The Gympie Whirlwind enters boxing's hall of fame

THEY certainly don't make them like Archie Bradley any more.

He was dubbed the Gympie Whirlwind and Gympie Tornado, names that tell you all you needed to know about the fighter - lightning fast with enough power to knock you off your feet.

"He was a self-taught boxer, his gym was basically a verandah,” Bob Webster from the Boxing Supporters Association said.

"He worked on a bag filled with the sawdust he swept from the floor of the butcher's he worked in.”

Taking to the ring like a fish to water, Archie quickly proved himself more than capable when he knocked out a boy in Brisbane during a try-out.

His contract was signed the next day.

Already a popular local fighter, his fan base exploded in the 1920s, when he became known for his tenacity.

Take this clipping from The Referee newspaper on March 19, 1924.

"In beating Louis Plees, Archie Bradley showed his characteristic pugnacity, minus rough tactics of other fights in Sydney,” the reports says.

"Both as boxer skilled in the art of defence and as fighter, he eclipsed the pertinacious Belgian.

"He revealed to the crowd a boxer-fighter they will be delighted to see again in opposition to a fitting antagonist.”

Continuing to rise through the ranks, with a huge outpouring of public support at his back, Archie became the Australian welterweight champion.

In fact, he was the first Queenslander to win that title after defeating Tommy Uren in 1924.

Nowhere is that never-give-up spirit more typified than in Archie's hands.

The rickets that plagued and eventually ended his career as a fighter were treated as little more than an annoyance at first.

"He got his contract cancelled because he broke both of his hands in a fight,” Mr Webster said.

"He was then rehired by another trainer who had him build up the strength in his hands by milking cows.”

Many more breaks would follow.

It's taken nearly 50 years since Archie's death for him to be inducted into the Queensland Boxing Hall of Fame, almost fitting for such a tenacious fighter.

Three generations of Archie's descendants were there earlier this month for his induction.

"Archie was a fast, crowd-pleasing fighter who smashed gate records at Brisbane Stadium,” the award reads.

"He fought and defeated world rated opponents, and did his home town of Gympie proud.”

Gympie Times


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