Sunday, May 15, 2016

TBG Book Review: The Golborne Blacksmith: The Life and Times of the amazing Peter Kane

The Boxing Glove Sunday Night Book Review

By Peter Silkov

The Golborne Blacksmith: The Life and Times of the Amazing Peter Kane.

By Brian Hughes

In the 1930s and 40s, Peter Kane was one of Britain’s most popular and exciting fighters.  He was a flyweight with an aggressive, all-action style, and a tremendous knockout punch in both hands.  In “The Golborne Blacksmith: The Life and Times of the amazing Peter Kane,” author Brian Hughes tells the story of one of Britain’s greatest champions who is, unfortunately, too often overlooked today.

Hughes takes us through the dramatic and action-packed life and career of Kane.  From his early days as a teenage sensation who was knocking out opponent after opponent, onto his rise to the titles.  Kane had a career, which ran at breakneck speed, from beginning to end, with many ups and downs along the way.  In his prime, he would win the British, Commonwealth, and World flyweight titles, and then later, the European Bantamweight crown.

Peter Kane was born Peter Cain on April 28, 1918, in Heywood, Lancashire, and began his professional career as a 16-year-old.  From the start of his career, it was clear that Kane was a special fighter, and his rise to the top was meteoric.  This was a time when boxing was flooded with talent in just about every division. The lighter weights, especially, where a boxer had to fight often and hard, if he had any hope of making it to the top.  He would reach the pinnacle of his career, when he won the World flyweight title, while still only 19-years-old.

 Yet despite all of his successes, a mixture of career threatening injuries, and bad luck also plagued Kane.  Like most fighters with a big punch, Kane suffered from hand injuries for most of his career, and eventually he ended up having the little finger on his right hand amputated.  In addition to this setback, Kane suffered a freak injury to his right eye during his time in the RAF in the early 1940s, which resulted in a detached retina.  The break out of WW2 also proved to be a huge hindrance to Kane, coming as it did, just after he had won the world title.

Brian Hughes obviously has a great respect for Peter Kane and recounts his boxing exploits in great detail, from his early contests, to his most important championship fights.  In his post WW2 boxing career, Kane surprised the boxing world, who had thought he was washed up, by returning to the ring as a bantamweight, and winning the European Bantamweight championship, and coming close to gaining a shot at the World bantamweight title.

Despite all of his achievements in the ring, Kane will perhaps always be most remembered for one of the few fights that he lost his first fight with the great Benny Lynch, on October 13, 1937.  Kane ,who was still 6 months away from his 20th birthday, was challenging Lynch for the European and World Flyweight title. He would taste defeat for the first time in his 43 professional contests, when he was knocked out in 13th, after a fight which was later described as the greatest flyweight title bout ever witnessed.

Hughes gives a great build up to Kane’s meeting with Lynch, in what was one of the biggest and most anticipated fights ever seen in this country, and despite being defeated, Kane gained great prestige in defeat against the legendary Lynch. 

This is a fast-moving and engrossing read for anyone who has an interest in Britain’s great champions of the past, and Kane emerges as one of the greatest.  Despite his aggressive, all-action fighting style, Kane was a quiet, down to earth, and unpretentious man outside of the ring, who mainly fought because of his genuine love of boxing, rather than just for the money or a wish to be a public celebrity.  Indeed, its astonishing to find out that for most of his career Kane never even had a formal trainer.  Kane never became arrogant due to his successes, and he did not feel sorry for himself when things went wrong for him.

Peter Kane is a champion who deserves to be remembered, it is also fascinating to recall the times in which he lived, fought, and learn about his opponent’ lives and careers, and the world of boxing in general during his era.  This was a time when boxing was at its peak in terms of popularity and social importance, and every champion was a household name.

Hughes has previously written excellent biographies on ring greats Jock McAvoy, Johnny King, Jackie Brown, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Willie Pep.  He has produced another work with  “The Golborne Blacksmith: The Life and Times of the amazing Peter Kane,” which is to be recommended for any boxing fan who wishes to delve into the sport’s rich history and find out the life and career of one of the greatest of all flyweights, Peter Kane. 

*Book available directly from the author:

Copyright © 2016 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to

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