John Hazel’s talent at boxing brought him to the UK where he carved out a successful career as a professional boxer


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Jamaican-born John Dinsdale Hazel was one of a group of boxers who travelled to England on the MV Empire Windrush after being sponsored by boxing promoter, Mortimer Martin.

John and four other boxers had their photographs taken with Mortimer after arriving at Tilbury Docks and headed straight to Liverpool where Mortimer’s gym was based.

Another photograph features John standing on the deck of the ship to the left of Harold Wilmot and John Richards. It is among the most popular of the Windrush images featured in newspapers and other media since 1948.

John had experienced four bouts as a lightweight in Jamaica but coming to the UK was his chance of making a lucrative career from his talent. He made his British debut at the Drill Hall in Birkenhead in July 1948, a bout he won on points. His final fight took place at Epsom Baths, Surrey, in November 1953.

In total, he fought 64 matches, winning more than half of them. On the one occasion he travelled abroad for a bout, to Bologna in Italy in 1950, he lost to his Italian opponent. He married Alice Fowlis on August 9, 1952 and they had three children. When he retired from boxing he made his home in Liverpool where he died in May 2000 at the age of 73.

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