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Old 12-27-2012, 09:33 PM   #1
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Default Trevor King... Oz Boxing's Greatest Success Story

A man who went from strength to strength and overcame whatever obsticles blocked his way in life. An inspiration to me and a true champion.... he is his story....

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Boxer… Gambler… Minister
By Barbara Martyn, 13th Dec 1967, Womans Weekly
He was a “sharp dresser” in his early thirties, with good looks covered by a healthy tan collected at various race meetings. His manner and movements had a smoothness well suited to his profession… gambling. As he sat in the coffee lounge going over the racing form, the big, brassy sound of a Salvation Army band burst through to him. He wandered outside. A fresh-faced young girl in a black Sally bonnett caught his eye. For amusement, he started winking at her while she stood with the band, trying to make her laugh and “put her off”. He little realised as he stood there that he would be soon joining this army and one day marrying this girl.
You know this story, you say? Its the Damon Runyon one they used for the film “Guys and Dolls”, where the professional gambler falls in love with a Sally and is converted? Well the similarity is striking, but this is a real story of Australian “guy” Trevor King and his wife Judy. The scene described happened a little over four years ago at Parramatta, N.S.W.
Trevor, now Captain King of the Salvation Army, an ordained minister, told the story with frankness and humour as he sat bouncing his six-month-old son, Adam, on his knee in his new Army quarters in Maroubra.
Trevor and Judy (also a captain), who have just taken over the Maroubra parish, had moved moved into their new home behind the Salvation Army Citadel in Boyce Rd only a few days before. They were full of enthusiam for the work they planned for their first parish. As Trevoer fed Adam his orange juice and spoke of his hopes to help young people find the best way to live, it was hard to believe just a few years before this man had been, in his own words, “deeply mixed up with the underworld of Sydney”
“Through my life as a professional gambler, I came in contact with thieves, prostitutes, and even murders,” he said “Shortly after i joined the army, i went to Parramatta Jail with Judy to give service for the inmates. Almost every second man recognised and greeted me.” “What an impression for the girl i hoped to marry! But Judy said ‘It seems you know more people inside jail than outside.’”
Before turning to gambling for a living, Trevor was a professional boxer for 15 years, winning 55 out of 56 fights including the N.S.W Featherweight Championship. As his story unfolded further it became clear that his whole life had been a fight; he had faced many adversities with the same courage he showed in the boxing ring. “Looking back, i can see all my life has been a preparation for my work now, and that it doent matter what happens to a man but how he faces his experiences that counts,” he said.
Trevor spent his childhood in Cessnock NSW. “My father was an alcoholic, and through this, i first came to know the Salvation Army. Many a time they would bring Dad home when he was incapable of making it on his own. I also remember the food and clothing they gave us and little presents at Christmas time.” “This was my only contact with religion as a child, but the memory of their kindness always remained.”
In his early years, Trevor was crippled by rheumatism. At 11 he was told he would never walk again. But through a program of exercises, massage and careful diet he regained the use of his legs. It was from exercising in the gym that Trevor developed a love for boxing. At 15, he won his first professional bout – against a man of 23. “I owed my physical strength to the rigid program of exercises and the special vegetarian diet, which i kept up for the whole of my boxing career,” he said. “ Although i was always a little slow on my feet, i was compensated by being very quick with the hands. In my whole career i was knocked down only once and never knocked out.”
Trevor fought his way through to become Lightweight Champion of the Northern Coalfields. Then he won the state Featherweight Championship and became number one contender for the Australian title. Despite his almost perfect record this title was never to be his. He signed to fight a title bout against champion Elley Bennett in 1954 and also entered contracts to fight the British champion and the world champion in America. Three weeks before the title fight, Trevor was injured in a motor accident. For the second time in his life he was told he would never walk again. H eremembered how exercises had helped him before and was determined not only to walk again, but also fight. This time he was helped and encouraged by the nursing nuns of St Joseph’s Hospital, Auburn, NSW, another example of devoted service firmly impressed on his memory. Through sheer determination, he altered the doctors predictions from complete crippling to walking with a perminant limp, then walking. By 1960 he was back in the ring.
“My exercises included alot of skipping. At first i did fifty skips on my good leg to every one on my bad leg. Slowly i reversed this. Then i started running. After six years i was running five miles every morning. Not bad for a cripple…eh?”
Trevor resumed his fight career in New Zealand, where he beat the New Zealand Lightweight Champion. He returned to Australia for another try at the Autralian Championship. Then he contracted hepatitis. “It took me a year to get over that, then i went went to a sheep station in North Queensland to start training again. There was a second motor accident in which i suffered some head injuries, and i decided to retire.” “Incidently, the one fight in which i was beaten was against Sigi Tennenbaum, an ex European champion, in 1952. This defeat also roused my fighting spirit and made me persevre to become a better fighter. I fought Sigi again later and beat him.”
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:47 PM   #2
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Default Re: Trevor King... Oz Boxing's Greatest Success Story

Part 2

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“My brother introduced me to gambling. Up until my second accident i had never placed a bet, but my fighter. I fought Sigi again later and beat him.”brother had backed my fights and we had shared the winnings.” “With the money from my fights and about $39,000 compensation i was awarded for the car accident, i became a gambler.” “I attended about 14 race meetings a week. I can tell you gambling does not pay. I must have tried every system possible in my four years of gambling, but one thing always lets you down – that unpredictable human element.”
Trevors experiences as a gambler made him a much poorer, but wiser man. “After four years of gambling, nightclubbing and heavy drinking, i became very dis-satisfied with my life and started looking for something better.” “Although i had left school at 11, i had always been a tremendous reader. When i was fighting i always had a book with me to read between training and bouts. I read through every subject – physiology and diet books to help me improve my physical condition for fighting, then i went on to philosophy, psychology and other subjects. I was known in the fight world as ‘The Thinker.’” “I began to try to work out a better way to live, and because of the quiet i used to go into an empty church to meditate. I still had no call toward religion, but i gradually came to believe that we did live in a universe of moral consequence.” “That is good is rewarded by good, and bad by bad. This applies to everything. If you treat your body well with exercise and proper diet, as i had done as a fighter, you feel well. If you abuse it with heavy drinking and wild living, as i had done as a gambler, you feel terrible. I still go for a two mile run every morning before breakfast and when i get back the milk is on the doorstep. I always look at it and remember the nights i would arrive home with the milk rotten. I know which life i prefer.” “The same applies with what you do in life. In my four years of acquaintance with Sydney’s underworld, i never met a happy criminal.” “After i saw Judy that day at Parramatta, i went to a Salvation Army Service, and there i found, as it is said, ‘the way, the truth and the light’” “I volunteered full-time service with the army, two years later, Judy and i were married.”
After four years of study – two at a Salvation Army College – Trevor was ordained. His wife was ordained at the same time and together they will minister the parish. “Judy has always felt the call to service and although she is only 21 she has equal rank with me within the army. We are particularly keen to work with young people and plan to buid a youth centre between the house and the citadel. We hope all the young people in the area will find it a good place to come for sport and social get togethers. I will possibly teach a bit of boxing if the young boys and their parents would like me to. I dont look upon this as encouraging agressiveness – i have never known a good fighter who was a bully.” “But i do believe boys should have the ability to defend themselves against a pack of bullies, and more even important be able to protect their girlfriends or family. Judy plans to form a guitar group. She is a very good guitarist and singer.”
Trevor and Judy agree that their work wont leave them much time for a private life, but its the life thy have chosen and because they are working together their happiness is very evident.
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Old 12-27-2012, 10:05 PM   #3
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Never lost his touch....

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For many, boxing is a violent blood sport, but Trevor King insists it is very much a gentleman’s game.

“Boxers aren’t aggressive. Why would they be?” he said. “They get all their aggression out in the ring. They don’t have to prove anything.”

Nonetheless, the 79-year-old from St Ives once knocked a repo man out cold.

