London name calling for sports centre

Blackpool's main sports centre could soon be named after one of the resort's kings of the ring.

Thursday, 19th May 2016, 11:01 am
Updated Thursday, 19th May 2016, 12:02 pm
Brian London prepares for his fight with Muhammad Ali in 1966
Brian London prepares for his fight with Muhammad Ali in 1966

A proposal has been put forward to name the Stanley Park venue after boxing ace Brian London - one of the biggest names in the sport in the 1950s and ‘60s.

London, known as the British Bulldog and The Blackpool Rock, was a British and Commonwealth champion and twice fought for a world title.

In 1959 he challenged Floyd Patterson and in 1966 he took on the legendary Muhammed Ali.

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The idea of renaming the Stanley Park sports centre is the brainchild of Blackpool’s Conservative group leader Coun Tony Williams who believes it is about time London’s adopted home town honours his achievements.

He said: “I have written to the head of democratic services at Blackpool Council to put forward a motion at full council in June that we should honour one of Blackpool’s greatest sports personalities Brian London by re-naming the sports centre at Stanley Park as The Brian London Sports Centre.

“Blackpool has done nothing to recognise the long and illustrious career of Brian who was after all British and Commonwealth Champion and fought for the world title twice having fought some of the greatest boxers of the time along the way.

“I have been fortunate to know Brian for many years although I haven’t seen him for some time.

“We used to both attend boxing nights at various venues where films of some of the greatest fights in history were shown.

“Brian had fought most of the fighters featured and he always told me he believed the best pound for pound fighter in the world was Floyd Patterson.

“Brian is still fit and healthy in his eighties and he has always considered Blackpool his home.

“I think it’s about time Blackpool recognised Brian for the tough no nonsense incredible boxing career he has had.

“The idea was first put to me by a ward resident and it’s a great one.”

Brian London showed his modesty when he told The Gazette the idea would be ‘nice’ but it was up to other people to talk about.

But the move has been given the backing of another Blackpool boxing ace.

Brian Rose, who himself challenged for a World title last year, believes it would help raise the profile of the man and the sport.

He said: “I think it’s a great idea.

“I don’t know many people who don’t know Brian London, because of his achievements.

“He shared the ring with Muhammed Ali, so for me it’s a no brainer.

“I have a lot of respect for him.”

Football star Jimmy Armfield has a stand named after him at Bloomfield Road.