Lumley - by Pete Moscardi
Everyone has a story to tell. Some people are fortunate enough to have a success story with a “happy ever after” ending. Others do not. Doug Lumley, the 56-yearold former South African middleweight and light-heavyweight champion, is one of the fortunate ones. And to listen to him tell his story of a successful boxing career, business career and family life (but not in that order of importance) is an absolute pleasure.
Today the material rewards for Doug’s toils, both in and out of the ring, are plentiful. Looking back on his boxing past, I asked Doug, who ended his career in June 1982 having compiled a record of 23- 4, with 8 wins inside the distance, whether he had any regrets and whether he would do it all again. “Yes, I would do it all again but yes, I do have regrets. If I had the opportunity to do it again, I would’ve done things differently. I had a stamina problem which bugged me throughout my career and, with the knowledge of hind sight, I would today put myself under the care of a stamina specialist.”
Doug’s boxing career started way back when he was just nine-years-old. “I won South African titles at both junior and senior levels and I boxed for St Patrick’s Club in Durban. I won the senior SA middleweight title in 1975 in a tournament in Port Elizabeth.
I turned professional in October 1975, scoring a first round KO over Theunis Pretorius in Durban.” Doug, who had a seven-year career as a professional, was trained by Ernie Baronet and Jack Ford. He was, he says, a full time professional with no other outside activity.
Having notched up 10 wins in a row after turning professional, Doug challenged for the South African middleweight title in August 1977 when he met the wicked punching Elijah “Tap-Tap” Makhatini in Durban. Makhatini was a fearsome foe, but Doug ground out a hard-fought win over 12 rounds.
“I was on a high after beating Tap-Tap but I came crashing down immediately afterwards. My next fight was against Daniel Mapanya who was considered to be one of the hardest punchers pound-forpound around at the time. Disaster struck and I lost on a first round TKO in our fight in Durban in February 1978. I was crazy enough to get right back in the ring with Mapanya three months later and I put my title on the line. I should never have fought that night as I was not in good condition and Daniel stopped me in three.
I should’ve taken a lengthy sabbatical after that and eased back gradually with a “safe” opponent. But I was headstrong and five months later I was fighting Charlie Weir in Johannesburg. Another stoppage loss got put on my record when Charlie TKOd me in two,” he recalls.
The loss to Weir did finally persuade Doug to take time out on his career and he did not fight again until February 1980 when he came back with a points win over Johannes “Champion” Mokone in Durban at light heavyweight. Three more wins followed in 1980 with Doug notching up points victories over Solomon Dladla, again Elijah “Tap-Tap” Makhatini and a fighter from the US, Robert McFarland. “I then decided that making middleweight was proving too much of an arduous labour and so I decided to move up to light-heavyweight. Unfortunately, there was no super-middleweight in those days. Had there been one, I would’ve found my perfect niche,” he said.
Doug then won the South African light heavyweight title. “I was up against Sydney Hoho in Durban and I stopped him on a TKO in 11 to win the title in December 1980.” Three more fights followed with the results being placed in the win column – with all contests defences of his S A light-heavyweight title. Willie Opperman, Themba Buthelezi and Martin Barnard were all defeated in title defences.
“In November 1981 I defended my lightheavyweight title against Piet Crous in Cape Town and lost on points. Crous was no slouch as a fighter and subsequently went on to win a ‘world’ title,” he says.
Doug’s last fight in his long and arduous career was against a former opponent, Johannes Mokone, whom he outpointed for the second time in their fight in Durban in June 1982. “After this fight I sat down and had a hard think about my career and a long discussion with my trainer. I recognized the fact that I no longer possessed the motivation I had earlier on and I decided to call it a day. Boxing is a hard and tough business but, as I have said, I would do it again.”
Doug’s choice of activity on leaving the ring was to become involved in the office equipment industry. “I got involved in the sales side at Nashua and managed to secure one of the Panasonic franchises in Durban. I also got involved with Cannon and I bought up these businesses. In July 1997, I decided to take my family on a ‘looksee’ visit to Australia and I stayed there for two years. It was a good experience, and I like the country, but South Africa is always home.”
On returning to the RSA, Doug got involved in the electrical wholesale industry before later getting back into the copier industry. “I continued to make acquisitions of small businesses and also got involved in the import and rental of electrical accessories.”
Today Doug has established himself as a highly successful businessman with homes in Kloof and Johannesburg’s leafy suburb of Morningside. A happy family man, he is married to Lee and has a 27-year-old son Ryan and a 25-year-old daughter Charde, who both work in his businesses.
Doug is no slouch at getting himself involved in some attractive leisure interests which include a regular round of the golf course and cruising. But these activities have not stopped him from keeping a keen eye on his business interests. Asked if he has any interest today in boxing he gives the question some thought before saying: “I watch it on TV if it is a big fight, but I have no ambition to attend the fights.”
I ask him what he would think of his son boxing if that was what he wanted to do. “My son is well qualified with a business degree and does not need to box. However, I would not discourage him if that is what he wanted to do. My kids have always made their own decisions and I do not get in their way,” he says.