Professional Boxing back at the Royal Albert Hall, beautifull! It was always the venue British boxers dreamed and aspired to perform at. Where many great names graced many great nights in the splender of the 141 year old building in Kensington Gore, London.
The Dalai Lama, Her Majesty The Queen, Sir Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Sting, Elton John and from a younger generation Adele, Jay Z, Kaiser Chiefs and the Killers have amongst countless others topped the bill at the Hall.
From the boxing world the Greatest Muhammad Ali fought exhibition fights there in 1971 and 1979 in Farewell to London, the Magic of Ali, making his final boxing appearance at the Hall. Henry Cooper fought there four times. The first time on 27 January 1955, and the last on 12 January 1965 against Dick Wipperman. Years later, Prince Naseem fought Juan Polo Perez on 1 July 1995 and Lennox Lewis appeared no fewer that seven times. Frank Bruno fought on 15 occasions and has also taken part in celebrity tennis at the Hall.
The last world championship to be contested at the Royal Albert Hall before a 12 year break was between Marco Antonio Barrera and Paul Lloyd on 3 April 1999. Also on the bill that night was a British heavyweight title fight between Julius Francis and Danny Williams as well as a young Ricky Hatton. Alan Minter, Nigel Benn, Chris Eubanks, Joe Calzaghe are just some of the other greats to have memorable nights there.
Following a 12 year break, boxing returned to the Hall on 7 October 2011 with a contest between the UK Armed Forces and the US Armed Forces in for the ‘The Royal Albert Hall Cup‘ And this weekend after 13 years, professional boxing was welcomed back when former Olympian Billy Joe Saunders and Tony Hill topped Frank Warren’s bill at the famous venue steeped in British boxing tradititon.
It was Warren who promoted the last show at the Hall, local residents had petitioned to have boxing events removed from being held there and had succeeded until Saturday night. Saunders
It’s a fantastic arena to watch boxing in because of the oval seating arrangement.
Everyone has a clear uninterrupted view of the ring and like London’s other famous boxing venue, the York Hall, the crowd are close to the action.
The first championship fight took place in the Albert Hall in March 1920 and the venue got the Royal seal of approval a year later when the Prince of Wales was ringside to watch Peter Herman KO Welsh legend Jimmy Wilde in the 17th round.
Among the greats who have fought there are Frank Bruno, Alan Minter, Joe Calzaghe, Sir Henry Cooper and Naseem Hamed.