Day that launched career of Doncaster sporting hero

Iron Hague with Bruce Woodcock
Iron Hague with Bruce Woodcock
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A Doncastrian name firmly etched in boxing history is that of Bruce Woodcock, who began his professional career 75 years ago this month.

It was on January 26, 1942, that the young boxer from Mona Road, Balby, made his debut, in the Royal Albert Hall.

COPY  Boxer Bruce Woodcock the first owner of the pub in training  See Story Martin Slack  Picture Chris Lawton   
04/03/13

COPY Boxer Bruce Woodcock the first owner of the pub in training See Story Martin Slack Picture Chris Lawton 04/03/13

Weighing 12st 8lbs, Bruce was up against 14st 6lbs Fred Clark, but using speed and skill, the 21-year old triumphed after three rounds and returned home victorious with a £25 prize.

Boxing News reported that he ‘dispatched ex-stoker Clarke in impressive style on his professional debut’.

Bruce Woodcock went on to become a sporting hero...a British and Empire heavyweight champion from 1945-50; and European heavyweight champion from 1946-49.

Throughout his early career he trained in a small, makeshift gym behind the Plough pub in Doncaster.

Despite his success, he shunned the celebrity lifestyle. His autobiography, Two Fists and a Fortune, was published in 1951, after he retired.

He ran the Tumbler pub in Broomhouse Lane, Edlington, for many years, and died in 1997.