Bendigo boxing champion Brian Cahill was yesterday remembered as “one hell of a fighter” and a nice bloke with a good sense of humour, following his passing at the weekend.
Cahill died on Saturday night aged 84.
Originally from North Bendigo, Cahill’s record places him among the greats of Australian boxing.
He won 73 of 77 career bouts, highlighted by a bronze medal at the 1954 Empire Games, now Commonwealth Games, in Canada.
Cahill also claimed four Victorian titles from 1948 to 1953, three as a featherweight and one in the lightweight division.
He once won 19 consecutive bouts as a featherweight, before being beaten for the Australian title in Perth by Tony Fisher.
His only losses came to Fisher and Scotland’s John McClure at the Empire Games, with the other two by technical fouls.
In 2007, Cahill was inducted into the Bendigo Advertiser Sports Star of the Year Hall of Fame, joining his friend and rival – the late Des Duguid.
Kieran McQueenie started boxing with Cahill and Duguid under the guidance of Leo Forrest in 1948 and yesterday remembered his great mate as a knockout boxer and knockabout bloke.
“‘Calo’ was a very nice person, a very good friend and always very generous with his time,” McQueenie said.
“He always helped me, being four years younger he helped me everywhere.
“We used to go on motorbikes tripping when we were teenagers all over Victoria and he was a good sort of person to be with, he had a good sense of humour.
“‘Calo’ from the start was a natural boxer.
“He was an extremely good technical boxer.
“He could have been a very good sprinter. He didn’t have the same dedication for that as he did for boxing.”
Cahill’s athletics achievements are also quite remarkable, with the boxing star once winning every race between 75 yards and 440 yards at a Bendigo championship.
But former opponent John Hare remembers Cahill for his boxing.
“I won the East Gippsland section to go onto Bendigo. I really think I was underdone and I found out I was not in the same league as Brian in those days, he was one hell of a fighter,” Hare said.
“We’ve remained friends ever since. I was just waiting for him to get old enough, so I could challenge him for a rematch.
“It’s the funny thing about boxing. You can belt the daylights out of each other, but you can always remain very good friends.
“He was a good bloke, you could always know him for riding his motorbike.”
Cahill is survived by his two children and two grandchildren.
A Thanksgiving Service for Brian Cahill will be held next Monday from 11am at the William Farmer Memorial Chapel in McCrae Street, Bendigo.