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The following history of the Western Province Boxer Club was written by Barbara Cook, Editor of scraps in June 1998.


Have you ever wondered why so many of our trophies have Cape of Good Hope Boxer Club inscribed on them? It certainly got me scratching in the archives to see whether I could unravel a little bit of the early history of our club.

A fascinating scratch through old dusty files revealed that the beginnings of our dub can be traced back to an informal meeting held by a group of boxer enthusiasts on 24 July 1952 in the Youngsfield government village lounge. At this first get-together, an interim committee was elected to draw up a draft constitution and to make arrangements for an Inaugural General Meeting. The latter meeting was held on 19 August 1952 at the Hotel Cecil in Newlands, with 14 foundation members joining the Western Province Boxer Club (WPBC). Membership in that first year grew rapidly, and by August 1953, the club boasted 55 members.

The club held its first match meeting on 14 February 1953 at the Princes Hotel in Claremont, where none other than Allon Dawson himself judged! For those of you who might not be aware, Allon Dawson was the owner of the world famous Stainburndorf boxer kennels in the UK. Some valuable publicity by the Cape Times ensured a good turnout of over 35 boxers for the great event. It was at this "show" that Mr. Dawson donated a rather valuable solid silver trophy to the club The Stainburndorf or Floating Trophy for the Boxer of the Year.

At about the time of the formation of the Western Province Boxer Club, boxer folk up north were also getting together with a view to forming a club, and so it was that the Boxer Club of Southern Africa was formally launched at a meeting at the Grand National Hotel in Johannesburg on 28 July 1952, thus making this club the oldest boxer specialist club in South Africa. Both clubs became affiliated to KUSA shortly after their formation, and this is reported in the September 1952 issue of the then "South African Kennel Union Gazette".

But I still have not explained the origins of the name "Cape of Good Hope Boxer Club" and for that matter, whatever became of the Boxer Club of Southern Africa. To answer this, I need to tell you about the formation of the Federation of the Boxer Clubs of South Africa (FBCSA) - an event which was to have far reaching implications for the development of the breed in South Africa.
The FBCSA was formed because of a longstanding dispute between the South African Kennel Union (now KUSA) and some members of the boxer fraternity regarding the question of showing boxers with cropped ears. Some breeders had spent large sums of money on imported cropped­ eared dogs from Germany and America, and were thus unhappy that they could not be shown.

Initially three KUSA boxer clubs - the Boxer Club of Southern Africa, the Central South African Boxer Club, and the Northern Boxer Club of Southern Africa broke away from the SA Kennel Union.

These events up north were viewed with great concern by members of the WPBC. At a meeting in November 1960, attended by 16 members, a resolution to approach both the SA Kennel Union and the newly constituted FBCSA with a view to trying to heal the breach was unanimously accepted.

But still some of the members were restless. Another extraordinary general meeting was held on 24 April 1961 - a meeting which was to prove to be very significant. The dog-eared minutes which record the events of that night could not have captured the tension amongst the 26 members present. After a lengthy debate, a vote was taken to decide whether or not the WPBC should break away from the SA Kennel Union and join the FBCSA. The result - 11 votes in favour, 14 against, and 1 abstention. And so it was that the WPBC remained within the SA Kennel Union, albeit without the likes of Don Loon and the Ballantynes who had handed in their resignations straight after the voting.

The formation of a new club followed swiftly with the inauguration of the Cape of Good Hope Boxer Club on 8 May 1961 at the Goodwood Hotel, under the chairmanship of Dr Loon. An initial membership of 43 seemed to auger well for the long term future of this new FBCSA affiliated group of boxer fans, which included the likes of ElIie and Gordon Wilson of Idle Winds boxers, and Angus and Peggy Ballantyne and Dr Don Loon of Sunnybrae boxers. Gordon Wilson closed the meeting with the following words ... "We are gathered here in the presence of all you good people to join together the cropped-eared boxer and the natural-eared boxer in a lasting union. If any of those present know of any good reason why they should not be joined together, he has had his chance to speak and must now forever hold his peace. What we have tonight joined together let no man put asunder."

Dramatic stuff, but this was not to be the case. At first enthusiasm ran high, and a mere four months after its formation, the Cape of Good Hope Boxer Club held its first championship show. Regular articles were a feature of early issues of the FBCSA's Boxer Bulletin, and membership grew steadily, topping the hundred mark by the club's first AGM. However, despite the early success of their championship shows, entries dwindled due to the isolation of this FBCSA club relative to the other clubs, and in 1971, the Cape of Good Hope Club officially disaffiliated itself from the FBCSA, and approached the WPBC regarding amalgamation of the two Cape Town clubs.

It is interesting to note that 1963 saw the formation of the FBCSA affiliated Boland Boxer Club, spearheaded by the Gordons, a sign perhaps that all was not well within the early executive of the Cape of Good Hope Boxer Club. The Boland club was short lived after approximately five years of relative inactivity, it ceased to exist.

It was important following that fateful night in April 1961 to stem the tide, thus the general letter of 3 July 1961 written by the Secretary of the WPBC, and addressed to the members. I quote: "In view of the present rift in the boxer world of southern Africa, it would seem of the utmost importance that those of us who have not broken away from the SA Kennel Union should keep in touch with each other.... the [club] numbers 59 and shows no sign of breaking up... new members continue to join". And so it was, that the club has grown from strength to strength, and now has a strong membership.