Gympie's boxing legend recalls first-class career in ring

BOXING: Speaking with Gympie boxing legend John Muir (pictured), it is hard to imagine the softly spoken, well-mannered former Queensland champion and one time Commonwealth games contender knocking people out for sport.

But when you look a little closer you see the steady hands and the solid jaw and things start to add up.

He talks about boxing like it is life, and even in a world where kids are sometimes wrapped in cotton wool, he has no hesitation in recommending young men take up the sweet science.

"I never got hurt, I didn't even get a broken nose," he said. "I used to go dancing so I was good on my feet.

"I think it is great for young fellas to learn to box."

Living in Gympie all his life, Muir fell in love with the sport at age 10.

After learning his trade at the Gympie Youth Club, he was Wide Bay feather weight champion four years running, amassing 80 wins from 90 amateur fights and seven wins out of 10 pro bouts.

He faced Australian boxing legend Gary Cowburn for a place in the Aussie Commonwealth Games team in 1958 but was out-classed at Brisbane's Festival Hall. He drew Cowburn after being picked to trial for the games from the Wide Bay circuit.

"He was the Australian feather weight champion and I drew him first night. He was just too experienced. He didn't hurt me but he had 40 fights and I had five."

Muir rates his fight against Cowburn as one of the toughest he has had, but said Arthur "Bullet" Bradley was a formidable opponent.

After the defeat, Muir dropped down a weight class from his preferred feather weight to bantam weight where he claimed the first of his Queensland titles.

Fighting predominately in the regional circuit, Muir competed and overcame some of the toughest bush boxers around all while working for Prongers joinery works and the then Gympie City Council parks and gardens department where he remained for 35 years.

After boxing, he gave back to the sport, training local up-and-comers but said he preferred the dance floor to the boxing ring.

Gympie Times

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