With a Glaswegian Father and Dubliner for a Mother self-confessed ‘Celt’ Malcolm Melvin has his roots in Birmingham’s Shamrock community. Born on the 5th of February 1967 in Balsall Heath Birmingham Melvin schooled at St Johns primary then Our lady of Lourdes, finally attending the secondary school of Bishop Challoner. He started boxing at the age of 11, taking part in school boy tournaments and finished his professional career at the age of 36. He was introduced to the sport by his brother Robert Melvin who captained the featured St Michael’s school boy team. Albert Halsey (1956 Heavyweight ABA champion) trained st Michael’s at the time and encouraged Malcolm to take on the sport. ‘Boxing between Catholic schools was a big thing back then’ including holding a fundraiser for Cheshire Homes and a paralysed WWII pilot. The sanitized version of the sport taught in schools quickly unravelled itself when Malcolm attended the professional gyms of Paddy and Tommy Lynch, Frank Sullivan and ‘Old Percy’. Malcom remembers smelling the ‘sweat of the ropes’ in the gym and the ‘buzz in the air’ when attending matches in and around the city. Since ‘Old Percy,’ a rocky-esque grizzled up old trainer, welcomed ‘young Melvin’ into the gym with a bucket full of used gum shields, Malcolm has never looked back. 3 rounds off the bat with a seasoned boxer and the ‘battering’ that inevitably ensued did not put him off. The smell of blood and sweat climbed up Malcolm’s nostrils and took its hold. With a swollen nose and banging head Malcolm went back to the gym, and old Percy the next day. Old Percy had told him the night before ‘if you come back tomorrow then you’re a fighter’ and Malcolm didn’t let him down.
Boxing ‘took over’ Malcom’s life, the smell of the gyms, the sounds of the ropes, the noise of the bags going back and forth and the ring of the bell. His first was a loss against a gent named Steve Greene which took place at the Hen and Chickens on the Wolverhampton Road and left Malcolm heart broken. He went on to successive losses but ‘swore his revenge’ upon them! He got it, beating all 3 of them in rematches and paving the way for a successful career in the sport.
Malcom reminded us that when he was fighting matches came thick and fast, Malcolm having 75 in total he believes. Semi finalist at 15 in the NABC’s Malcolm turned professional at 18 finding his home in Kings Heath. A hot bed of boxing his time spent living in Kings Heath and coming up through Birmingham City saw him encounter the Lynch brothers, Frank Sullivan, Pat Benson and train with fighters such as Huey Ford ‘British Featherweight Champion, Costas Petru British Welterweight Champion and the Mc Cracken brothers.
Malcolm’s first fight was under Wally Smiths British and European Welterweight and Middleweight Champion during the 50’s and 60’s and came just a day after he turned professional! It resulted in draw against Steve Foster but if given the chance to train Malcolm felt the result may have been different! Under Wally he suffered 3 or 4 more losses at middleweight and then took an 18 month LOA from the sport at his Majesty’s request. Malcolm lost rather than gained weight on holiday, which fortunately for him left him at 9 stone 7pd and at his natural fighting weight.
At this weight Malcolm trained under Pat Cowdel fighting for both the light welterweight and welterweight British and Commonwealth titles.
He won the Irish title against a lad called ‘Sean Cogan’ and the Midlands Area Title, successfully defending the midlands belt 5 or 5 times.
Malcolm featured in the top 10 British Boxers for 12 years and fought for European, British and Commonwealth titles before retiring at 36. Despite his success Malcolm left the ring regretting a few bad choices he had made outside of it. Malcolm believes his choice of lifestyle impacted upon his success in the ring, that his potential was never realised because of mistakes he made. Avenging his amateur losses and fighting for the British Welterweight title remain his fondest memories of the sport, along with how he made weight for that welterweight title shot. To hear the story of how a man loses 28 pounds in 2 days listen to his audio interview here at FFOH.