As a boxing compere, Micky Cooper once had to deal with a fan jumping out of the crowd to KO a boxer – but with no knockouts allowed, that definitely won’t be happening when he introduces the forthcoming Walsall charity event.
That was the scenario at one of his previous shows, but thankfully it’s never happened at one of the four he’s compered for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust charity Well Wishers. And there are no knockouts at the Well Wishers shows.
“I remember at another charity show I’d introduced one boxer and was just starting to introduce his opponent when I saw his corner waving their hands at me to indicate he’d done a runner!” recalled Micky, 59.
“Before I knew it, someone from the audience volunteered to take his place. In no time, the guy who’d come out of the crowd had knocked the other guy out – then he calmly walked back to his seat and carried on drinking his pint!”
A long-distance lorry driver, Micky was never a boxer himself. He preferred football instead, as a goalkeeper for teams such as Rushall Olympic and Bloxwich.
But he has always been a boxing fan and his son Shaun Cooper certainly got the bug. Now 26, he became the World Boxing Organisation Youth Lightweight champion in 2018 and has a respectable professional record of 13 wins from his 18 fights.
Cooper senior got into compering when the father of a then up-and-coming Walsall fighter called Dan Breeze put on a charity show and he asked Micky to do the introductions. He’s never looked back.
“Everyone said ‘you should be doing this for a living’ and I’ve been doing it for eight or nine years now,” added Micky. “I’ve only ever compered amateur shows and I currently do shows for Martin Gethin’s Wildstar club, HJP Boxing Club and Small Heath Amateur Boxing Club in Birmingham.”
“I enjoy it and with Well Wishers it’s giving something back to a good cause – it’s supporting my local hospital and the children unfortunate enough to be there.
“The Well Wishers event is always well supported and a really good night and I’m sure this year’s show will be too.”
Micky’s connections to Walsall Healthcare are lifelong – he was born at the Manor Hospital, as were all his four children from aged 26 to 38, and all of his seven grandchildren.
“I’ve been treated there for a gall bladder problem and other things and I’ve always had really good care,” he added.
This year’s proceeds will go to Walsall Healthcare’s Paediatric Assessment Unit and Children’s Emergency Department to make the area look less clinical, as well as making the breaking news/family room a more peaceful setting. Toys will also be bought for bays and waiting areas.
Tickets, which are in high demand, are priced at £15 including a buffet, and are on sale by calling 01922 721172 extensions 6643 or 7279, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting the Fundraising Hub in the Main Atrium at Walsall Manor Hospital (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm).
On the night, the doors open at Rushall Labour Club at 7pm and the first bout is at 8.15pm. The address is Liberty House, Lichfield Road, Walsall, WS4 1HB and the dress code is smart.