landings in Italy and finally in the thick of things on D-Day. His Army boxing success included the championship of the Rhine and a Divisional title.
Late in 1946 Gordon left the army and he began to concentrate on becoming a full time professional fighter. He came back with a string of points wins against fighters such as Ginger ward (Merthyr), Irish Chadwick (Bridlington), and Liverpool’s Dick Shields. Altogether Gordon fought Shields four times and won the lot.
Gordon was now under the managership of Bootle’s Jimmy Duffy and won his way through a Northern Area eliminator by beating Freddie Wilks of Birkenhead .He was due to box Jimmy Molloy for the title but somehow the match never came off. Molloy had KO’d Gordon in two rounds when they first met in 1940 but it was a different story when they did meet in a return in 1948. On this occasion Molloy had to be content with a slim points margin over10 rounds in a fight that drew a reputed 6,500 crowd to the Stadium.
Gordon reckons hi toughest contest was his bout with a Londoner Teddy Lee in 1947. Lee had won something like 18 successive contests inside the distance and was even out with a cash challenge to Ernie Roderick. The betting was 4-1 against Gordon even lasting to the fourth round but instead it was lee who was down three times in the first round, he was down again for a count of eight in the fifth, took another eight count in the sixth, and a few seconds later Gordon KO’d him.
Early in his career Gordon had a tremendous punch up with an unbeaten Mancunian (Manchester) Johnny Downes. “It was a toe-to-toe throughout and it was just as well that the referee lifted both our arms at he end for a draw, as I think either of us would have fallen down if he Hadn’t held us up” He also KO’d Edinburgh’s Jim Watson, a former Empire amateur champion in one round and then outpointed him.
In 1948 Gordon dropped a ten round points decision to that effective and colourful character Stan Hawthorne, yet to this day he says “Stan never won that fight. Tony Viaro won it for him for he talked the right tactics. Hawthorne listened and never came close to me all night”. Gordon’s last contest was a points defeat at the hands of Terry Radcliffe in 1950, the same year in which he was twice outpointed by Preston’s Johnny Sullivan (later to become middleweight champion). Altogether he had about 130 professional outings with close on a century of wins.
Gordon was also an outside right of considerable promise with Bootle Boy’s in his younger days, Cyril Done was the centre forward in their team and Gordon can remember that “ I turned down a trial with Liverpool to concentrate on boxing but Cyril of course went on to become a fine player for the club”. A fitter welder at English Electric Gordon came back into boxing after his ring retirement when he became a founder member and trainer of the now defunct Mayfair ABC with Bootle’s Jackie Cunningham.