Neville Meade


Neville Meade
Neville Meade
Statistics
Real name Neville Meade
Rated at Heavyweight
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Nationality United Kingdom British
Born 12 September 1948(1948-09-12)
Jamaica
Died 13 March 2010(2010-03-13) (aged 61)
Swansea, Wales
Boxing record
Total fights 34
Wins 20
Wins by KO 18
Losses 13
Draws 1
No contests 0

Neville Meade (12 September 1948 – 13 March 2010) was a Jamaica-born boxer who emigrated to the United Kingdom settling in Swansea in south Wales. He rose to prominence when he won the gold medal in the heavyweight division at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in New Zealand. He turned professional in 1974 and won the Welsh Heavyweight title in 1976 and then followed this with the British title in 1981. He retired in 1983 after a failed defence of his British title.

Meade was known for his big-hitting style of fighting with very few of his bouts going the distance. Of his 20 professional wins, 18 came via knockout. Despite this ability, Meade lacked motivation in training and during the middle of his career, with his weight reaching above 17 stone, he suffered a lack of form that saw him lose seven out of nine fights. He took on a new trainer, Jimmy Bromfield, in 1979 and this saw a change in his fortune which led to Meade taking the British Heavyweight title.

Contents

Boxing career

Amateur career

Jamaica born Meade emigrated to the United Kingdom, living in Swansea, Wales from the age of nine. After leaving education he served in the Royal Air Force in Catterick.[1] Meade boxed for the RAF representing the airforce in inter-service competitions and in amateur tournaments. In 1973 he reached the final of the heavyweight division of the Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE) National Championship held at Wembley Arena in London, but lost to Garfield McEwan.[2] The next year, still representing the RAF, Meade again reached the heavyweight final, and on this occasion won, taking the English amateur title.[3] By winning the England amateur title, Meade was afforded the opportunity of representing England in the 1974 Commonwealth games, held in Christchurch, New Zealand. Meade was given a bye through the preliminaries, and then beat Canada's Caroll Morgan on points in the Quarter finals.[4] After beating Samoa's Vai Samu on points in the semi-final, Meade faced Nigerian Fatai Ayinla in the final.[4] Despite Ayinla's greater experience as an amateur, having won the Commonwealth light-heavyweight silver in 1966 and the gold in 1970, Meade took the bout after the referee stopped the contest in Meade's favour, giving him the Commonwealth heavyweight gold medal.[4]

Professional career

1974-1976: Welsh Heavyweight title

In September 1974, a little over seven months after taking the Commonwealth gold, Meade boxed in his first professional bout. His opponent was Tony Mikulski, who came to the fight with a run of seven professional wins. The contest, held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, went the full six rounds, with the referee giving the result to Mikulski.[5] A month later, on 14 October, Meade faced Roger Barlow in an eight round bout in Swansea. Meade stopped Barlow via technical knockout in the third giving him his first professional win.[5] A week later Meade entered a £2000 knock-out competition held at the Grosvenor. Meade faced three opponents that night, beating Harold James by points followed by a first round knockout of Les McGowan before achieving a first round technical knockout over Geoff Hepplestone in the final.[5] Meade ended 1974 with a win over Eddie Fenton at the National Sporting Club in London.

On 17 February 1975, Meade faced Richard Dunn in London and lost via a technical knockout, the first time Meade had been stopped within the distance of a bout at professional level.[5] Later that year Dunn took the British heavyweight title, and then in 1976 lost a WBO World Heavyweight title bout against Muhammad Ali. After the Dunn fight, Meade twice faced London fighter Tony Moore. The first ended in another defeat for Meade, a technical knockout in the sixth; while the second encounter ended in a draw after the fight went the full eight rounds.[5] Meade completed 1975 with five wins, a points win in his third match with Moore and four technical knockouts over Lloyd Walford, Derek Simpkin, John Depledge and Lucien Rodriguez. The contest with Rodriquez, who would become the French and European Heavyweight champion, was held in Paris, Meade's first professional fight outside the United Kingdom.

Meade started 1976 with a defeat, losing to Spanish based boxer Alfredo Evangelista in Madrid on 12 March.[5] Two weeks later Meade challenged for his first notable professional title when a match was arranged between him and Tony Blackburn for the Welsh Heavyweight belt. The ten round bout, held at the Mayfair Suite in Swansea, lasted only until the fourth round when Blackburn was stopped through a technical knockdown.[5] This was followed by a win over Garfield Owen who had beaten Meade in his 1973 ABAE final.

1976-1979: Loss of form

On 11 August 1976 Meade was offered a step towards a British belt with a first round eliminator for the British Heavyweight title. Held at Cardiff in Wales, Meade was stopped in the seventh by Denton Ruddock, denting his chances for a title shot. This was the start of a protracted fall in form for Meade that lasted until 1979, in which he suffered more losses than wins for the first time in his professional career. Meade followed the Ruddock fight this with another loss, suffering a technical knockout in the sixth in an encounter with future European champion John Lewis Gardner.[5] Meade managed to defeat Bjorn Rudi in Oslo, but then lost in Brussels to Jean-Pierre Coopman on the Belgian's way to taking the European Heavyweight title, then Meade was knocked-out for the first time in his professional career, by South African Kallie Knoetze in Johannesburg.[5] In December 1977, while back in Britain, he stopped his run of bad results with a win over American Bruce Grandham, but then lost a the rematch in March 1978. This was followed by two more defeats, both through stoppages, by Paul Sykes in May 1978 and then to Albert Syben in January 1979.[5]

