Home Boxing News Alan Richardson Interview: the old fighters were just a lot tougher

Alan Richardson Interview: the old fighters were just a lot tougher

Dave Allen caught up with former BBBofC Central Area and British Featherweight Champion, Alan Richardson. Richardson was a professional boxer from 1971 to 1978 and compiled a record of 17-9-1, 6 KOs.


Ringnews24.com: Hi Alan, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. First question: You beat Vernon Sollas to become British Champion, but had previously lost to him in 1975 – what did you do the second time around to get the win?

Alan Richardson: The first fight I thought “what a flash git” and after four rounds I thought he was finished and that I had him in trouble. How wrong I was – he came out in the fifth and just took over the fight. He was skillwise out of my league.

The second fight I was determined to beat him as he had made some undignified remarks about me. I knew punchwise he could not hurt me, so I fought him putting pressure on him from bell one. I learned after the fight his manager Bobby Niel had instructed him to box in the second fight, so my gameplan worked for me winning the title.

I never had much time for Sollas, but over the years I have come to know him better at ex-boxer meetings – he is not a bad guy.

Ringnews24.com: You fought the tough Billy Hardacre three times, each for the Central Area Featherweight Title, losing the first two on points but winning the third – what did you do to finally gain victory?

They were all close fights, but I just improved over the two losses and won the third.

Ringnews24.com: You lost to British Champion Dave Needham in 1978 on points. You had previously beaten him in three rounds – what went wrong in the second fight?

The first time I fought Needham he had stepped up from bantam to featherweight and I stopped him on a cut eye. I remember Micky Duff shouting out at ringside that I had butted his fighter, trying to sway the ref’s decision.

To be honest I never used my head in fights, but in that fight he may have got caught by an elbow. But in the heat of battle even I cannot be 100%  sure how the cut happened. In the second fight I dropped him in the third and thought it would be a easy six or seven-round fight, but my hand went and I lost the decision.

Ringnews24.com: You fought Eddie Ndukwu twice, losing both by stoppage. Do you think you would have had a better chance against him if you fought in the UK?

Alan Richardson: No, fighting in Nigeria with the heat had no effect on me – in the first fight Trevor Callahan wanted to pull me out in the 11th round because I was cut. I refused and went out for the 12th round, but referee Roland Dakin stopped the fight. The judges had me in front and Dakin came in my dressing afterwards and said he had me up on his scorecard.

The second fight I entered knowing I had a damaged hand and not much of a chance, and got stopped on a cut once again.

Ringnews24.com: Who was your toughest opponent?

Alan Richardson: There were two and I cannot split them – Evan Armstrong and Les Pickett.

Ringnews24.com: You fought some of the top names in Britain – is there anyone you wish you’d fought but never got the chance?

Alan Richardson: Howard Hayes – what a tear up that would have been!

Ringnews24.com: You won the ABA title in 1969 – can you tell me about that and your record as an amateur?

Alan Richardson: I had a very successful career as an amateur and I loved every minute of it.

Ringnews24.com: Have you been involved in boxing since retiring?

Alan Richardson: Yes, at present I am president of the Northern Federation of Ex-Boxers and I’m very proud of that.

Ringnews24.com: You had a period of eight months where the BBBC held up your licence – how frustrating was that?

Alan Richardson: To this very day I dont even know the full truth – I boxed in the USA on tour as an amateur and in my first contest I stopped my opponent in the second round. After the fight I took a headache pill and next morning I was up at five o’clock to go running and felt strong and fit for the fight.

All of a sudden, for some reason I was stepped down for the next two contests, so I decided when I got back I would turn pro. Then the BBBC messed me around for eight months before giving me my pro licence – I even had a private Cat scan and was passed first class, but it wasn’t until the BBBC was threatened with a court case that I got my licence.

Myself, I think the ABA officials had the BBBC mess me around. It was a terrible time for me – I was at my lowest ebb.  Hopefully one day the truth will come out once and for all.

Ringnews24.com: It’s been said by other boxers your training was the hardest they had ever seen, that you punished yourself in the gym. Do you think that shortened your career?

No way – my mindset was you only get out what you put in – it had no bearing on the length of my career.

Ringnews24.com: You were lucky enough to have been managed by Trevor Callahan, one of the good guys in the sport. Have the two of you remained friends since your career came to an end?

Trevor gave me good money to turn pro with him – he was a businessman and looked for a return on his outlay. One thing I will say – Trevor was 100% honest with the money – there were many times when it was in my bank account before the contest. But Trevor did make some degrotory remarks at times, which I did not like, to be honest. We are not the best of friends but I respect him.

Ringnews24.com: You worked in the local colliery as a welder, even when you were British champion – did you ever think how things might have been if you only had boxing to earn a living instead of working as well?

Alan Richardson: (Laughing) I was a full time pro and did have the job as a welder for extra income, but it was more a case of the company employing me for publicity – I had as much time off as I wanted to train – so it worked to both our advantages.

Ringnews24.com: How do you think of boxers today compare with fighters of the past?

Alan Richardson: Boxing has improved with diets and the right nutrition,but I think the old fighters were just a lot tougher, and there were so many good fighters around in every division in the old days. Plus, the boxers fought more, many having more than 300 fights.

Ringnews24.com: Who was your favourite fighter in your era?

Alan Richardson: Roberto Duran – great fighter.

Ringnews24.com: What was your biggest payday?

Alan Richardson: (Laughing) What are you, the freaking tax man?! It was £6000 for the fight in Nigeria against Eddie Ndukwu.

Ringnews24.com: Well Alan, I’d like to thank you for being so honest and agreeing to be interviewed for Ringnews 24.

Alan Richardson: Dave, it’s been a pleasure. Looking forward to when we see each other again, and thanks for interviewing me.


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