View Full Version : Nel Tarleton

10-03-2011, 01:32 PM
Anybody know much about him?

10-04-2011, 12:34 PM
Anybody know much about him?

My Grandad used to tell me about him. He was a superb boxer but lacked a big punch and won most of his fights by decision. He fought in the early 30s around feather/lightweight and won 3 lonsdale belts. He fought for the title twice against Freddie Miller who was a fantastic fighter. He lost both on points and in the second one was ahead in the 13th when they both fell out of the ring. Tarlton got the worst of it and lost the last two rounds or else he'd have been champ for sure.

Oh and he only had one lung which makes his ring achievements all the more impressive imo.

11-09-2011, 07:13 AM
Thanks for that amazing information.


11-09-2011, 09:49 AM
Quite an incredible man, like Cardinal said he only had one lung from the age of 2 and he shattered his knee cap in a road accident in 1937 but still fought and remained competitive until he was 42 (Won the British and commonwealth titles against Al Philips, 25, when he was 39) when he retired to become a manager and trainer for boxers out of his hometown Liverpool one of which was Ernie Roderick.
Died at 49 of Pleurisy, don't know too much more about him, will look for some more info though.

11-09-2011, 10:02 AM
He had more bouts then listed on Boxrec, all sources I read say he fought until he was 42 yet on Boxrec it says his last bout was against Al Phillips, he was also set to fight Willie Pep on January 28th 1947 in a non title bout but Pep injured his right ankle which caused the fight to be postponed, then came the unfortunate Plane crash which led to Pep's brief retirement and the fight forgotten.

11-09-2011, 10:26 AM
On the 2nd Freddie Miller fight, Miller reportedly won the first 5 rounds, Tarleton the next 4 and Miller the last 6. Tarleton was floored by a body blow in the 1st round and took severe punishment for the first 3 rounds that Americans at ringside were betting at 10 - 1 odds on a knockout happening, Tarleton began mounting a comeback only too be knocked though the ropes in the 13th round and fell across the press table, he was helped back into his corner and the fight carried on, he lasted the distance. A riot occurred afterwards when a crowd of 10,000 invade ringside.

rob snell
11-09-2011, 12:40 PM
Born in Merseyside, Liverpool on the 14th of January 1906 as Nelson Tarleton, later adopting the name young Nel Tarleton, and known as “Nella” to his adoring Liverpool fans.

Nel wasn’t an ordinary fighter, he was tall but very thin, gangly, overall Nel had never weighed over ten stone in his entire career, this was mainly due to only having only one sound lung since the age of 2 when he contracted TB. He was a keen footballer and in his early childhood he used to play out on the tough Merseyside streets just like every other young boy but he soon realised he was not strong enough to compete with the other lads, he was pushed and shoved and lacked obvious strength. He was teased about his weight and his looks only for a school bully to invite him down to the Everton Red Triangle Boxing club. It was there, and at the Gordon Institute, he learned to love the sport of boxing and was picking up prizes as early as twelve years old. He reached the finals of the Liverpool boy’s championships at three different weights; 6 st 5 lb, 7 st 5 lb and 7 st 12 lb. Nel won the two out of the three only being denied the 7 st 12 lb championship because his best friend was fighting in the opposite corner, so he refused to fight.

Although successful as an amateur he did so only with the grudging consent of his parents. He was so wary of the opposition from his family to him turning professional that he slipped away to make his first paid debut, In secret, in Birmingham using the assumed name of Nat Nelson . There was little hint of future ring glory when he was outscored over 10 rounds by Tom “Kid” Fitzpatrick, and worse from a personal point of view for Nel when the following day a report and picture of his debut appeared in the local newspaper.

However Nel managed to convince his parents he could make a go at being a professional fighter and made his local debut at the Liverpool Pudsey Street Stadium at age twenty against George Sankey on the 14th of January 1926, Nel’s 20th birthday, for a scheduled 10 rounder. He won on points displaying the technical ability and boxing skill he had perfected in the gym. It was some 19 years later when , after defeating Al Philips on 23 February 1945, he was to hang up his gloves.

During those years Nel packed in enough fighting in Britain, Australia and America to fill a book. It took 68 contests before he was to have his first title shot – he was to have some 10 British title fights and 2 for the world championship, he fought his great friend Dom Volante on four occasions ( winning three ) and when aged 40 was set to the World Champion Willie Pep and would have but for Pep suffering a broken leg in a plane crash.
Nel gained his first title when he defeated his friend Dom Volante on points in a fifteen rounder at Breck Park on 26 July 1928 for the vacant Northern Area featherweight title in front of a 16,000 crowd.

