Lancaster loses former boxer

Johnny Barton, The Fighting Lumberjack.
Johnny Barton, The Fighting Lumberjack.

Lancaster has lost one of its sporting legends after the death of former professional boxer Johnny Barton at the age of 90.

Johnny, real name was Chippendale, was born in Galgate in 1924 and started his boxing career during the Second World War whilst he was serving in the Royal Navy as a National Commando.

Johnny, who passed away on December 30, leaves behind four children, 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

His boxing career gained momentum after he was released from the navy in 1945.

Known as the ‘Fighting Lumberjack’ Johnny’s two biggest assets were his ability to take a punch. He was never knocked out or stopped, except on cuts, in his 62 fights.

Johnny’s son, John Chippendale said: “He was a bit of a legend around the Lancaster and Preston area.

“When he was boxing he had nickname, ‘cast iron man’ they used to say he wasn’t a boxer he was a brutal man.

“He always said he could never get a title fight because they were frightened to fight him.”

Johnny had done heavy manual jobs and went on to become one of the country’s foremost light heavyweights of the immediate post war era.

During his time in the ring he never boxed for a title.

His power meant he was often avoided by potential 
opponents and when he did get nominated to contest the vacant North Central Area Title illness forced his withdrawal and he never got another opportunity.

His most celebrated win came in 1948 when he beat the future British Heavyweight Champion Don Cockle who was on the floor five times during the fight.

Although injuries slowed him up towards the end of his career he fought his final fight in 1959 at the Morecambe Winter Gardens.

Following his retirement Johnny ran New England Caravan Park, in Carnforth. In his final years Johnny spent his time at Hillcroft Nursing Home, Morecambe.

John said: “We would like to thank the nursing home who looked after him for the past three years.”

Johnny’s funeral will be held at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Carnforth on January 14 at 3.15pm.

Thanks goes to Larry Braysher for the information and picture.