Giles celebrates 50 years in boxing

Terry Giles with his long service award.

Terry Giles with his long service award. - Credit: Archant

Len Whaley chats to Terry Giles after he received an award for his service to the sport.

With a background in boxing going back more than 60 years, Terry Giles has learned to recognise real talent.

And he recalls the night over 30 years ago when he watched a skinny schoolboy moving around the ring like a mini-Muhummad Ali, before rocking his rival with accurate punches.

“I said to a man sitting next to me, ‘Look at that boy – he’s a natural and he’s doing things no trainer can teach. I think he can really achieve something special’.”

He was right, that the kid was going places. It was Colin McMillan in the early days of a ring career that took him all the way to the world featherweight title.

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Watching ring talent develop has been all part of the enjoyment for Giles, who recently celebrated 50 years as a qualified amateur judge and received a special presentation at Dagenham Boxing Club’s dinner tournament.

During many years at ringside Giles can list around 20 names of boxers he has judged who have gone on to claim various versions of world titles.

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These ranged from eight-stoner Charlie Magri, who went on to win the WBC world flyweight title, to the towering Henry Akinwande, who claimed the WBO heavyweight crown.

Before he crossed the Atlantic to campaign in the USA, Akinwande worked at the Ford plant in Dagenham where Giles was employed for 32 years.

He said: “Henry was talking about one of his fights and telling me how good it was and that I should have been there and I told him ‘I was there, I was judging at the ringside’.”

The list of champions goes on to include John H Stracey, Alan Minter and Nigel Benn with Giles, now in his 70s, adding: ”Great competitors, with a will to win that took them all the way to the top.”

Such is his knowledge of the sport that Giles has often been contacted by top fighters for information about their scheduled opponents he has watched in his ringside role.

He can still recall watching outstanding youngsters from his early days of judging, adding: “There was one boy, Mickey Carter from the Repton club.

“He won all the titles from schoolboy to the ABA senior award with over 50 consecutive victories. He had real class and embodied so much that was good about the sport.”

Giles’ own connection with boxing started with schoolboy bouts in his days as a pupil at the old Suttons School in Hornchurch, and he later became a coach at the long-gone Havering clubs, Romford & District and Romford Central.

He was later invited by Dagenham BC stalwart Tommy Wilder to join that club, accepted and has gone on to give half a century of valuable service.

Current Dagenham secretary Danny O’Sullivan describes Giles as “a treasure for Dagenham Boxing Club.”

The official, known to all as ‘Dagger Dan’ said: “I can’t thank Terry enough for all the many years of voluntary service he has given to the sport in one of the most thankless tasks of judging.”

At his Hornchurch home in Ford Close, Giles still has the letter sent from the London ABA headquarters in 1963 that confirmed he had qualified as a judge.

He has since officiated at thousands of contest’s from club shows to championship and representative matches at home and abroad and he still continues to fill the ringside role when needed.

“I have watched so many champions and met so many good people in the sport, it has been great,” added Giles, a highly-valued boxing treasure.

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