‘Oldest boxer’ claim disputed, case presented for the late Saoul Mamby

Saoul Mamby Oldest Boxer

Rod Jacobs

A recent effort by 70-year-old Albert Hughes Jr. has seemingly opened up a can of worms in regards to claiming the ‘Oldest Boxer’ world record.

World Boxing News reported a clash that took place on December 14th at Tyndall Armory in Indianapolis. Pensioner Hughes defeated a pitiful Tramane Towns, 27 years his junior.

Since then, the UK’s Steven Ward, the man who holds the official Guinness World Record for boxing at 60, came forward with details of a protest.

Ward told WBN: “I totally understand why Al has attempted to beat my record, for his son. However, I am unsure if he will meet the GWR set requirements. I have contacted GWR to check.

“Following my last fight in 2017, the GWR officials put measures in place to stop anyone from attempting to beat the record. Just by coming out of retirement and not being active.”

As the GWR request (which WBN matched with an inquiry to the record keepers) is checked, a challenge has been made to Ward’s benchmark.

Saoul Mamby’s manager contacted WBN to inform of the late former WBC title holder’s own stake in holding the title.

Mamby, who died earlier this month at the age of 72, was older than Ward when he last fought. This is according to long-time handler Steve Tannenbaum and BoxRec information.

Pushing 61 when competing in his last bout eleven years ago, Mamby could be the rightful GWR record-holder, as Tannenbaum explained.

“Saoul Mamby broke Jack Johnson’s record as the oldest boxer to ever participate in a sanctioned boxing match,” stated Tannenbaum.

“I mean, what is Steve Ward protesting? According to BoxRec, Ward was 59 when he last fought in December of 2015. Mamby was 60. He was less than three months short of his 61st birthday.

“I guess he can say he’s the oldest professional boxer LIVING now to have ever competed in a sanctioned bout. But, not the oldest to have ever competed in a sanctioned bout. That distinction still rests with Saoul Mamby.”

Steve Ward Albert Hughes oldest boxer

Asked why Ward would be able to put forward his fight to GWR and have it accepted, Tannenbaum added: “Not sure what reference they’re relying on.

“Mamby’s fight in 2008 was reviewed by several boxing historians, including the late Bert Sugar. He edged out Jack Johnson.

“As for Ward, I am only looking at his birthdate on BoxRec and it’s clear Mamby was older when he fought.

“We never officially entered him into the Guinness Book but maybe I’ll do that now as to celebrate Mamby’s legacy with his passing.

“In addition, Ward said he fought Andreas Sidon in Germany in 2017 but BoxRec does not list that fight under either Ward’s or Sidon’s record. It has to make you wonder.

“If the fight ever took place and if so was it a sanctioned bout, fair play to him if it all checks out. But to me, something isn’t kosher here.

“Ward also claims a big winning record in unlicensed fights. I trust that a further investigation by a fact-checker into that claim may also prove inconsistencies.

“These opponents with big upside-down records always make outlandish claims. Remember that British boxer Joe Savage who claimed an unbeaten record as a bare-knuckle fighter. He then got starched by Bert Cooper in one round!”

On filing a protest with the GWR, Tannenbaum concluded: “The Guinness Book staff have it wrong if they serve up Ward as the holder of this achievement.

“Nevertheless, just read the birthdates of Mamby and Ward when they last fought.

“It’s not such a serious matter to me. But Mamby has the rightful claim to this achievement unless of course, Ward did fight in (a properly sanctioned bout in) 2017.

“If you only knew what Mamby has gone through in his career, one robbery after another, you’d understand why he should be recognized.

“Remember in the 1970s? – There were so many shenanigans that went on behind the scenes.

“There was no fight fax to verify a boxer’s record. Boxers also fought under different names. Commissions did less than they do today to maintain some sort of compliance with rules.

“Tank jobs were common in small arenas and should a fighter fight in the hometown of a name fighter in a foreign country he will almost always lose.

Saoul Mamby

“Mamby beat the iconic champion, Antonio Cervantes, in his home turf by all accounts, but they raised Cervantes’ hand. Boxing politics and outright thievery ruled the day.

“But I have special feelings for Mamby. Although he fought a number of main-event televised world championship fights and was promoted by Don King in his prime years, he was a quiet champion. He never sought the limelight.

“Mamby had great respect around the NYC gyms as a fighter’s fighter. He was always in shape with a very kind soft-spoken nature.

“Even when he fought at nearly 61 years of age, fighters around town knew if there’s one guy who could do this it was Mamby.


DURAN

“By the way, his biggest win was in his first title defense when he KO’d the legendary Esteban DeJesus. He was the arch-rival of Roberto Duran. At that time, the only man to have ever defeated the Hands of Stone.

“What people don’t know is that I had discussions with Duran to launch him on a comeback and he told me Mamby gave him one of his toughest fights. That bout was in 1976 when Duran was at his absolute peak. The fight was non televised but I spoke to people in-the-know, boxing guys who were in attendance. And although Duran won, Mamby was a real handful and made it a close contest.

“Even well into his 40’s, Mamby was still an elite fighter defeating highly ranked contenders. The likes of Glenwood Brown, Larry Barnes, Reyes Antonio Cruz, and Gary Hinton.

“One thing is for sure, there will never be another Saoul Mamby.”

Saoul Mamby’s funeral took place on Saturday, December 28th in the Bronx, New York.

Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News and an Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay