Jack Hassen

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Name: Jack Hassen
Birth Name: Jack Friday
Born: 1925-01-24
Birthplace: Cloncurry, Queensland, Australia
Died: 2002-12-08 (Age:77)
Hometown: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 5′ 10½″   /   179cm
Reach: 72″   /   183cm
Boxing Record: click

Jack Hassen, an Australian lightweight champion, had only 36 professional bouts and compiled a career record of 29 (23)-7 (5).

He was a good trade unionist and a Lightweight Boxing Champion of Australia. Jack Hassen passed away in December 2002.

He was a family man, married to wife Kate for 54 years, a father, grandfather and great grandfather.

Hundreds of Jack's friends (including many wharfies) crowded into the beautiful St. Andrews Church at Malabar to pay their final tributes to this great Australian sportsman.

Jack, born in Cloncurry in Queensland, had many jobs, according to a special full-page article in Sydney's Daily Mirror in February 1986. His first job was a messenger boy for a Cairns chemist.

It did not take Jack long to establish a reputation as a fighter above the ordinary with a lethal right hand punch. His early fighting skills were honed in the tough fights of Sharman's Tents. He then came under the promotion of Tom Nevins who got him nine fights around North Queensland.

Winning them all, six by knockout, Jack moved on to Brisbane where he soon added to his reputation by knocking out well-established fighters Bernie Grant, George Kapeen and Leo Barry.

These fights brought him under the notice of trainer Ern McQuillan and he was on his way to Sydney and the lightweight title.

After knocking out French fighter Andre Famechon, Jack suffered his first defeat when the brilliant Mexican Rudy Cruz outpointed him.

Five weeks later Jack met the Victorian Archie Kemp in a bout for the Australian Lightweight Title that had been vacant since Vic Patrick retired.

Kemp was recognised as a brilliant boxer and for eight rounds he outboxed Jack. However, in the ninth and tenth rounds Jack's heavy punching took its toll. In the eleventh round Jack's lethal punches had Archie Kemp in a hopeless condition and he appealed to Referee Joe Wallis to stop the fight.

Wallis told him to continue fighting. Jack punished Archie with heavy blows and he slipped to the canvass and lay motionless. Archie Kemp died the following morning from a cerebral haemorrhage in St Vincent's Hospital.

After the tragic death of Archie Kemp, Jack was never the same. As one critic said "He fought like a man in a dream". He was knocked out by Freddy Dawson and Joe Brown and outpointed by the Mexican fighter Baby Ortez.

Jack finally lost his lightweight title to Frank Flannery who knocked him out in the 9th round.

He was one of the great Aboriginal fighters, commencing with the first Aboriginal title holder, Jerry Jerome who won the Middleweight Title in 1913 when he was 39 years of age.

Jack joined the Sydney Branch of the Waterside Workers' Federation in November 1963 and retired in July 1984, a period of intense industrial and political activity in the Sydney Branch.

He participated in a number of deputations to Canberra lobbying politicians and fought the good fight for Federation and union policy.

Jack played his part in these vital struggles that ensured a successful outcome for all maritime workers.

In a tribute to Jack, emphasis was placed upon the exploitation of fighters. "Today we should make a plea that exploitation of fighters be eliminated. That all fighters be paid their maximum rewards for their great skill and courage. They do the hard work, the hard yards and take the injuries and the punishment. They should always receive their just rewards."

In Australian sporting history, there have been many great Aboriginal sportsmen and women and there will be many more in the future. Whenever the names of these great sports people are mentioned, Jack Hassen will be known as one of the best.