The Myths and Realities of Liverpool’s Noblest Art
Liverpool is a city of fighters. For decades it has punched above its weight to produce a stream of boxing champions and contenders, each with a unique story to tell. Terry Kavanagh grew up among them, and for thirty years had a ringside seat at the grittiest gyms and the rowdiest halls.
Taken by his dad to watch bouts at the old Liverpool Stadium, Terry boxed as a young amateur but never achieved his ambition of turning pro and winning a Lonsdale Belt. Instead he continued to train with and befriend many of Merseyside’s most notable exponents of the ‘noble art’.
In the cockroach-infested cellar of the PBA gym, he watched African greats like Dick Tiger and Hogan Bassey go through their paces. But it was another hotbed of talent and ambition, the Memphis Hall gym, run by the legendary Billy McDonald and affectionately known as Billy Mac’s, that supplied his most enduring memories. There he swopped leather and gossip with greats like Harry Scott, the McAteer brothers, Sugar Gibiliru and many others, the famous and the infamous alike.
In 1989, at the age of 42, Terry was diagnosed with lung cancer and told he had three months to live. So began his toughest fight – from which he emerged victorious. Today he is still going strong, and is a patient advocate for Cancer Research.
Packed with anecdote and humour, ‘City of Heroes’ is a warm, funny, affectionate look at the ‘old school’ of Liverpool pugilism, a world now gone but not forgotten.