Len Johnson ‘Fighter’ – King’s Arms Theatre, Salford

After finding out about Len Johnson at the Working Class Movement Library in the last session, this week we went to see a play about him at the King’s Arms Theatre.
They play covered aspects of Johnson’s life and work as a boxer and political activist.
Because of the colour bar in Britain at the time, Len was never allowed to fight for an official title.

Len Johnson Archive

This week we visited the Working Class Movement Library (WCML) in Salford, to find out about Manchester boxer a political activist, Len Johnson.

Jason Roche, an Historian at MMU, and ex-amateur boxer and boxing coach, also went along to find out more.

The group found a lot of interesting photographs of Johnson, and they also found out more about travelling boxing booths, which Len used to fight in, and which are an important part of boxing history.

We’ll be thinking about how to use some of this information in our films in future sessions.

Exploring Archives+

This week, the boxers visited Archives+ at Manchester Central Library, to find out more about the history of boxing in the region.

They met Heritage Collections Manager, David Govier, and had a behind the scenes tour of where a lot of the material is kept.

The lads looked at old maps of the local area, as well as trying out some of the new technology there, giving access to digitised records.

Beginning of Boxing

By Callum Baker

I started boxing when I was 15 and had my first fight when I was 16. I started boxing because I had nothing to do after school and my cousin had been boxing for a while at Collyhurst and Moston Boxing Club so I decided to join.

Boxing has gave me many skills what I can use in the ring but it has also made me more disciplined. Boxing requires a strict life style which you have to follow, getting up early, eating the right kinds of foods and training. You have to do this everyday when you’re training for a fight so that’s how you become more disciplined through boxing.

Now I have had 7 amateur fights and aiming for many more to reach my goal and turn professional.

Pat Barrett Interview

By Thomas McDonagh

On Wednesday 25th March I went to Collyhurst and Moston boxing gym to interview Pat Barrett about how he got involved in boxing and how he is still involved in boxing after retirement.

Pat started boxing at 17 and went up to Collyhurst and Moston where he was trained by Brian Hughes. After a troubled start in life, Pat turned his life around. He joined Collyhurst and Moston and started training. He turned professional four years later at 21. He won the European title, Light welterweight title and boxed for the world title but narrowly lost on points.

After a good boxing career Pat started to train his own boxers and now he promotes his fighters. He is looking to turn his boxers in to future world champions. When he was boxing professionally, Pat had to travel all around the country to get fights. Now he is a promoter he is putting on his own shows to get fights for hes upcoming boxers.

“I’m not a promoter, I’m a trainer who took out a promoter’s licence to get fights for his kids,” said Pat when asked about his latest venture.

“Listen, we all have to remember why we do this. Nobody owns boxing, we are products of it and of the people who went before us, but none of us are here forever. We’ve got a duty to the game to leave it in a better state than we found it in. We need to bring the love back into the sport.”

After meeting Pat and speaking to him, I have got no doubt he will have a bright future in promoting and will always remain a part of boxing.

Getting going with Stage 2

After completing all of our mini films and feeling very confident about our filming and editing skills, now it’s time to move onto Stage 2 of the Passions project – where we have to investigate a little bit of the history of our passion and interview older people who share the same passion as us. That should be easy… everyone loves Boxing, right?

The lads started by interviewing one of the elder statesmen of the Collyhurst and Moston club, Brian, who has had an over 30 years of involvement with the club.

Finished films, take a look…

The young men have completed their mini-films. They were asked to create a short biopics/mini-film, no more than a minute long that said something about themselves, their passion for boxing and what they think they get out of it. Every aspect of these films they have done themselves, from filming to writing to action and editing; a really impressive achievement in a few short weeks. Here’s a selection: