Neville has been a member of M.E.B.A. since the early days of its formation, and has also been a loyal and hardworking committee member for many years.
Neville was born on 9th May 1931 in Chorlton on Medlock, which at that time was a rough, tough working class area just near the town centre. Although it was a tough place, it produced some lovely, genuine people, like several of our present day members such as Paddy Buckley, Big Ernie Horton, Stan McKale and Teddy Lillis, and the late Peter King and Tommy McGinty. Nev’s parents, James and Amy, had two more sons, James and Derek, plus a daughter, Joyce, and it was Nev’s brother, Jim, who would eventually change his life completely.
In 1948, when Nev was 17 years old, his brother, Jim, decided to emigrate to Australia, apparently, Jim had married an Australian girl during the war and they wanted to go and settle down there, taking the young Nev with them. When they arrived in Australia, Nev was introduced to his sister in law’s brother, Alby Wayne, a former pro boxer. They often chatted about boxing, and Alby offered to teach him the fundamentals of boxing. Up until then, Nev had never laced a glove on. He was a very enthusiastic pupil, and before long had ten amateur bouts, winning a couple of nice trophies along the way, thanks to Alby. Later Alby introduced Nev to Snowy Robbins, a well known and respected figure in the sport, and in 1950, Nev Turned pro with Snowy as his manager, and he says he took to the sport like a duck takes to water.
Neville won his first four bouts, and then was matched with the very experienced Toby Russell over six rounds. A newspaper report says that Tetlow was ill with flu, and Robbins stopped it after three rounds. Tetlow then rested for a fortnight and had a warm up six rounder with a couple more at Leichardt, then challenged Russell to a return. He gave Russell a boxing lesson and won every round of the eight they fought. After ten bouts, Nev suffered his second defeat against Ron Wilson in Melbourne on points. A report states that Nev showed courage in coming under fire. Both are to be congratulated on their condition and the speed they fought throughout the ten rounds, to make such an exciting fight. Nev then went up to 12 rounds against Stan Sharkey, a report saying that the five and a half pounds weight advantage in Sharkey’s favour proved the deciding factor. Sharkey won on points, many fans booing the refs decision. Tetlow was the aggressor all the way. Nev finished 1951 with a points win over Jim McFadden and a knock out victory over Eddie Barton in four rounds.
He was by now becoming a little homesick, and reluctantly returned back to Manchester, and promptly joined Jack Bates’ stable in Collyhurst, where he remained until he retired. In January 1952 he had two contests, drawing with Tommy Marsden and outpointing Andy Monahan. He then had ten successive six rounders, stopping Al Moore, Benny Peters, Johnny Noble, Vernon Sollas and Ron Perry, out-pointing Johnny Haywood, Tommy Noble and Ron Hillyard, drawing with Billy Ashcroft, and losing just one on a disqualification to Tommy Marsden for an alleged blow. In June 1952 at West Hartlepool, Nev shared top billing with Hogan Bassey when he fought Chic Brogan. Boxing News reported “Hard-hitting Tetlow chalked up another good win when he defeated Chic Brogan of Glasgow, the ref intervening midway through the fourth after Brogan had been heavily on the receiving end”. Nev’s next big test came when he fought the durable Jim Cardew, winning on points and putting Nev on the edge of Britain’s Top Ten bantam-weights. His next bout saw Nev getting beaten by the perpetual motion fighter, Mannie Kid Francis from the Gold Coast in round four. But Nev came straight back by knocking out Eddie Kay, then going to Belfast to stop highly rated George O’Neill in seven.
Neville started 1953 by out-pointing Jackie Briers, then an eight round victory over Peter Kay, which elevated him to No. 6 in the British ratings. His next two bouts were in Belfast when he out-pointed George O’Neill and also the Northern Ireland champion, Bunty Doran. A win over Peter Fay saw Nev beat three Top Ten boxers and one on the fringe within three months. In June he beat Harry Alley in West Hartlepool, but then things started to go wrong. He was beaten by Jimmy Zale on an eye injury, out-pointed by rated Ron Johnson, then went up to featherweight, only to be kayoed in the first round by Teddy Peckham, that was the end of 1953. The following year was almost as bad. Jackie Turpin stopped him, and although he gained victories over Jackie Colpitts, Percy James and Jeff Walters, he was out-pointed by Pat McCarthy and Syd Greb.
The last three contests of his career all ended in defeats. When he was beaten by Don McTaggart, it seemed that he had retired, but back he came the following February to oppose Dave Charnley (who later was to become the British Lightweight Champion 1959-1962 and European Champion 1960-1963), only to be beaten in the second round. Nev then had a break of nearly two years before he took a contest in Belfast against Sammy Cowan in December 1956. Nev was now boxing as a lightweight. The bout lasted less than three rounds. The Boxing News reported that what the contest lacked in skill, it made up for in thrills and excitement.
During Nev’s pro career, he had 50 contests, winning 33 with 3 draws, quite an impressive record. He says, “If I had my time over again, I wouldn’t have changed much, but I would have fought for better money. We had to earn our purses, which bear no comparison with what boxers get today.” Thank you Nev for a very interesting story. We wish you all the very best for the future.
Article written by Eddie Cartwright