It was 1984 and King was helping a family having trouble making mortgage repayments.

“This fellow was doing it tough and his family was just trying to eat so I started taking over food every week,” King said.

“But while I was putting food in the fridge, these repo guys built like front row forwards turned up, crashing in without even knocking.

“When the wife inadvertently got between her husband and one of the men, he pushed her away, causing her to fall over and when her husband stepped in the repo man threw a punch.”

So did King.

“I gave him a good whack on the chops but he must have had a glass jaw because he was out cold for quite a while,” he said. “But I gave him a cup of tea when he woke up and I told him to be on good behaviour.

“Nobody ever picks me as a boxer and I don’t mind that at all.”

King was one of Australia’s greatest featherweight fighters although he never won a world title nor an Australian crown. But during a 64-fight career he was never knocked out either and suffered only one loss.

While he has faced some of the world’s greatest fighters, some of his greatest battles have been fought closer to home. Polio, hepatitis, car and motorbike accidents have all blighted his career,

“You have to set yourself goals and ambitions otherwise people do it for you,” he said. “If you look at a situation squarely and face up to it, you can nut it out. And you should never, never say ‘can’t’.”

It was that determination which led him to found the Westside Mission drug and alcohol clinic in Ebenezer 25 years ago. Born in Mount View near Cessnock, King was the youngest of 13 children, including 10 half-siblings. At age eight, polio and rheumatic fever crippled him, restricting him to an iron lung for more than a year.

“Both my brother Leo and a few of my half-brothers were boxers and I remember hearing one of them say to the other that Leo was the family’s last chance for a title,” he said. “They had discounted me and I made up my mind then and there that that’s what I would do.”

Despite being unable to walk, when his mother asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he told her a boxer.

“She said ‘No you don’t, you want to be a champion’. That always stayed with me,” King said. “I’ll never forget it.”

Before she died, his mother left instructions that 10-year-old Trevor should be taken to the local gym of boxing trainer Taff Thomas, who had the reputation of having “healing hands” as well as a reputation as a fearsome opponent.

“My brothers used to take me in, put me on Taff’s rubbing table and then go off and have a drink,” he said. “Then one day Taff said to me that if he could find one boy who would do exactly what he wanted, he could make him into a champion. I said I would and I did.”

He learnt to box, first one-handed from a specially-designed tripod stool then, once he reached 15, on the professional circuit.

“It actually worked well because it lulled opponents into a false sense of security when my foot movements were slow,” he said.

He went on to lose only one fight, to Swiss boxer Sigi Tennenbaum in 1952, before defeating Tennenbaum later that year. The following year, he faced champion Aboriginal boxer Elly Bennett in a non-title bout. “He was ranked the hardest puncher in the world but he was a lovely person,” King said.

Bennett was ranked number one in the world and his defeat meant King was offered a world title fight. But two weeks before he was due in the ring, he was hit by a car while on his motorcycle, landing him in St Joseph’s hospital for 11 months. He was told he would never walk again.

“But I’d already been told that, so I ignored them,” he said. When the wound turned gangrenous, doctors told him they wanted to amputate but he refused.

“When they told me that, I said to my brother, ‘go down to Mick Simmonds (sports store) and get me a good pair of boxing boots’,” he said. “He told me I was mad, that they were thinking of taking my leg off, and he came back with rubbish because he said I wouldn’t be wearing them anyway.”

Six years and seven months later, wearing those same boots, King beat New Zealand lightweight Mick Corliss, but the drama wasn’t over. Soon after, a hepatitis diagnosis took him out of the ring for a year, then, just as he was about to travel to England to fight in the Empire Boxing Championships, he was hit by a car while out training.

“I woke up in Bowen hospital and I was convinced I was still in St Joseph’s,” he said. Unable to remember anything from the previous six years, his memory loss was so severe that his friends would visit him with a pregnant girl in tow as a joke to try and convince him the baby was his.

Unable to fight because of the head injuries sustained in the accident, he studied psychology, philosophy and theology, then trained as a minister, first with the Salvation Army and then with the Methodist Church.

