August 3, 2019
It was a proud – but sad – day for Cherbourg residents when Jeffrey “Mitta” Dynevor was inducted into the Queensland Boxing Hall of Fame.
The ceremony, organised by the Boxing Supporters Association of Queensland, was held during a special lunch at the Showmen’s Club at Yatala.
A busload from Cherbourg – including many of Mitta’s relatives, four young Cherbourg boxers and Mayor Arnold Murray – attended the event on July 21.
Mitta’s nephew and namesake Jeffrey Dynevor told southburnett.com.au it had been a very good day.
“Everyone was happy and sad, too, at the same time,” he said.
“Sad because Uncle Mitta wasn’t there to be a part of it, and happy and proud that he was being acknowledged.”
Mitta (1938-2008) was the first Aboriginal boxer to win a Commonwealth Games gold medal.
In 1962, along with fellow Cherbourg boxers Adrian Blair and Eddie Barney, he competed at the then-British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Perth.
Mitta came home with a gold medal after defeating Ghana’s Samuel Abbey in the final.
The Queensland Boxing Hall of Fame was opened in 2006, and since then boxers and boxing associates have been inducted every year.
Other South Burnett boxers already honoured include Noel “Stumpy” Butwell (inducted 2008), Arthur Cripps (2011) and Arthur “Bullet” Bradley (2015).
Boxing historian Bob Webster said he had been “blown away” by the day.
“There were 230 people in a hall that should really only take about 200!” he said.
“The presentation was very emotive,” he said.
“Young Jeff teared up and he wasn’t the only one. The expression on everyone’s faces of sheer pride and delight was amazing.”
Bob said it was also special because the young Cherbourg boxers – who came down in their club uniforms – had the opportunity to meet and pose for photos with the many former champions who were in the room.
“It was one helluva positive event,” he said. “It was just an amazing day.”
The actual induction ceremony was carried out by Boxing Supporters Association of Queensland president Scott Tweedie after a short talk by “Bullet” Bradley, who shared memories of his gym mate, Mitta.
Mitta’s nephew Jeffrey, niece Rosemary and grandson William were invited on stage to accept the award.
“Uncle was a very respectful gentleman, inside and outside the ring,” Jeffrey said.
“He did not talk much about his boxing career with his family but he would always yarn with other boxers, and he was very happy to share his knowledge and stories.”
Jeffrey said he had mixed emotions.
“When I got the phone call from Bob Webster, I was so excited that I could not wait to tell people of this breakthrough for our deadly uncle hero,” he said.
“We have great sadness in our hearts and minds because Uncle Mitta is not here to witness his induction.
“However, we are very grateful, happy and full of pride that Uncle Mitta has been recognised for his boxing career.
“And we know that Uncle Mitta would be feeling the same.”
Mitta’s eldest grandchild, William Docherty, also spoke.
He said his Pop was born in 1938 in Thargomindah.
Mitta and his siblings were moved to Cherbourg in 1946.
“Pop was one of the outstanding athletes who came out of Cherbourg,” William said.
He thanked the Queensland Boxing Association for inducting his grandfather.
“Pop is an inspiration to all of us.”
As well as Mitta, two other boxers and two boxing associates were inducted into the Hall of Fame during the lunch:
- Gold Coast boxer Gavin Topp, who won the Australian Super Welterweight Title in 2000,
- Brisbane boxer Ronald Doo, who won the Australian Super Welterweight Title in 1990,
- Boxing associates, the Unwin family (the first time a family has been inducted), and
- Former boxer and Australian Olympic and Commonwealth Games team manager Paul Thompson