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Terry Downes

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Terry Downes

Details from a 1956 issue of Boxing News. A british amateur who became the idol of the US MarinesTerry chalked up a sensational string of victories in America after he emigrated there with his family some four years ago. He has made such an impression on the US boxing chiefs that he has punched his way into their Olympic Games probables. A Cockney, from Pembroke A.B.C. , wearing the Olympic vest of America  !

Terry joined the US Marines and became the idol of the whole corps when he proved his worth by beating the best welters of the Navy, Army and Air Force to become undisputed all services champ. He was described as the best boxer ever to come out of Britain and won an unanimous  entry into the Olympic tryouts.

Terry, whose family were living in Baltimore, carried the Quantico Marine base colours into the first Olympic tests and cleared the No 1 hurdle by winning four bouts in two days in the Eastern Regional tryouts and qualified for a shot at the Olympic trial finals. His tryout victims were Baltimore prospects Bobby Loval and Mike Loucas. He emerged victorious in a division which included amongst the 18 contestants, Bob Rigolosi – National Collegiate Athletic Association welter champion -, and Bill Pickett – National AAU title holder.

 Another American who came under the spell of Terry Downes  superb boxing and punching power was Wes Santee, Americas fastest miler at that time. Between the rounds at a Golden Gloves tournament at Washington Santee said to Terry, after Terry had trimmed up Manual Mays of Andrews Air Force Base in just 84 seconds, “That’s even faster than I can get through”. Terry also had a technical knock out win over Howard M. Moore who he stopped in two rounds. Moore held his own for the first two and a half minutes then it was all Downes. Cool and calculating as usual Terry jabbed, hooked and slugged according to the opportunities that presented themselves till Moore could take no more. The end came when terry worked Moore along the ropes, throwing  lightning hooks and body punches, and was about to finish Moore off when the referee came to Moore’s rescue.

 

When the referee, Jacko Miller, stepped in it brought Tery Downes record during his four year stay in the Us to 63 wins in 67 bouts. Describing Terry as the “Baby faced darling of the fans” Washington reporter  dick slay raved over Terry’s achievement in ending the long running wins of the Navy’s invincible All Service Champion Rudy Sawyer , the pick of the experts in the Military division of the Golden Gloves competition. It was a rousing battle, but Downes clinched it by dumping the sailor for a count of nine with a shot in the second round. Thus giving Terry revenge for the previous years defeat in the Gloves final by sawyers team mate larry Barret.

 “Downes was the hero of the Golden Gloves tournament” wrote Dick O’Brien in the Washington Evening Star.