British sporting legend Sir Henry Cooper was best known for his two bouts with Muhammad Ali, the first a non-title fight in 1963 when he famously floored the then Cassius Clay, the second for his world title tilt in 1966. Cooper lost both but in the process cemented his place within the hearts of the nation.


Cooper was an archetypal working-class hero, noted as a gracious man who carried himself with dignity at all times. His appeal would transcend boxing into the very fabric of British sporting heritage, culminating with a knighthood in 2000. A great fighter but an outstanding man, Cooper was the epitome of an athlete and a gentleman. Considered by many as the patron saint of modern British heavyweights. 

We are honoured to have welcomed Henry Cooper into the BVB fold, a truly inspirational character and standard bearer for chivalry.



Cooper as the current Amateur Boxing Association (A.B.A) champion represents Britain at light-heavyweight. He loses in the second round to Russian Anatoli Petrov by a dubious split decision, onlookers remark that Cooper has given him a boxing lesson, as does the French judge who awards him the verdict, only for the other two judges, from communist countries, to come down in favour of Petrov.




Aged 18 twin brothers Henry and George (not pictured) join the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) in the late summer of 1952. Henry trains in ammunition boots, a habit that never left him throughout his career. He becomes the light-heavyweight UK Army champion in February. 



Henry returns to defend the ABA light-heavyweight title he won as a civilian in early 1952. His opponent in the final is a tough Australian knockout specialist, Tony Madigan. A hard fought contest ends with a Cooper win on points and a second championship victory.  



In 1954 henry has his first professional fight under the guidance of legendary manager Jim 'The Bishop' Wicks against fellow Briton Harry Painter. He wins with a first round KO. Early promise leads to crisis with four consecutive losses 1956-1957. The most notable being against Ingemar Johannson and his infamous 'Hammer of Thor' ending Cooper's aspirations in the 5th Round of their European Heavyweight title contest. Cooper rallies and showing immense resolution defeats Zora Folley, the 2nd ranked heavyweight in the world, on points in 1958. Rejuvenated he wins the British and Empire heavyweight titles for the first time by beating Brian London in 1959. He would remain British champion for the next 12 years.