Lancashire

Blackpool urged to name arena after boxer Brian London

Muhammad Ali and Brian London Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Brian London said he was not good enough to win his two world title fights

Councillors in Blackpool are to be asked to rename the the resort's sports arena after one of the town's greatest sportsman.

Tory group leader Tony Williams has tabled a motion to name the Stanley Park Sports Arena the Brian London Arena after the heavyweight boxer.

It comes on the 50th anniversary of his unsuccessful attempt to beat Muhammad Ali in a world title fight.

The motion is to be discussed at the next full council in September.

Mr Williams said Blackpool had done "nothing to recognise" 82-year-old London, who was British and Commonwealth Champion and twice fought for the world title.

'Not good enough'

His call was backed by Kevin Hickey, the coach to the British Olympic boxing team from 1972 to 1988, who said: "I think it is a fantastic idea."

Mr Hickey, former performance director for the British Amateur Boxing Association, said London was widely respected in the town and had done a lot for boxing in the resort and for local charities.

Fifty years ago, in the week after England's World Cup football victory, there were great hopes that the fighter, who had been beaten in a world title fight by Floyd Paterson in 1959, could overcome Ali in a bout at Earl's Court in London on 6 August.

Knocked down in the third round, the boxer nicknamed the Blackpool Rock decided not to resume the fight. As he recalled in a BBC interview in 2008: "I just wasn't good enough."

London, real name Brian Sidney Harper, was born in West Hartlepool and moved to Blackpool when he was 16.

He was encouraged to take up boxing during National Service in the RAF when an officer found out his father was former British and Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion Jack London.