Last week, I was lucky enough to spend the afternoon in the presence of a living Liverpool legend, none other than former WBC Light Heavyweight champion John Conteh.
John has just kindly lent us a great collection of objects to go on display in the new Museum of Liverpool when it opens in 2011, and last Thursday we had a press call to announce the presentation.
John took part in interviews for the local press including Granada Reports and also found time for a visit to BBC Radio Merseyside’s studio to go on the Billy Butler show with Museum of Liverpool curator Paul Gallagher.
Conteh, won Middleweight Gold at the British Commonwealth Games in 1970 and went on to win WBC Light Heavyweight crown and successfully defend the title three times, the final time in front of his home crowd at the legendary Liverpool Stadium on 5 March 1977.
Having started boxing at the age of 11 at Kirkby Amateur Boxing Club, he went on to become one of Britain’s most successful boxing champions, retiring in 1980 after 39 Pro fights, 34 wins, one draw and a mere four losses.
His objects are to go on display in the Creative City gallery of the museum which is being curated by Paul Gallagher and his team, devoted to telling the story of Liverpool and its global significance through its geography, history and culture.
Boxing has played an important part in Liverpool’s sporting heritage, and Creative City gallery will include a sporting section with a special exhibition focused on telling the story of the sport. Boxing Clever will display - amongst other objects – John Conteh’s WBC title belt, and the boxing gloves and boots he wore during the successful challenge of the title in October 1974.
He is also loaning the Museum of Liverpool the striking red gown worn for this successful defence and the Lonsdale Trophy which was awarded to him following this win.