Former Champion boxer Eddie Avoth has hardly let the grass grow under his feet since retiring from the ring in 1972. The British and Commonwealth (‘it was the Empire title back then’, he tells me) Light Heavy Weight Champion has launched and been involved in several successful businesses both in the UK and abroad. Today he utilises his people skills and endless contacts as a business developer for an insurance company and confesses, “It’s a great job; I love it.”
Eddie was only 7 years old when he started boxing and explains, “My Uncle Ozzie worked in the Merchant Navy in the 50’s and was away for years at a time. When he came home he would take me and my brothers shopping and spoil us. One day he bought me a pair of boxing gloves and my Dad told me to get some boots and shorts and join a Club. I went on to win school boy titles then junior titles and Welsh titles. I turned pro at 17 years old with the great Eddie Thomas. Ozzie saw me turn pro and I was knocking at the door for the title but sadly he died just before I won British Light Heavy Weight.”
I have to ask Eddie the obvious question, ‘`doesn’t boxing hurt?’
“No. I was a young kid, it was in me. I never thought about not doing it. We used to fight 15 rounds then, now it’s only 12 and there were only eight divisions between fly and heavy weight. Now there are lots of intermediate weights. I retired at 27, now they fight at 40 plus. It’s all changed.”
Today Eddie is back putting his boxing talent to good use, “I’m training a good kid, Craig Woodruff from Newport. I’ve been looking for 40 years for someone I can pass my experience onto. He’s only 19 years old, 6 ft and a Lightweight. He’s got a lot of ability; if he keeps listening to me he’ll be a champion.”
The big hearted Welshman is also the President of Victoria Park Amateur Boxing Club, the Club he belonged to as an Amateur. “I always do a couple of fundraising events each year to raise some money for the gym and keep the kids off the street. On the 21st April we’ve got a Black Tie Dinner and Boxing Show at the Marriot Hotel in Cardiff, with a couple of celebrity guests including Freddie Forman and maybe the infamous Howard Marks.”
His engaging manner and storytelling skills also make Eddie a popular after dinner speaker, but despite a heavy schedule, he does find time to relax, “I love my garden. I’m outdoors as often as I can be. I used to do it all myself, the grass, weeding, edges, the lot though I was always a bit hit and miss with plants. Now I’m so busy I’ve got a gardener to help but I still enjoy being out in the garden with my partner Sue and Kipper the dog. My father won Best Garden in Cardiff 5 years in a row back in the 80’s so I’ve learnt a bit from him.”
“I remember digging out a privet hedge with my brothers and mates when I was about 12. I fell into a wasps nest and got stung all over. It didn’t put me off though and to be honest I’ve been stung a few times since, but mostly by people and they’re the worst kind of stings!” he laughs.