By 1929 Nel was well established and like many men of his day America beckoned. Nel had eight bouts in just under 12 months, beating Archie Bell, Jackie Cohen, Pinkie Silverberg, Frankie Marchesi and Mickey Greb, drawing with Jimmy Slavin and losing to Al Ridgeway and Joe Scalfaro.

When he returned to Britain he faced Johnny Cuthbert for the British Lonsdale belt in the Liverpool Stadium on 6th November 1930.They fought a long fifteen round fight but the bout was called a draw, eleven fights and eleven wins later for Nel he had the opportunity to take the title away from Cuthbert again and so he did with a display of undeniable skill which fans had no choice but to warm to. The fight took place at Anfield – The Liverpool football club ground- in front of a 22,000 crowd on 1st October 1931. A year later Tommy Watson took the title from him on points.

In 1933 Nel accepted an offer to fight in Australia, beating Jimmy Kelso and drawing with Tim Morgan at Sydney, then losing to Young Klew Edwards at Melbourne. Nel returned to regain his British crown in 1934 by outpointing Watson and later that year he outpointed Dave Crowley at Wembley, to win his first Lonsdale belt outright.

Between the Watson and Crowley bouts Nel made himself a date with the World Featherweight champion, the quick, stocky American who went by the name of Freddie Miller. Miller was a fighter based in Cincinnati he was an easy going, likable character who fooled around in the boxing ring and out of the boxing ring. He famously said to a reporter who asked about his training regime; ôI prefer to have lots little fights, that way I get paid for training. This was a typical remark you would get from Freddie.

The fight took place at Anfield, Liverpool’s football stadium with thousands of screaming fans cheering for Nel but it wasn’t to be. He was knocked down early but he regained his composure only to lose the fifteen rounder on 20th September 1934 . nel always maintained he won despite the points decision going against him. Miller had asked for £2000 for his defence, which seemed beyond the reach of Stadium promoter Johnny Best. Nel however offered to fight for nothing just to get his chance. Over 30,000 fans flocked to Anfield to witness the contest and did so again just nine months later when the return took place at the Stanley Greyhound Track in June 1935.

This was to be one of the biggest fights in Liverpool’s history. Everyone expected Nel to beat Miller this time round because that’s what Nel did, he was never beaten twice, he used to study his opponent and pick out there weaknesses, he had a great knowledge of the sport and he had always put his plan into action with great precision. The fans were soon to realise that maybe Nel has had his day, he was knocked down within the first round. However as always Nel fought his way back, learning through his own errors, he was always one step ahead but he needed two to beat Miller, unfortunately Miller had his number. It was far from clear cut many sat on the fence because it literally was too close to call, the fans were outraged when Miller was announced as the winner and bottles and turf were thrown into the ring. Nel’s push for the big time just wasn’t strong enough but he still had his British title.

Apart from Miller Nel had beaten virtually everyone he had come up against and in may 1936 he put the first notch on a second Lonsdale belt when he Manchester’s Johnny King. Some five weeks later, after celebrating the birth of twins, Nel dropped his title on the 24th of September 1936 when Johnny McCrory, a Scottish fighter came down to Liverpool to take his British Lonsdale belt away from him.

On this day after the fight Nel announced his retirement or so we thought. Nel came back from retirement in 1937 just four months after saying he would retire, he then won two more fights but disaster stuck, Nel had a nasty road incident he shattered his knee cap and was told he never would fight again. Did this stop Nel from boxing again ??? Of course not, he was out of the ring for eighteen months.

He returned with tremendous winning streak that took in Arnold Lagrand, “Nipper” Fred Morris, Josef Preys, Billy Charlton and Spider Kelly.He later won back his British Lonsdale belt from Johnny Cuswick on New Years day 1940 – one of the few British title fights to be held during the war., again over fifteen long fought rounds. He always wanted a second British Lonsdale belt he said one for each of the twins and he secured it five years later against Al Phillips in Manchester on the 23rd of February 1945, Nel was 39 years old, against a much younger opponent who had a fiery reputation. Nel boxed rings round the young Al after an early scare to another fifteen round points win. As you can gather by now this type of result became highly associated with Nel.

He was never seen in a boxing ring again.

Nel showed sheer class throughout his career, he was unorthodox, tall, gangly, thin everything you wouldn’t expect a boxer to be but he showed every one that in a time where boxing was all about displaying heart, aggression and that killer instinct there was room for skill. People forget that boxing is an art and most definitely Nel was an artist. Nel’s sister Lily said at the end of his career there were more marks on his back than on his face this was referring to his style and the way he used the ropes to launch attacks and dictate his opponent.

After boxing Nel was always fighting a battle with his health, he later died just short of his fiftieth birthday in 1956.