A History of Nottingham’s Boxing Legends

With the launch of Max Kandhola’s photography exhibition The Aura of Boxing approaching, we look back at the history of successful boxers to come from Nottingham.

With the launch of Max Kandhola’s photography exhibition The Aura of Boxing approaching, we look back at the history of successful boxers to come from Nottingham.


William ‘Bendigo’ Thompson


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Born in Sneinton, 1811, William ‘Bendigo’ Thompson was the youngest of 21 children. In 1835 he was the bare-knukle boxing champion of all England, and in 1955 he entered into the Boxing Hall of Fame. He was extremely popular with spectators as he would taunt his opponents through reciting rhymes and pulling distracting faces. Today Bendigo is remembered through ‘The Bendigo’ pub in Sneinton, a tram named after him, a display in Forest Tavern where he supposedly fought, and a plaque in Beeston where he died aged 60.

Dave Needham

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Dave Needham was born in Nottingham, 1951, and he trained at the Nottingham Boxing School in Radford. Needham won two Amateur Boxing Association flyweight titles in 1969 and 1970, and he went on to win a gold medal in 1970 Commonwealth Games. His first title fight took place on 10 December 1974 at the former Nottingham ice rink, where he became the British bantamweight champion.


Herol “Bomber” Graham

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Herol “Bomber” Graham, born in Nottingham 1959, is often acknowledged as one of the best British boxers of the post-war era never to have won a world title. After winning the ABA light-middleweight title, he turned professional in 1978, and moved to Sheffield to pursue his career. In recent years he has attempted the world record for endurance skipping and he has his own business SKIPfit.


Jawaid Khaliq

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Jawaid Khaliq , born 30 July 1970 Reading, is a British former professional boxer. A dual Pakistani national, he became the first British Asian minor boxing world champion, winning the International Boxing Organization welterweight title and defending it for seven constructive bouts before retiring.. During his boxing career he also held the Commonwealth welterweight title, WBF Inter-Continental Light Middleweight Title, Midlands Area light middleweight title and Midlands Area welterweight title. He is the first Kashmiri descent minor world champion boxer. Khaliq set up ‘Jawaid Khaliq Boxing Academy’ in Nottingham which has recently moved to new premises in Radford.

Jason Booth

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Jason Booth was born 1977 in Nottingham. His first taste of boxing was at Radford Boys Club gym at 10 years old. He went on to compete in the flyweight, super flyweight, bantamweight and super bantamweight divisions. He is a former holder of the British and Commonwealth super bantamweight championships. After struggling with drug and alcohol abuse, Booth has recently resumed his career as a professional boxer.


Carl Froch

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The Aura of Boxing, Max Kandhola, 2013

Carl Froch, born 2 July 1977 Nottingham, is a professional boxer who fights as a super middleweight. Recently Froch topped BBC Sport’s top 10 British fighters pound-for-pound. He is the super-middleweight champion in the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation, as well as BBBofC English super-middleweight champion, Commonwealth super-middleweight champion, and BBBofC British super-middleweight champion.

Both Carl Froch and his trainer Robert McCracken feature in The Aura of Boxing exhibition at New Art Exchange.

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