RODERICK, Ernie   [1914 - 1986]

Ernie Roderick was an outstanding boxer in an era when Liverpool spawned an abundance of top quality fighters. He lost a world title bout on points just a few months before the start of the Second World War, the hostilities preventing a return contest and effectively ending his hopes of securing this top honour.

He was born in Liverpool on 25th January 1914, the son of dock labourer John Roderick and his wife Margaret. At the time of his birth the family home was 53 Mansfield Street L3 (now demolished) and they would remain there until the 1930’s, later living at 37 Fox Street L3 (demolished)  and 31 Osborne Road L13.

Ernie Roderick’s first professional bout was in 1931 and before long his chosen career took him to the other side of the world when he had a number of fights in Australia in 1933. Whether or not the trip did much for his development seems questionable as when he returned his form took a serious dip in 1934 in which he lost seven times. However, 1935 saw him bounce back in some style with a run of 17 victories and one draw. His first title came in 1939 when he beat the Scot Jake Kilrain to take the British Welterweight crown. (Highlights of the fight can be seen on an old newsreel on YouTube). Soon after he got a crack at the World Welterweight title, taking on the American Henry Armstrong at Harringey, going the full distance to lose on points. (Short highlights can be viewed on YouTube). Talk of a return bout faded as war came and in 1940 Roderick joined the RAF. He continued to defend his title during the war years and in May 1945 he beat Vince Hawkins to claim the British Middleweight title, thus holding titles at two weights simultaneously. In June 1946 a win against Omar Kuidri brought him the European Welterweight title. This represented the pinnacle of his career and he would lose his three titles over the next two years, retiring from the sport in 1950.

On the 26th of August 1939, a matter of days before war would arrive, he married his wife Edna. This cemented a great friendship as she was the sister of his pal and fellow boxer, the great Nel Tarleton. They had three children. Following their marriage Ernie and Edna lived at 3 Mostyn Avenue L10, moving in the 1950’s to 146 Utting Avenue East L11. After his wife’ death in 1963, aged just 49, Ernie Roderick lived at  5 Rocky Lane L6.

Ernie Roderick died after a heart attack in Sefton General Hospital on 5th June 1986 aged 72. Reporting his death the Liverpool Echo paid tribute to a great fighter, commenting that “they did not come any braver …. One of the genuine old-time greats, a man who would fight anyone anywhere”.

31 Osborne Road L13

The Roderick home in the late 1930's.

3 Mostyn Avenue L10

Ernie and Edna Roderick's home after their marriage in 1939..

146 Utting Avenue East L11

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5 Rocky Lane L6

Ernie Roderick's home in the 1960s.

Photo from the Liverpool Echo (Saturday 26th August 1939) of Ernie and Edna's wedding celebration with brother Nel in attendance.

Contemporary cartoon depicting Ernie Roderick and Nel Tarleton.


The Wikipedia entry gives a short outline of his career.