I WENT to the Leeds Ex-Boxers Association meeting a couple of months ago, and the first time for a long while and I was surprised at the lack of numbers.

I missed last month but I will be there the next first Sunday in the month. I was talking to a boxing man, a guy that hadn’t boxed and he went to his closest EBA meeting last month for the first time ever. He entered the meeting and everyone stopped and stared at him and at that moment he told me he could have turned round and walked out, mainly because he was unsure as to whether, not being an active boxer at any time in his life, was he allowed at these meetings. Well the quick answer to that question is a definite yes, of course he is, and anyone else who has an interest in the sport of boxing.

There seems to be a sad decline in numbers that are attending the monthly get-together of ex-fighters, as a lot of members are the old stalwarts from years ago and sadly the guy in the sky keeps counting them out, and the numbers are not being replaced by the present day fighters or fight fans.

There needs to be a concerted effort by every fan and fighter to attend these once a month meetings where a fan could meet some of the fighters that he has supported over the years, take a selfie, listen to the stories that you have never heard before, coming straight from the horse’s mouth. There is not a necessity to attend every meeting every month, but if you are in the need of a couple of hours of great company, get down to your nearest EBA.

I’m sure many fans would maybe like to go but are not sure where they are held, well, get the fingers going on that computer thing and it will tell you, or maybe the promoters could help by printing the whereabouts and date of local EBA meetings in their programs – don’t forget these are some of the same guys that graced your shows and maybe some of the promoters could spare one or two Sundays to relive some on their defining moments.

This is a message for fighters young and old as well to haul themselves to the meetings now and again meet old opponents, meet guys that have been on the same shows, swap tales, tell each other how the referee robbed you, that you could have been a contender. I will be going on September 4 to the Angler’s Club for the Leeds EBA meeting to see Alan Richardson [pictured above vs Vernon Solis in 1977] the former featherweight champion, Dave Toughey, both of them my old sparring partners, Ernie Lofthouse the former light-heavyweight England representative, Alan Alster the BBBofC inspector, Nick Manners the former Area champion and part of the Josh Warrington training staff and a few more, just to have a drink and a chat, a reminisce with people that absolutely love the sport.

Leeds is the EBA in the country, and whether you be along to the oldest, or the youngest, these associations are the life blood of many retired fighters and there is a need to encompass the fans and more fighters to preserve these occasions that have been going for many years.