Monday, 24 April 2006

Jimmy Sharman's Boxing Troupe The Last Round, The Australian, April, 2006.

John Stapleton
TREVOR Christian remembers Jimmy Sharman's ``a pound a round'' boxing tent as the catalyst for many aboriginal men's pathway out of poverty, including his own.
Christian, who went on to become Australian junior middle weight champion, was only nine when he first had a go in the famous tent, a feature of country and city shows for most of last century. He is amongst the many colleagues coming out to pay tribute to Jimmy Sharman, who passed away on Monday in Sydney at the age of 94.
``A pound a round'' was Sharman's famous cry as he spruiked outside Jimmy Sharman's Boxing troupe, originally set up by his father. For every round the punters survived in the ring with one of Sharman's boxers, they got paid a pound. The crowds loved it.
Jimmy Sharman died at St Vincent's Hospice in Sydney on Monday at the age of 94.
``He created a lot of opportunities for aboriginal boxers,'' Christian said. ``Sharman was a key for aboriginal people to get out of poverty and get into the world. He would get young men off the missions or aboriginal reserves and take them travelling all around Australia with his boxing tent. Anyone who showed potential, the big trainers in the cities would take them up.''
Amongst those who owed their starts to Sharman were Jack Hassan, former lightweight champion of Australia, Johnny Jarratt, bantam weight champion and Ron Richards, regarded as one of the greatest aboriginal fighters we have ever had.
Arthur Tunstall, Secretary of the NSW Amateur Boxing Association for the past 60 years, said many good boxers came out of Sharman's tent. ``He would challenge anybody in the audience, `right oh young fella, you look pretty fit'. Being country kids they would have a bit of a go. It was always a great attraction in side show alley. He did a great deal to promote boxing before the wowsers in government got in and declared it a dangerous sport.''
Photographer Ernie McQuillan, whose father was a boxing trainer and who knew Sharman well, described him as a charming man who brought a lot of boxers to the fore. ``He helped a lot of people, especially aboriginal boys, he would give them jobs and pay them as well,'' he said. ``I remember him at the Sydney Showground, he would be singing out to the crowd, `a pound a round'. The tent was packed practically every session.''
 Features PX.

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