There can be no doubt that Henry Cooper, who dominated the boxing scene for most of his 17-year career, was one of the all time greats. He ranks alongside other boxing heroes such as Tommy Farr,
He did his national service in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (often known as The Boxers' Battalion), and in 1954 became a professional under Jim Wicks, getting off to a flying start by knocking out Harry Painter in the first round of his first fight. Cooper won the British Heavyweight title in 1959 and remained champion for 10 years.
'Our 'Enery' as he was fondly known, became the only heavyweight to win the Lonsdale
Cooper clashed twice with Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay), firstly in 1963 in a non-title fight and in 1966 for a world title. It was on 18 June 1963 that Henry Cooper's left hand sent the young and up-and-coming Cassius Clay flat on his back in round 4, in front of a packed Wembley Stadium. The bell rang before Cooper could complete the knockout. Clay's glove, it seemed, had become torn - many think deliberately by his trainer, Angelo Dundee, to gain extra time for him to recover from Cooper's punch. Clay went on to win, after Cooper was badly cut above his eye.
Henry Cooper was born in London in 1934, and had an identical twin brother, George. The two brothers went to Athelney Road School in Lewisham where they both excelled in sport, especially boxing and football. Henry became a very keen amateur boxer and won his first title (the ABA light-heavyweight championship) when he was 17. He represented Great Britain in the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki and went on to win 73 of his 84 amateur bouts.
Cooper fought Ali again for the World heavyweight title in 1966, at Highbury, the Arsenal Football Stadium. A crowd of 46,000 saw the British champion put up a brave battle before the referee stopped the fight in round 6 with Cooper's left eye again badly cut.
In this photo you can see Sir Henry's famous left fist ('Enry's 'Ammer) that floored Muhammad Ali!!
I met Sir Henry Cooper at the Sportsmania event held at Milton Keynes in May 2008. He signed two photographs for me, and also a Royal Doulton character jug of himself, but I don't think he found it an easy thing to sign!
Cooper's last fight was in 1971, for the British, Europe
Cooper was awarded the OBE in 1969, and in 2000 he received the first knighthood to be awarded to a boxer.
Henry Cooper with wife Albina
British Empire, the European and the Commonwealth titles during his professional career of 55 fights, with 40 wins. Sir Henry's main weapon was his left hook ('Enry's 'Ammer'!) reputed to land with a force of 3 tons!
Belt outright. He also added the
In 2000, Cooper starred in a Department of Health advertising campaign telling pensioners to have a flu vaccination. His famous slogan was, "Don't get knocked out by flu. Get your jab in first."
European and Commonwealth titles against Britain's Joe Bugner. Cooper controversially lost on points and for years afterwards he refused to speak to the fight referee Harry Gibbs.
Since his retirement from boxing he remained in the public eye, making many personal appearances for the various Sports and Children's charities which he actively supported.
Cooper has several books to his name including his autobiography, which appeared in 1972.
popularity enabled him
to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year in both 1967 and 1970.
Henry Cooper with his knighthood
Frank Bruno, Joe Bugner & Lennox Lewis, and is considered by many to be one of the best British heavyweights of all time.
My Doulton character jug of
Sir Henry Cooper
Sir Henry signing one of my photos
Books about Henry Cooper
Sir Henry Cooper appearing on the
Inside Sport interview
Cooper v. Ali (1966)
Cooper v. Ali (Cassius Clay) 1963
Cooper & Bugner before their fight in 1971
Sir Henry Cooper signed this photo for me at Sportsmania
Sir Henry Cooper signed this photo to me
Henry Cooper in training
Henry Cooper wearing his Lonsdale Belt
The Cooper Twins - Henry (left) & George
Sir Henry Cooper (1934 - 2011)
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I met Henry again in Birmingham in April 2009 and got a super photo with him and the Doulton Jug (shown at the foot of this page).
Henry Cooper (holding a Royal Doulton character jug of himself) with Ciaran Brown at the Hilton Metropole Hotel in April 2009
Sir Henry Cooper died on 1st May 2011.
Cooper was married to his Italian wife Albina for 48 years until her death in June, 2008. They had two sons Henry Marco (b.1960) & John Pietro (b.1968).
He lived at Hildenborough in Kent, and was chairman of the town's golf club.