In 1972, convinced he was “better off running his own show”, he started the Caring and Sharing Mission in Maroubra.

“Of my seven half-brothers, five were alcoholics and so were my father and brother and most of my uncles and cousins,” he said. “I missed that gene, and for that I’m very fortunate.”

He changed the name to Westside Mission in 1984, moved it to Ebenezer on the Hawkesbury River and has been involved ever since. In 2004 he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for services to people with drug and alcohol dependencies.

“I’m the luckiest man alive,” he said. “My brother once told me that with missing out on a world title, an Empire title and an Australian title, I was the unluckiest man in the world. I said to him ‘How can you say that? I’m alive. You can’t beat that’.”
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Old 12-27-2012, 10:12 PM   #4
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Old 12-27-2012, 10:44 PM   #5
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Default Re: Trevor King... Oz Boxing's Greatest Success Story

King's a hit with hungry

By Miranda Devine
August 4 2002
The Sun-Herald

Nice things happen all over this city every day and more often than not go unnoticed. But Terry O'Riley, 75, a homeless man who who says he sleeps under a bridge at Windsor, rang last week because he didn't want the kind act he witnessed at the McGraths Hill McDonald's to be forgotten.

Like a lot of homeless people, O'Riley says he goes to McDonald's every day because it is safe and warm and you can sit for ages on a cheap cup of coffee. Two weeks ago he saw a hungry man scrounging leftover food from the tables, when another man walked over and gave him the meal he had just bought himself and the jacket off his back. O'Riley recognised the generous benefactor as former Australian featherweight champion Trevor King, and says the boxer didn't have enough cash left to buy himself another hamburger.

"That's just the man he is," said O'Riley, calling from a phone box in Windsor. "I wanted to get on a rooftop and tell everyone about the kindness I saw."

O'Riley, a well-spoken former accountant, has had a lot of sadness in his life, because "drinking and gambling got me - the races and then the poker machines. I had a lovely wife and kids and a lovely home in Elizabeth Bay. But if you keep making the same mistakes people get sick of you eventually".

He has known King, 72, off and on for 40 years, since he was a boxing fan and King was a champion. Now King runs the Westside Mission for alcoholics and drug addicts in Ebenezer, where O'Riley has dried out a couple of times.

Whatever demons O'Riley lives with keep sending him back to drink and the Windsor Bridge remains his only home. But he sees the good in the world with a clarity that people with easier lives often miss.

"It's a beautiful world," he says, without irony.
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:44 AM   #6
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great read !
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Old 12-28-2012, 06:57 PM   #7
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Good boxing story.
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Old 12-28-2012, 07:48 PM   #8
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Default Re: Trevor King... Oz Boxing's Greatest Success Story

A fantastic audio interview with Trevor King done by ABC radio in 2009....

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Old 12-28-2012, 11:12 PM   #9
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Default Re: Trevor King... Oz Boxing's Greatest Success Story

Thats great Bugger, good of you to put up such a great read.
All the very best to you and your family for Xmas and the New Year.
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Old 12-29-2012, 12:04 AM   #10
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Good read thanks mate.
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:54 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by old man View Post
Thats great Bugger, good of you to put up such a great read.
All the very best to you and your family for Xmas and the New Year.

cheers old man, i really appreciate that mate. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your loved ones bud
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:16 AM   #12
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great read ! paper
Yes
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Old 12-30-2012, 01:12 PM   #13
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Default Re: Trevor King... Oz Boxing's Greatest Success Story

Bugger......all i can say/type is a big thank you.


Truly inspiring read......thread title says it all.




Thanks again
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Old 12-30-2012, 08:40 PM   #14
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Top post, Thanks .
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:10 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by HairyHighlander View Post
Bugger......all i can say/type is a big thank you.


Truly inspiring read......thread title says it all.




Thanks again

Thanks HH

We had some very good Bantam and Feather weights during this time, with wins over guys like Ray Coleman and Elley Bennett, King was proving he was a top notch fighter
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