All things old China - books, anecdotes, stories, podcasts, factoids & ramblings from the author Paul French

Boxing at the Canidrome

Posted: May 31st, 2010 | No Comments »

That perennial boring question asked of ex-pats in China endlessly – what do you miss about home? – is one to be usually be avoided. However, I do miss boxing, something I used to go regularly in London and did since I was a kid. Yet again, I’m born out of my time as boxing is apparently now politically incorrect to many and for whatever reason China doesn’t have much of a boxing culture (imagine the shock of all those cossetting parents watching their single kids coming in through the door after school with a black eye!).

But it used to be different – as shown by the advertising flier for a night of boxing at the Canidrome (now of course sadly bulldozed and gone) in June 1937. And these fighters were no slackers. Andre Shelaeff was a Shanghai born White Russian welterweight (who was based in Harbin where his father was a Russian priest) who won more than he lost and regularly KOed his opponents. He was the Welterweight Champion of China.

He fought at the Canidrome several times in 1937 before leaving China to live in San Francisco where he hoped to further his professional boxing career. However, sadly, fighting George Salvador, a Massachusetts boxer, in December 1938 Shelaeff collapsed after the fight in his dressing room and died later of brain concussion. Afterward Salvador retired from the ring. Shelaeff was just 19 years old. Apologies but I don’t know who Shelaeff’s opponent that night in 1937, Billy Addis, was.


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