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Boxers of Yesteryear - Terry Marsh

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The Undefeated: Terry "The Fighting Fireman" Marsh

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By Daniel Ciminera

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Hailing from 1958 Stepney, London, Terry Marsh is a truly fascinating character in boxing. His childhood was hardly that of a stereotypical boxer, being a junior chess champion long before he laced up any boxing gloves. He joined the Royal Marines seemingly on a whim as a youngster saying the advert said "can you hack it?" which presumably the young Londoner took as a challenge as he joined up and began boxing for the Navy.

Amongst active service in Northern Ireland and Cyprus, Marsh somehow found time to win three major ABA titles in '78, '80, and '81 having moved from lightweight to welterweight via light-welter where he was also a finalist in '79, losing out to Eddie Copeland. I am sure you will agree, four consecutive finals during active military service is quite an achievement.

1981 was to be Marsh's final year in the military and as an amateur. He cited the fact that his rank would be limited due to his education, so he left to go to university and so began boxing professionally to pay for his studies.

Marsh's first professional contest was a 6 round points win over Tottenham native, Andrew Da Costa in October 1981. He obviously enjoyed himself because 2 weeks later he was in the ring again facing Dave Sullivan, an archetypal journeyman from Plymouth, Devon. Again, Marsh took a 6 round decision. He fought four more times around London before his only non win where he drew with Lloyd Christie who would later hold the British light-welterweight title. Even at this stage, Christie was a risky opponent for the light-fisted Marsh as he was already garnering a reputation as someone who you knock out, or he would knock you out. The two would never square off again oddly.

Funnily enough, during this time, Terry had found that despite being ultimately successful inside the ring, boxing was not paying his bills as he had hoped, so he signed up to the fire service which later gave him the nickname "The Fighting Fireman".

After 3 years as a professional, Marsh was given the opportunity to fight for the British light-welterweight title against experienced Jamaican, Clinton McKenzie. Marsh won over 12 rounds. Four more fights and Marsh had made ground in the European rankings and took only his second fight outside of England to face Italian Alessandro Scapecchi in Monaco. Marsh won by 6th round TKO to win the vacant EBU light-welterweight title which has since been held by Junior Witter and currently held by Paul McCloskey.

Another couple of years and Terry had emerged onto the international scene although never again fought outside of England, Marsh managed to lure American IBF light-welterweight champion Joe Manley, himself on something of a winning streak, to come and fight in Essex. In a heavily one-sided contest, Marsh eventually scored the TKO in the 10th round of a scheduled 15.

Marsh would make one single defence of the IBF crown, which has since been held by greats like Julio Cesar Chavez, Kostya Tszyu, Zab Judah, and Ricky Hatton, against Japanese fighter Aiko Kameda, winning by 7th round TKO at the Royal Albert Hall before retiring from boxing.

Many speculated that his retirement was due to his diagnosis with epilepsy, however, Marsh says this was just a mere coincidence as he was going to retire anyway. The feeling of being the first European to retire unbeaten and a world champion was worth more to him, he says, than the money and fame. He also claims that in all of his fights, numbering over 200 including his amateur contests, he never once knocked a man out. This is actually something Terry is very proud of because, quite rightly, he says that to achieve what he did without any amount of punching power, he must have been some boxer!

Unfortunately for Terry, the happy retirement he had hoped for was not to be. Two years after Marsh's retirement, his former manager, Frank Warren, was shot whilst leaving a fight. Due to the fact that the two were involved in an ongoing libel case, police suspected Marsh and arrested him. He was held on remand and a "confession" he allegedly made whilst in prison was used against him in his trial. He served over 10 months in jail before being acquitted for the attempted murder of Warren.

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More recently, the ever fascinating Marsh has worked as a stock broker, self-published an autobiography titled "Undefeated", and stood in several elections for UK Parliament. He even now goes by the name of "None Of The Above X" which he changed his name to by deed poll as a protest against the fact that you cannot name a political party none of the above and there was no option to vote against all of the available candidates. He vowed that if he won, he would not take his seat.

A true champion and character in boxing history.

Terry Marsh: an undefeated record of 26-0-1 (10 KOs).

 

 

Photos: Terry Marsh Boxer - Terry Marsh, Politician - Terry Marsh with Andrew Millwall - President of ' World Wide Weekly Boxing Predictions League'

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