An interesting Blantyre story appeared in the Motherwell Times on Friday 12th June 1931.
“Particulars have just been received from Mr. James Coffey, Main Street, High Blantyre, of the tragic death of his son, Mr. Bob Coffey, Australia, which followed a knock-out in a fight in which he was engaged with Bill Singleton Leitchhardt, Sydney .on April 2nd.
Before leaving Blantyre for Australia four years ago, young Coffey who was then only sixteen, had figured prominently in boxing circles in Glasgow and Biantyre. Glowing reports of his boxing prowess are contained in the Sydney newspapers, which acclaimed him as the idol of the South Coast boxing enthusiasts, and up to the night his last fight he remained unbeaten, having had eighteen victories to his credit with k.o.’s out nineteen fights.
His last fight was a ten-round bout, and in the ninth round he was beaten on a technical knock-out when the referee stopped the fight. Coffey and his trainer, however, wanted to continue and a doctor proclaimed Coffey fit. When travelling to his home at Thirroul, the next day, Coffey collapeed in a train, and was removed unconscious to hospital, where it was found he was suffering from hemorrhage of the brain. He died that same night. Coffey, on arrival in Australia, found employment on the railways, but for the past two years (1929 and 1930) had made boxing his profession.”
I’ve been looking into this a little more and found that at an inquiry, the referee was commended on having the foresight to stop the fight at the 9th round and it had been the decision of the doctor and of Coffey himself that had led to the later injury. I’m sure that would have been no consolation for the doctor, who would have to live with this, or indeed for Bob Coffey’s family.
Pictured in the same decade, is the very ring at Leitchhardt where that punch was delivered that ultimately would go on to cause Bob’s terminal injury.