By Jim Amato

The British produced some quality heavyweights in the 1950′s and into the 1960′s. Of course the ver popular Henry Cooper comes to mind. There was Joe Erskine and Billy “Golden Boy” Walker. One of the best was rugged Brian London who twice challenged for world honors. In his fine career London some of the best heavyweights in the world. Brian was born in 1934 and turned professional in 1955. He won his first twelve  bouts, eleven by knockout before being stopped in one round by Henry Cooper in  1956. Brian bounced back to win eight of his next nine before dropping a  decision to the clever Willie Pastrano in 1958. Three months later London would  halt Joe Erskine in eight rounds to win the British and Commonwealth heavyweight  titles. He would then stop Pastrano on cuts in a rematch.
Brian was now a serious contender for a world title shot. In 1959 he lost his  titles by decision to Henry Cooper. Nevertheless he was awarded a shot at Floyd  Patterson’s heavyweight title. After a valiant effort Floyd stopped London in  eleven rounds. Brian would then be stopped in seven by the dangerous Nino  Valdes. In 1960 London would halt former Olympic gold medalist Pete Rademacher.  Later in the year Dick Richardson would stop Brian in his attempt to win the  European title. In 1961 the highly rated Eddie Machen kayoed London in five. In  1962 he dropped a decision to Santo Amonti. In 1963 Brian would lose a twelve round decision to former world champion  Ingemar Johansson. It would be Ingo’s last fight. In 1964 he again lost a  fifteen rounder to Henry Cooper with the European, British and Commonwealth  titles on the line. He then lost to up and coming Johnny Prescott but amazingly rebounded to defeat Chip Johnson, Billy Walker and Roger Rischer.

In 1966 he  dropped a decision to a very talented Thad Spencer. Later in the year Brian  received his second shot at immortality when he met Muhammad Ali for the  world’s title. In one of young Ali’s best performances he battered the badly overmatched London in  three rounds.

Brian would continued on. He lost a tough decision to the highly touted Jerry  Quarry. He then defeated highly regarded Zora Folley. In 1968 he suffered damaging kayo losses  to Roberto Davila and Jack Bodell. Although he drew with Henry Clark in 1969 he  later lost to Jimmy ” The King ” Fletcher and was taken out in two in a return  bout with Quarry. In 1970 Brian was taken out in five by rising star Joe Bugner and that ended  his career. London engaged in 58 professional contests. He won 37 of them, 26 by  knockout. He fought four world champions. Ali, Patterson, Johansson and  Pastrano. He met six boxers that fought for world title honors in Henry Cooper,  Pete Rademacher, Eddie Machen, Jerry Quarry, Zora Folley and Joe Bugner. He also  met other top notch guys like Nino Valdes, Thad Spencer and Henry Clark just to name a few. Brian London had a very respectable career and he did England proud.

Jim Amato

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