1980-1983: British Heavyweight Champion

Meade, now 30, was in poor shape as a contender for the British title. Since winning the Welsh belt, Meade had fought ten times, losing seven and six of them were stoppages within the distance. In an attempt to change his fortunes as a fighter Meade linked up with trainer Jimmy Bromfield, boxing out of Colin Breen’s gym in Sandfields, Swansea.[6] Meade spent a year away from professional fighting, making his comeback for a defence of his Welsh title against David Pearce in early 1980. The ten round fight, held at Caerphilly, lasted until the second, with Meade winning via a technical knockout.[5] Meade followed this with an identical second round stoppage in another Welsh title defence, this time over Cardiff fighter Winston Allen.[5] His turn in form was rewarded with a first round eliminator to choose the next challenger for the British Heavyweight title. His opponent was Stan Dermott, a London based fighter, and their encounter was held at the Royal Albert Hall in the capital on the 8 December 1980.[5] This time Meade took his chance and stopped Dermott in the fifth round, leaving just one more fight for a shot at the belt.[5] The final eliminator was held in Wales, at Ebbw Vale, and Meade, facing Terry Mintus from Leeds, recorded his fourth straight knockout this time in the third round.[5]

Meade's title challenge for the British Heavyweight title was arranged for 12 October 1981 to be held at the Aston Villa Leisure Centre in Birmingham.[5] His opponent was Northern Ireland boxer Gordon Ferris, who had taken the belt from Billy Aird in March that year. The fight, shown live on British television, lasted less than a round. The contest began slowly, with both boxers trading searching shots at range with little contact made. With just less than thirty seconds to go before the bell Meade connected with a left jab to Ferris left temple; as Ferris recovered and began moving back into position, Meade was already following up with a right hand hook. Meade's hook landed on the left side of Ferris' jaw and Ferris dropped to the canvas. The referee began the count but quickly realised that the prone Ferris would not recover and so ended the fight, making Meade the new British Heavyweight champion.

After winning the title Meade was signed up by boxing promoter Terry Lawless, breaking the Meade-Bromfield partenership.[1] Meade followed up his title victory with an encounter with American Leroy Boone, less than a month later. The ten round fight went the full distance with referee Harry Gibbs giving the decision to Boone.[5] Meade was back on winning form when he knocked out Rick Kellar in February of the next year when the two fought at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.[5] Meade's final fight was his first defence of his British title, fought at St David's Hall in Cardiff on 22 September 1983.[5] His opponent was David Pearce, who Meade had beaten at the start of his comeback in 1980. The match was the last British title fight ever to be held over 15 rounds, as the two fighters had signed contracts before the rule change came in.[5] The contest ended in the ninth, when Meade was stopped by a technical knockout. He never fought professionally again.

Fighting style

Meade was a big-hitting heavyweight which is attested by his knockout ratio of 18 in 20 wins, with only two contests going the full distance, and one of those being a four round contest. Meade's problem was seen as a lack of finese, as in the words of one commentator, he was a "'hit or get hit' type of boxer.[1] Meade disliked training and this showed as he got older, often coming in at over 17 stone.[1] When Bromfield became his manager it was on agreement that Meade would stick to his training and this paid dividenends when the fighter got down to 16 stone and 3 pounds for his title decider with Ferris.[1]

Later life

After boxing Meade found life difficult and became an alcoholic.[6] In 2004, he was living in a hostel for the homeless and wound up in court after assaulting a police officer.[6] His life improved after that and he spent time as a youth worker, but late in 2009 he was diagnosed with cancer and he died at Tŷ Olwen Hospice at Morriston Hospital in Swansea on 13 March 2010.[7]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Moon, Paul (31 March 2010). "Boxing Scene pays tribute to Wales' son, Neville Meade". boxingscene.com. http://www.boxingscene.com/boxingscene-pays-tribute-wales-son-neville-meade--26498. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  2. ^ "1973: 86th ABAE National Championship, Wembley Arena, London". abae.co.uk. http://www.abae.co.uk/aba/index.cfm/boxers/roll-of-honour/elite-abae-championship/1970-1979/1973/. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  3. ^ "1974: 87th ABAE National Championship, Wembley Arena, London". abae.co.uk. http://www.abae.co.uk/aba/index.cfm/boxers/roll-of-honour/elite-abae-championship/1970-1979/1974/. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c "Commonwealth Games - Christchurch, New Zealand - January 24 - February 2, 1974". amateur-boxing.strefa.pl. http://amateur-boxing.strefa.pl/Championships/CommonwealthGames1974.html. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "Neville Meade". boxrec.com. http://boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?human_id=16590&cat=boxer. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c "Ex-boxing champ Neville Meade from Swansea loses final bout". thisissouthwales.co.uk. 17 March 2010. http://www.thisissouthwales.co.uk/Ex-boxing-champ-Neville-Meade-Swansea-loses-final-bout/story-12399654-detail/story.html. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  7. ^ "Champion Neville Meade's legacy lives on in city". thisissouthwales.co.uk. 19 March 2010. http://www.thisissouthwales.co.uk/Champion-Neville-Meade-s-legacy-lives-city/story-12424137-detail/story.html. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 

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