John McDermott MBE
With many thanks to Bernard Rea
Shortly after publishing the news that trainer John McDermott had been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, we received an email from an old friend of John’s, ex-professional boxer Bernard Rea who now lives in Canada.
“When I read your information on the MBE bestowed on John I was overjoyed,” wrote Bernard. “It couldn’t happen to a nicer or more dedicated person in the sport of boxing. John McDermott was an excellent boxer and always the perfect gentleman in a time when the sport was much tougher and classier than today.”
Bernard then wrote again about John‘s past and talked about boxing at the time they both fought out of the N.B. Loco Amateur Boxing Club in Springburn, Glasgow. It made fascinating reading and serves as a fitting tribute to John McDermott MBE.
Over to Bernard:
I first met John McDermott on a Camping Holiday in Kingsdown, Kent, when we were both in the Boy Scouts. John’s uncle, Terry McDermott, who was also a School Teacher, was one of the Boy Scout Leaders and another real gem of a person.
Then I met John again as a member of the North British Loco Amateur Boxing Club in Springburn, Glasgow. John was also a member and a real classy boxer too.
The N.B. was a tremendous venue for boxing shows every Thursday night during the amateur boxing season. John was a regular on these shows along with guys like the McMillan brothers, Alex, Donald and John.
At that time even John “Cowboy” McCormack was a member of the N.B. as it was affectionately known.
When the N.B. closed its doors we all went our separate ways and ended up in different clubs around Glasgow and the surrounding areas but always remained good friends. Boxing was a fantastic sport for meetings all kinds of people and making great and lasting friendships.
John, of course, went on to eventually win the Western Districts, the Scottish Amateur Boxing Association and the British Amateur Boxing Association Titles at Featherweight.
Following those victories John went to the Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia, to win a Gold Medal at the same weight.
I had taken another path and eventually moved to Jersey, Channel Islands, where, in 1961, I was awarded the Amateur Boxing, Middleweight Title. I then went on to represent Jersey in the English Southern Districts Championships held at Nine Elms Baths, Battersea, and won the Light Middleweight Crown.
Following the South West’s, I went to the Royal Albert Hall and won the London Districts A.B. Lt. Middleweight Title.
After winning the London’s, I then went to Wembley for the A.B.A. Finals and, unfortunately, lost to another great Amateur Boxer in his time, Bobby Keddie in the semi’s.
When I returned to Jersey, following the A.B.A.’s, I was also chosen to represent them in the same Commonwealth Games attended by John. However, being rather impatient and somewhat impetuous I chose to turn professional and, in retrospect to my regret, did not attend the Games.
John McDermott went to those Games, against great odds to overcome the Scottish Selectors, and I am sorry I wasn’t there to cheer him on in person.
John McDermott is a real life Champion. Thank God there are people like him who are willing to dedicate their time and patience for the good of youth and eventual benefit of our communities.
By the way, John is also the trainer and coach of another handy young boxer, Ross Naismith, who won the Western Districts A.B. Title at Welterweight, and is also a relative of my wife. I would like to think he is still training with John and still doing well.
Thanks again to Bernard for the above. It would be great to hear from others with tributes and memories of John for us to add to this page.
Submitted by M & D Reilley
Six Blantyre boxers win major titles
SIX young fighters from Blantyre Miners’ Welfare Amateur Boxing Club have won major Scottish titles.
Ryan Brown from Blantyre (16) took the 66k crown at the Scottish Championships in Cardenden, which was for young boxers with six fights or less under their belts.
The two-day tournament attracted an entry of 250 from across the country.
Josh Sandford (14), Jonathan Robertson (18), David Jamieson (17) and Thomas O’Neill, all from East Kilbride, took titles at 57k, 57k, 81k and 46k respectively.
And Muirkirk’s Jordan Barr (15) finished top in the 50k category.
Head coach John McDermott, MBE, was delighted and said: “That’s a club record, without a doubt. I’m over the moon and to have six fighters all come back with titles is terrific.
“Unfortunately I couldn’t be there myself because I wasn’t well, but our coaches Tommy Slavin, Teddy McCrory and Tommy Campbell took them up to Cardenden.
“They set off at 7.45am on Saturday and didn’t get back until late, and did the same on Sunday so it was a long couple of days for them.
“The tournament itself is absolutely phenomenal and a really good idea. It started about three or four years ago and it gives the young lads a terrific start to their career.
