The Gympie boxer who made history 50 years ago this month
BOXING: Archie "The Gympie Whirlwind” Bradley. Arlene "Angerfist” Blencowe. Stan Daunt. Danny Hawkins. John Muir. Billy Degoumois.
Maybe it's because of Gympie's country-tough, no-nonsense attitude but the Gold City and the wider region has produced some truly spectacular fighters over the years.
And no conversation about our greatest boxers could be had without mentioning Con Russell, the man who became Gympie's second Australian champion almost 50 years ago to the day.
THEN AND NOW
At just 21 years of age, Russell claimed the Australian featherweight belt with a third-round knock-out over Noel Kunde at Festival Hall in Brisbane on July 13, 1969.
The Gympie Times had news of Russell's big win on its June 14 front page, reporting he had joined Bradley in Gympie's most exclusive boxing club after the latter defeated Tommy Uren in Brisbane in 1922 to become Australian welterweight champion.
"Last night Russel (sic) set Kunde up with flashing left leads and finished him off with a beautiful right cross,” the report read.
"Russell was always in command, repeatedly catching his opponent with lethal left leads. He took full advantage of his height and reach to completely unsettle Kunde.
"In the short time he was in the ring the Gympie boy showed himself to be a most accomplished fighter.”
Russell's BoxRec profile lists him as 170cm in his fighting days, recording 12 wins (three by KO), 11 losses (two by KO) and two draws.
He had lost six consecutive fights, one of those by TKO, before he arrested the career slide in the best possible way.
He would lose his next bout to John Batty on points, before being stopped in the eighth round by referee Ken Alexander against Jeff White for the Australian super featherweight title.
Among his other career highlights included a points win over future hall-of-famer, Murgon native Arthur "Bullet” Bradley on August 10, 1968 at Gympie's Liberty Theatre.
The Times reported Gympie mayor Ron Witham sent his best wishes to Russell and his trainer, Doug Treloar, before his title win.
The mayor said he would contact both men on their return to Gympie and give them a "victory celebration”.
Russell was pictured (right) celebrating his win and his belated 21st birthday at Monkland in the June 17 edition.