The View from the Ring

Former boxer Mickey Oats speaks about his experiences in the ring

I can’t really describe it really, it just felt so good, you know, because it’s such a small hall, when you’re going down to the ring you had people patting you on the back and that, and cheering you and calling your name and everything – it just felt great.

I used to turn up here, you go in the dressing room, the dressing room was no bigger than this, and there’d have been about a dozen or half a dozen other boxers – not the one you’re gonna box, they’d be in a separate dressing room.

Used to get gloved up: the gloves were like little mittens! They were all threadbare, it’s no wonder I started getting cut-eyes. And as I say, there was things done then that would not be allowed now – such as the betting, the smoking…

Anyway, then you go down for your fight. What made it really nice was when people shouted to you, and called out your name and that made you feel good. And that was it; have your fight go and have your shower, go down and get your money off of Harry Grossmith and then down The Spread Eagle for a beer.

My last fight was against a boy names Freddie Williams, and I’d boxed him a few months earlier and he stopped me on a cut eye… first round. And I knew that I could beat him. Then I got a return with him, but this was at York Hall, and I told everybody if he beats me, I’m jacking it in, regardless of whether he beat me on a cut eye. Anyway, at the weigh-in I saw him and I said “Fred, if you do my eye again, I’m gonna have you on the cobbles outside” and he went “oh, no Mick, I didn’t do it on purpose” and I said “well, if you do it again I’ll have you on the cobbles.”

So anyway, I go out for the first round and bang! Cut eye! First round. I chase him all around the ring – I thought I’ve only got to land one punch on him and he’d go down. Anyway, referee stops the fight and by the time I get to the dressing room, Freddie was half-way to Nuneaton, [laughs] and I’ve never seen him since!

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