Guiness World Record boxing expert to release eleventh book
PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:17 18 January 2019
An author who has achieved heavyweight status as a boxing expert is about to release his eleventh book on the sport.
North Lopham resident Ralph Oates said he had never expected to get his first book published back in 1987.
Yet 32 years later the 70-year-old has been a boxing consultant for the Guinness World Records, written boxing-related questions for the television show Who Dares Wins, and has written for The British Boxing Board of Control Yearbook for 18 years.
As a child Mr Oates won 37 out of 40 bantamweight bouts as a south paw. However his promising boxing career was cut short in his teens due to his short sightedness.
He said: “I did it for about six years. When I stopped boxing I used to read up on everything about it, it was a sort of obsession. When you write a book you hope, but you don’t believe it will actually get published, but it did.”
His new book, A Round of Boxing, is described as a journey through time, looking at the many feats which have taken place inside the square ring, from the first world heavyweight title fight in 1892 between John L. Sullivan and James J. Corbett to the present time.
The former Daily Mail employee, said: “It picks out incidents in boxing over the years. If you follow boxing you can flip through the book quite easily.”
Mr Oates has had numerous opportunities to meet the greats of the sport, including Sir Henry Cooper. I met Henry Cooper in the 1990s he was a most likable man, very down to earth and a credit to boxing. He was the only boxer ever to receive a knighthood. I have also met former world champion and commentator Jim Watt and featherweight champion Gary De Roux.
“When he was still calling himself Cassius Clay, Muhammad Ali came to England for his 18th fight, which was against Henry Cooper. I listened to it on the radio, which shows how long ago it was. Henry Cooper almost knocked him out in the fourth round. If he had knocked him down earlier during the respective round, he would have stopped Ali and changed the course of history.”
Mr Oates is not the only high achiever in the family. His nephew Colin Oates, also from the village of North Lopham, near Diss, has competed in the Olympics and Commonwealth Games in Judo.
A Round of Boxing will be published in early spring this year by Fonthill Media at the price of £16.95.