Jimmy Sharman passes away RIP


Jimmy Sharman passes away RIP

Boxing Legend of many generations passes away 24th. April 2006

Young Victor remembers his mates tempting him to have a go at Jimmy Sharman's tent boxing shows whom were mainly aboriginal boys that looked mean and hungry at the Royal Melbourne Show but very rough around the edges.

Young Victor remembers that Australian Champion George Bracken's career started at Sharman's tents, he later progressed to professional boxing and went as far as contender for the British Empire Lightweight title.

George peaked his career in boxing when he beat Johnny Van Rensburg Aug 1959 after he had lost the British Empire  Welterweight title to Aussie George Barnes in 1958.

From ABC http://www.abc.net.au/victoria/stories/s1624334.htm?backyard

Sharman's stadium

Reporter: Irene Scott (online)

We remember travelling boxing legend Jimmy Sharman who died on Monday aged 94.

Born in Narrandera, the son of the famous boxer Jim Sharman, Jimmy took to the ring at a young age. Travelling with the touring stadium he was a regular at country shows from Cairns to Mt Gambia with the well known cry "Roll up, Roll Up, who'll take a glove?" and "A round or two for a pound or two".

Midnight Oil recognised cemented the troop’s fame in history with the song, 'Jimmy Sharman's Boxers' on their 1984 album 'Red Sails in the Sunset'.

Before his life in the ring, Jimmy turned his hand to rugby. As a fullback he played seven seasons (1934-40) for the Magpies and before he died he was granted a lifelong membership to the club as the oldest premiership player in Australia.

The residential rule applied and he was required to front the formidable NSWRL secretary, Harold Mathews.

Mathews: "State your full name." Answer: "James Michael Sharman."

Mathews: "Where do you live?" Answer: "I don't know."

Mathews: "Where does your father live?" Answer: "He doesn't live anywhere."

Mathews: "And your mother?" Answer: "She lives with my father."

Considering his parents lived in a caravan, his seemingly cheeky answers were entirely correct.

Arthur Tunstall, secretary of the NSW Amateur Boxing Association and boxing legend in his own right, helps us to remember the legend of Sharman's travelling boxing troop.

Sharman's boxers travelled the country daring local men to jump in the ring with one of the troop.

“A lot of the boxers were Aboriginal, it was an easy way of earning money, and they were travelling around and they loved to travel.” Arthur says.

Those that fought with his travelling troop worked hard. With six decades of tours and fights 11 months of the year 'Boss Sharman' made sure his men could go the distance.

“The boxers he had were able to handle themselves, they were really professional boxers as we would call them today. And he would sing out and you’d get a group of young boys from the country that might have had a couple of drinks with their mates saying “Go on Fred, you’re pretty good with your fists, get up and have a go.”

We lost a great friend with his passing. He was a great gentleman  

“And so he’d get up, thinking he could handle himself, and if he could Jimmy Sharman’s boys always new how to handle these fellows because they had a lot more experience than the young contenders.”

“But Jimmy made sure that no one ever got hurt.”

“And of course the big talk amongst his mates when he got back to his country town was ‘Hey Christ, you got in with the blokes from Jimmy Sharman!’ – You were talk of the town.”

Jimmy took over the travelling troop from his father in 1955, a year before his father died. In his own words, it was "A bloody good business and a bloody good life".

Anywhere where there was a country show, you would find Jimmy Sharman's troup there  

Jimmy stopped touring his boxers in 1971. With a son of his own (Also named James, another theatrical entrepreneur who directed commercial blockbusters such as Jesus Christ Superstar and The Rocky Horror Show) and the restrictions surrounding boxing getting stricter, it was time for a new life.

“They thought I was a bit dangerous for fellas to be getting up without any experience, and you had the situation where the NSW government said they weren’t going to allow any more travelling boxing shows in NSW.”

Jimmie bought into a Dodgem cars partnership with his best Reg Grundy. A simpler life, but still with the excitement of the showground. He spent the remaining years of his life as a Rugby fanatic and never missed a Wests reunion.

His wife Christina, died on Melbourne Cup night in 2003 after 65 years of marriage.

James Michael Sharman died at St Vincent's Hospice on Monday, aged 94.


Close this Window