"Lost" Mexborough boxing legend Harry Crossley is uncovered by Times reader

TIMES reader Enid Tillson brought in a newspaper clipping from 1948, marking the death of Mexborough legend Harry Crossley, at the age of 47. It reads:

"Harry Crossley, former Mexborough miner, who in November 1929 became British Cruiserweight Champion died in Leicester at the age of 44.

Crossley reached the championship challenge grade in five years intensive boxing and concentrated development. He fought in those five years well over 50 bouts.

Crossley began in a modest way in local bouts in Mexborough in July 1924.

Immediately he caught the eye of Mr William Bridge-water and subsequently his development was continuous.

The first man to receive the knockout from Crossley was Billy Marsden, a Leeds man and he got it at Sheffield.

His first really notable setback was the defeat by Clough, the clever Preston boxer, but as solace for this time, a few months later his first appearance at the National Sporting Club and his entry into the national lists of "men to mark".

It was then that the final lap of his championship course really began. First there was a disputed decision after a gruelling battle with Jon O'Kelly at Hull, which many thought Crossley had won, but which the referee ruled a draw. Then the successes over the Frenchman Marmouget and with Harry Foster of Sheffield.

Next came the first visit to Germany and the building up of a reputation there.

Successes over Louis Maurer, another French boxer, and over Harry Robinson of Manchester, with the historic match with Jack Stanley brought to a conclusion a notable year of progress – and so to 1929 ... packed full of incident and boxing history in South Yorkshire.

There were battles with Don Shortland and Eugene Corri, with Jack Stanley and Len Johnson and the bout with Frank Fowler of Leeds which gave Crossley undisputed claim to leadership of the North in the light heavyweight class.

Nor, finally will any of the older hands forget the bout at Doncaster with Gypsy Daniels and the crowning success that led ultimately to the championship bout at Holborn Stadium in which Crossley defeated Frank Moody.

Nearly 20 years earlier Mexborough had welcomed home its first British Boxing Champion "Iron" Hague, who took the heavyweight title by "slaughtering" "Gunner" Moir in one round.

Crosley held the crown until March 1932 when he lost on points to Jack Peterson. Subsequently he met all the leading heavyweights in the country.

He retired from the ring in 1935 and has since been the licensee of the Broadway Hotel, Leicester. During his career he had 92 fights, 64 of which he won.

Crossley, who had previously worked at Manvers Main Colliery had a reserved gentlemanly manner, which made him tremendously popular throughout South Yorkshire and notably in the Mexborough area.

Mrs T Needham of Wath Road, Mexborough, Crossley's sister, with whom he lived before going to Leicester and one other brother are the only surviving members of six Crossley brothers and sisters. He leaves a widow and two daughters aged 10 and eight."