World heavyweight boxing champion and the kiwi connections.

This is a tale about World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Gene Tunney and his meetings with two legendary Kiwi boxers. By Barry Leabourn

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The first part is the background and world title fight between Gene Tunney and Gisborne born Tom Heeney. Part two jumps forward to World War Two where Commander Tunney visits New Zealand and meets New Zealand first (and only) Olympic Boxing Gold Medalist Edward Morgan, on the steps of New Zealand Parliament in Wellington. We then look at the boxing people around Ted Morgan - with part three around one of the last visits to New Zealand by Tom Heeney.

The inspiration for the story came from two photographs that came into my hands. A photographic print came from Ted Morgan’s son courtesy of the Boxing New Zealand Executive Officer Deirdre Rodgers. The second photo was of Tom Heeney, with the Southland Boxing team taken at the Gisborne National Championships in 1969, given to me by my very good friend Peter Fluerty. Years later another good friend Bruce Dodge who was at the Gisborne Nationals gifted me the Nationals Tournament program. The story is a small snapshot of boxing through the first seven decades of the 20th Century, looking at some of the life and times of the people around Gene Tunney, Tom Henney and Ted Morgan. Thanks must be extended to the various people and publications that I have used to tell the tale in this Kete. The people and photographers who have contributed to the Wikipedia contributions to the story. Brian O’Brien’s “Kiwis With Gloves On”. Dave Cameron for photos and words The Morgan Family for the photo on the steps of New Zealand Parliament Peter Fluerty for his photo of Tom Heeney at the 1969 New Zealand Championships.

Barry Leabourn
Tauranga New Zealand - 2016

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand License
World heavyweight boxing champion and the kiwi connections. by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand License