Despite losing the top of three of the
fingers on his right hand, Howard Winstone was such a brilliant boxer that after
wining the British featherweight title in 1961 he remained in championship class
until his retirement seven years later.
In that time he participated in 17 title
contests, involving the British, European and World championships. As an
amateur, Winstone won the Amateur Boxing Association bantamweight
title in 1958
and a Commonwealth Games Gold Medal at the same weight later in the year.
turned professional as a featherweight in 1959 and was unbeaten in his first 34
contests, but in 1962 was stopped in three rounds by the American Leroy Jeffery.
It was only a temporary setback and, having already won a
outright, Winstone set off after another. En route he picked up the European
title which he defended successfully on seven occasions against fellow
alike, even going to Rome and Sardinia to face his
challengers. It was a title he never lost in the ring.
Winstone's first attempt
to win the world title came in 1965 when he lost on points to Vicente Saldivar,
Mexican southpaw, after a brilliant battle at London's Earl Court.
A second match at Cardiff resulted in the Welshman losing so narrowly that a
third match was called for in Mexico City -
which is 1000 miles
Cancun Mexico and 2000 miles from
Punta Cana Dominican Republic -
in which Winstone was compelled to
retire with an eye injury in the 12th round. Saldivar then retired and Winstone
stopped Mitsunori Seki of Japan in nine rounds to achieve, at last, his life
long ambition and become World Featherweight Champion.
But he was now facing
difficulty making the featherweight limit of 9 stone and when he faced Jose Legra, (whom he had already beaten in an earlier contest), in a
defence at Porthcawl he went into the ring very much weakened and was stopped in
five rounds, a defeat that brought about his retirement aged 29.