Sunday, July 31, 2016

TBG Book Review: Fen Tiger: The Success of Dave 'Boy' Green

The Boxing Glove Sunday Night Book Review

By Peter Silkov

"Fen Tiger: The Success of Dave 'Boy' Green" by Bob Lonkhurst

"Fen Tiger: The Success of Dave 'Boy' Green" is the biography of one of Britain’s most popular and exciting fighters since WW2.  Dave ‘Boy’ Green was an all-action fighter, with a ‘do or die’ attitude that made all his fights exciting. Dave ‘Boy’ Green was born on June 2, 1956, in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, the same rural town that had produced the original ‘Fen Tiger’ Eric ‘Boy’ Boon. Back in the 1930s and 40s, Boon had been one of Britain’s most exciting fighters, and had become the youngest British lightweight champion. Green would grow up hearing about the ring exploits of Boon, and would go on to recreate the excitement that had been generated by Boon, throughout his own career as a light-welterweight and welterweight, in the 1970s and early 80s.

Jean-Baptiste Piedvache
It is no coincidence that the author of "Fen Tiger," Bob Lonkhurst, is also the author of Eric Boon’s biography. Like “Chatteris Thunderbolt” (which has been covered in a previous review by The Boxing Glove) “Fen Tiger: The Success of Dave ‘Boy’ Green” is a fast moving, entertaining read, with highly detailed accounts of Green’s fights. It is an insightful account of his roller coaster career, as well as his life outside of the ring.

Green fought at a time when there were far less ‘world champions’ and getting into the world top 10 was a feat in itself. In 1974, Green turned professional at the age of 18, following a bright amateur career. He then enjoyed an amazing run, which saw him compile a 24-fight win streak up until 1977.

Stracey Vs. Green
In the process, he became one of British boxing’s top attractions. In those 24 fights, his manager, Andy Smith, guided Green into world title contention. Dave 'Boy' then won the British and European light welterweight titles in 1976. In 1977, in a hugely anticipated domestic showdown, Green stopped John H. Stracey in 10 rounds. Stracey was the former World welterweight champion, and was expected by some to be too good a boxer and too experienced for Green. But the ’Fen Tiger’ proved to be too strong, and too relentless for Stracey, in what proved to be one of the decades-classic fights. The win over Stracey catapulted Green into a world title shot three months later, when he challenged the hard-punching, Carlos Palomino, for the WBC world welterweight title. Palomino had won the world title from John H Stracey, and he broke British hearts again when he knocked Green out in the 11th round, after what was another classic fight, and probably the high point of Green’s boxing career.

Stracey and Green
Throughout “Fen Tiger,” Lonkhurst describes Green’s most important contests with great insight, going behind the scenes, and examining the action of each contest.

Green would rebound from his loss to Palomino by winning the European welterweight championship, and then in 1980 gain a second shot at the World welterweight title, this time facing Sugar Ray Leonard, which would prove to be an ultimately painful encounter for the Fen Tiger.

Palomino vs. Green
Looking back over Green’s career there is little doubt that he was at his peak against Stracey and Palomino, and by the time he fought Leonard, he was already a slightly faded force. Green retired in 1981, and unlike so many other ex-boxers, he has prospered in retirement with various business ventures, as well as becoming a tireless worker for charities.

Too many boxing biographies reveal bittersweet stories of fighters that have reached the heights, only to fall onto hard times after their careers are over. Green was lucky to have a manager in Andy Smith who took the time and care to pave the way for Green to start a new career when his boxing life had finished, and this approach certainly gave Green a head start towards his successful business career. It is an interesting example of how fighters can be helped towards post-boxing careers when their managers take the time and effort to help them in this direction.
Green officially opens the Whittlesey Amateur Boxing Club
‘Fen Tiger’ is packed with photographs and also contains his full amateur and professional career records.

This is a very interesting biography of one of Britain’s most exciting fighters; a fighter who, without doubt, would be a world champion if he was fighting in today’s era. It is another reminder of how much the fight game has changed in just the last three decades.

No comments:

Post a Comment