Jimmy Anderson, who died at the age of 79, is in the record books as Britain’s first super featherweight champion (then called Junior Lightweight).
Anderson won the inaugural weight match in February 1968, stopping previously undefeated Jimmy Revey in nine rounds at the Albert Hall. Southpaw’s skilful boxing seems to have taken Revie to prominence early on – but he, like many, simply couldn’t turn Anderson off. (Jimmy’s win gave manager Terry Lawless his first British champion – and Terry had to wait an entire hour to get his second!
Anderson was a formidable player (Terry Lawless told me that working on sanitary pads with him was a “murder”), with 24 of his 27 wins coming close to distance. The record also shows one tie and nine losses – four due to disqualification. Lawless emphasized that Jimmy was not a dirty fighter, but rather careless – one writer described him as throwing punches “like an angry octopus.”
Colin Lake was one of the people to take a disqualifying win over Anderson, as the career champ received his career orders with punches in the kidneys in the sixth round of a no title match at York Hall. That put Colin back in a hurry, the title on the line – but this time Anderson did nothing wrong, coming across a stoppage in the seventh round. After making one truly successful defense – a points win over longtime contender Brian Cartwright – Jimmy became the proud owner of the Lonsdale Belt.
Anderson’s three matches for the British title were held at Albert Hall, where his exciting action-packed style made him a huge favourite. Years later, promoter Mike Barrett told me he had fond memories of him. In fact, all but two of Jimmy’s 37 matches have taken place in London.
The fight that really brought Jimmy into the audience was his feud with Johnny Mantle for the vacant featherweight title in the Southern District at Manor Place Baths, October 1966. There was a good home, although the fight was shown live – both had He won at Wembley the previous month, when former world heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson Code was Britain’s Henry Cooper in four rounds. Anderson stopped veteran Brian Cartwright in five rounds—officially on a badly cut eye, but Cartwright had fallen to the ground in the opening round and simply was unable to contain Anderson’s explosive punch.
Anderson vs Mantle promised to be a ripper — and they were. Like Jimmy Revie, Mantle got off to a good start with better boxing, but he couldn’t handle Anderson’s constant pressure. A big fight ended in favor of Anderson on the seventh.
Anderson became a Southern District Champion, a British Champion – but couldn’t progress further after that. He never got any chance of an international title, although he met two world champions in untitled bouts. Howard Winston and Johnny Vampion beat Jimmy over 10 rounds, without controversy – but Jimmy was satisfied off Winston’s floor hard in the opening, breaking Vamishon’s jaw.
But Jamie was ranked in the top 10 in the world in some quarters, and his team (and his fans) had high hopes for him. But in October 1969, a 10-race player against American Bill Wittenberg ended, disappointingly, in a draw, and Jimmy faded from the scene.
He returned in January 1971, scoring a thrilling second-round KO match over American Bobby Joe Hughes—and the following month he returned to the Albert Hall to meet Southern District Lightweight Champion (and former British title contender) Brian Hudson.
Whether it’s on the ground or poorly cut, this untitled ten round proved to be one of the best British fights of the year. (star referee Harry Gibbs, in a 1974 interview with Boxing News, called it “my most exciting fight”) It finished in sensational fashion, with only a second left in the sixth round – Hudson pulled a perfect left hook to bring down Anderson, and although he He was nine, Gibbs took a good look at the bad wound in his left eye and pointed to the end. It was Jimmy’s last fight.
BBBofC scrapped the lightweight junior division, although they would later bring it back as super featherweight. For a long time, this division looked frustrating – champion after British title champion could lose out in first defence. Jimmy, as noted, won the Lonsdale belt altogether.
But what he will remember most is the excitement he almost always generated. His constant pressing and explosive punching made him a fan favorite. Those of us who are lucky enough to see him, myself included, will never forget him.