“I’m really pleased for all six of them. It’s brilliant for their morale, but it’s a good example to others at the club as well.”
John is delighted with the help he gets from coaches Slavin, McCrory and Campbell and says the gym has never been busier.
He said: “These are all guys who boxed here right through to their senior careers and they’ve come back in to help – it makes some difference.
“The place is always buzzing as well; we have 40-45 boys in most nights and we’ve got a waiting list for the first time.
“I clock up 39 years here in January – although it just seems like yesterday that I started – and it’s the busiest I’ve ever seen it.
“That’s great to see and it’s great for the boxers as well.”
Submitted by Betty McGaulley
Boxing club boys pack a punch
May 5 2011 by Andrew McGilvray, Hamilton Advertiser
BLANTYRE Miners’ Welfare Amateur Boxing Club coaches Tommy Slaven and John McDermott this week voiced their delight after five young fighters took titles in recent competitions.
Robbie Mullings (12) from Blantyre won the 38k title at the Scottish Open Class Championships at the Time Capsule in Coatbridge, while Larkhall 13-year-old Mark McShane took the 57k title at the same event.
On Saturday Ross Greig (14) from Blantyre and East Kilbride duo David Jamieson (19) and Scott Woods (18) won titles at the Scottish Intermediate Championships at the Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility in Motherwell.
Ross won the 59k category, Scott 69k and David 81k.
Coach Tommy Slaven said: “These lads are going from strength to strength to be honest, and the same boys are winning titles on a regular basis now.
“I’m hopeful of them getting a shout for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 – that’s what they aspire to anyway.
“It’s something that would be great for the boys, and I’m sure they would love to be representing their country at the Games.
“It’s early days, we’ve got three years to go, but I hope they can build on their success and take it on from here.”
Head coach John McDermott was proud of the lads and also praised the Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility in Motherwell.
He said: “There was a lot of effort involved and the boys worked really hard.
“We check their weight at 8am and I’ve never brought a boy in overweight – even if they are slightly heavy early in the morning they work a bit to get it off.
“They did very well, and to win three from putting three in was excellent.”
Of the venue John said: “Ravenscraig is the best I’ve ever seen, it’s a fantastic arena.
“I was amazed when I walked in and I think they might use it for the Commonwealth Games – I think they should, because it’s simply brilliant.”
Blantyre Miners’ Welfare ABC are going from strength to strength and both coaches feel that they’re bringing through a lot of promising youngsters.
Tommy Slaven added: “We’re averaging 40-odd people on any given night so we’re up to full capacity.
“It’s testament to Amateur Boxing Scotland’s ‘Bring Boxing Home’ initiative, which has turned it around from being a dying sport only a few years ago to once again being on the increase.
“Lanarkshire has always been a hotbed of boxing, and we hope that continues.”
l Following his victory in the Scottish Open Mark McShane represented Scotland at the British Championships in Manchester, winning a silver medal in the 57kg category by beating Berkshire’s Mathew Stevens.
Submitted by Betty McGaulley
Recognize any of these Young Boxers?
Hello again Bill,
Rummaging around a few days ago I found this picture of my grandfather Bob Brown, the original owner of Hasties Farm. It shows him presenting a trophy to what appears to be four young boxers and their trainer.
I’d be interested to know if anyone can identify them. The photo would have been taken in the early or mid-seventies.
The photo was taken in the “middle room” at Hasties Farm. In the background is the cigarette and snacks sales desk where my Aunt Isa (Bob’s sister) held court, with the cloakroom on the left.
The trainer’s watch says the time of day was five-to-twelve. I would guess that would be just before midday, rather than midnight, as the lads wouldn’t likely have been out that late.
The pubs closed at 10pm back then, but Hasties’ bars were open until 11pm, on account of it being a licensed restaurant. There was always a late rush of new customers for that last extra hour of drinking. Even after 11pm you could still get in if you were a friend of the various doormen, and Hasties was notorious for after-hours drinking.
Scottish Novice Championship
This Is Me Fightin’ For The Scottish Novice Championships , My Club Are The Blantyre Miners ABC, And I’m In The Blue Corner.
Callum’s fight at the Scottish Novice Championships Coatbridge
Submitted by Betty McGaulley
Copyright © Symbol Internet Marketing 2003 – 2017