In Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, life was severe and men were tough from 1946-1970, an era when boxing reigned supreme. Johnny Nemis ran at 4:30 a.m., worked all day in the coal mines, then trained again at night during a career in which he lost just 13 of his 200 fights, and was never KO'd. Gordon "Gramps" Kiley ran three miles before down, worked a full shift in the blast furnace at the steel mill, then trained for hours every evening. This is only a taste of the stories that cna be found in Paul MacDougall's new book, "Distinction Earned: Cape Breton's Boxing Legends 1946-1970."
On the Dec. 19 edition of The Ringside Boxing Show, McDougall tells us about Billy McGrandle, who fought and won the day after burning his eye with acid, Ferdinand "The Bull" Chretian, who had an eyebrow torn off his face aainst Tyrone Gardiner, Yvon Durelle, who lost 43 pounds in one week to make weight, then won his fight, and Gordie MacDougall, who fed his alcoholism by drinking vanilla extract, shaving lotion, perfume, shoe polish, and melted-down 78-rpm phonograph records -- then made a comeback.
Enjoy this unique interview chronicling the hardscrabble life & times of boxers in Cape Breton.