Queensland Sport Hall of Fame

Mr Elley Bennett

Elliot "Elley" Bennett was an Australian champion boxer in both the bantamweight and featherweight divisions during a golden era of boxing. He first won the Australian bantamweight title in 1948 and the featherweight title in 1951.

Born in Pialba, Queensland in 1924 he fought more than 50 professional bouts and won more than half of them by knockout. In 1949 at the Sydney Stadium he stood the sporting world on its ear when he sensationally KO'd the visiting African American Cecil Schoonmaker in the sixth round. The wily American was rated No.2 bantamweight in the world and he agreed to come down to fight Bennett while he waited on a promised bout with the titleholder, Mexican Manuel Ortiz, for the world championship.
It seemed a formality that Bennett would soon get a crack at the world title, but the fickle finger of fate thwarted his aspirations when South Africa's Vic Toweel relieved Ortiz of his crown. Under South African law at that time, a contest between a white champion and a coloured challenger could not be sanctioned and Toweel wasn't interested in bringing his newly won title down to Australia to defend it against Bennett.

When he retired in 1954, he was in good health, however at the age of 57, Bennett died of pneumonia in Bundaberg in 1981.

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