Billy Woods Boxing Legend

The Guardian sports section made a passing reference to a Dumfries sporting legend I hadn’t previous heard of. Billy Wood was a fighter who ran a boxing booth, a fair ground attraction in which the operator would fight any willing opponent. The winner would win a £1 (back then a decent sized purse). Billy Wood set up his ring at the Durham Miners’ gala (also known as the ‘Big Meet’) in 1919. Opening at 7am and closing at 1am the next night. In those 18 hours he fought 18 colliers, knocking out 15 of them.

Billy became featherweight champion of Scotland and later became a boxing promoter. If you know any more about Billy Woods drop us a line.


8 Responses to “Billy Woods Boxing Legend”

  1. My father (Billy Wood) was born in 1903 in Dumfries Scotland Is farther (Billy Wood) also ran a Boxing Booth in Scotland and is grand father was a bare knuckle fighter in the North on England. known as the cock of the North, my father started boxing on is dads booth at the age of 9 boxing exhibition boxing with a 25 year old small person of the same height, my father had 4 brothers 2 sisters all the boys used to fight on the Booth ( and i think sometime the girls did too) my farther at the age of 16 used to take on all comers, as you know the traveling of the Booths was seasonal so in the winter months my father would fight in the venues in Scotland at 19 he left home and had a Boxing Booth made in Ireland and brought it back to Scotland to travel, he continued to fight many of Scotland’s best Boxers (lots of info on that) he moved to England when he was about 26 and traveled the Booth around the Notts and Derby section he was still Boxing up till he was around 35 then he just ran the Booth until 1971 Nottingham Goose Fair was the last time the Booth was opened. We (me and my brother) gave the Boxing show to the National Faiground Heritage trust, its home now is Dingles Steam Fair, in Lifton Devon.

  2. Perry Day Says:

    i remember billy woods boxing acadamy. at nottingham and ilkeston fairs. i knew mr wood. and he was a walking encyclopaedia. on any thing boxing. a learned and an intellectual
    man . not what you would expect . from such a character as he !
    a true gentleman. great memories thanks..

  3. Billy Moore Says:

    I travelled with billy woods in 1949 or 50 aged 16/17 years prior to doing national service in the RAF.My uncle Rees Moore regularlyboxed in the booth and was a great attraction especially in Luton,where we both came from.I have many memories of my time with Billy Woods. Now I am 80 yrs.old and tend to forget excact dates and places but I boxed in St.Albans, Cambridge,Finedon,Northampton,Nottingham Goose Fair,etc.I have a “flyer”which we used to stick in shop windows that will be over 62yrs. old,also a photo of Billy the booth ring refereeing a bout between Billy Williams of Northampton and Dodo Fitzgerald of Bermuda[may not be his true name]. There is another photo taken at the same time ,of Billy,Jackie Rankin,Dodo,?;;;Johnson,and myself,all stood on the front of the booth.I would dearly like a copy of that photo,if its in the archives somewhere.?

    • eastlondonpostcard Says:

      I recently bought some photos of Billy Woods in action at his booth – trying to put names to faces – check them out here: [url][/url]
      Dodo was Dodo Williams – I believe he is the shorter of the two coloured guys? – and the big guy is Joe Hawthorne?
      Let me know if you recognise anyone.

    • I have some photos of Billy Woods with a line-up of his boxers – Dodo you refer to is Dodo Williams – have a look at them here: – do you know the others

    • Hi Billy i would love to see the photo you have of my dad refereeing, would it be possible to scan it and email it to

      Regards jim

  4. eastlondonpostcard Says:

    I recently bought some photos of Billy Woods in action at his booth with a line up of boxers – check them out here: – Dodo was Dodo Williams – believe he was the shorter of the two coloured guys? – be interested to know the others

  5. rachelle jones Says:

    my papa fought in the boxing booths in dumfries at the rood fair aswell can anyon remember him ? his name was Robert Jones “gary”

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