HE had his first fight in 1933, kept professional boxing alive in Southampton almost singlehandedly for five decades and is still training local boxers at the ripe old age of 91.

Now Jack Bishop has been recognised for his efforts in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

The fighting legend has been awarded the prestigious British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to boxing in Southampton and Portsmouth.

Mr Bishop’s mantelpiece is already bulging with a glittering array of military medals received over his dedicated services to both the Royal Marines and the Army, which saw him serve in the likes of Holland, France, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Italy, Sicily, North Africa and Palestine.

Discipline On top of that the Fareham resident, affectionately known as ‘Mr Boxing’, has also been recognised for his contributions to the sport, with ten championship belts having been won from his modest gym in Captain’s Place, Southampton, and a British Boxing Board of Control Lifetime Service Award to his name as well as the BEM.

A proud Mr Bishop said: “It’s a great honour.

“When I got the letter I had to read it six times because I thought somebody might be pulling my leg.

“I am proud to have fought for my country and collected eight medals but I think this will be the best of them all.”

Mr Bishop has trained championship-winning fighters Jan Magdziarz, Gary Cooper, Steve McCarthy, Paul McCarthy, Danny Ruegg, Colin Kenna, Steve Ede and Sammy Couzens.

But he has also contributed immeasurably to the local community with the countless youngsters that have come in off the streets and benefited from his no-nonsense approach and discipline to life in general.

He is also well-known for one of boxing’s more remarkable moments at Southampton Guildhall when Steve McCarthy’s fight with Tony Wilson was interrupted by Wilson’s mother invading the ring and hitting McCarthy with her shoe.

In the ensuing melee Bishop was stabbed in the arm.

“I just love the sport,” said Mr Bishop when asked to explain his longevity.

“I’ve done boxing pretty much all of my life.

“I had my first fight at Whale Island when I was in the cadets.

“They asked for volunteers and I still don’t know what made me put my hand up that day.

“I have trained champions and have kept kids off the street and that is very satisfying.

“What I really like is that I am still so close to so many of the boxers, even many years after they have retired.

“I have some great memories.”