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World Boxing Federation Champions Of The Past: Jeff Malcolm

Posted on July 5 2014                                              Bookmark and Share
By: Clive Baum



Since the World Boxing Federation was originally founded by American Larry Carrier in 1988, many of the sport’s biggest names have won a WBF title, and proudly defended the blue, red and gold belt all over the world.

In the previous six segments of the series we profiled former WBF Champions Johnny Nelson, Greg Haugen, Samson Dutch Boy Gym, Angel Manfredy, Carl Daniels and Ricky Parkey.

While it will be almost impossible to go into too many details on a career that spanned 138 professional fights and almost 31 years, the turn has come to former WBF Intercontinental and World Welterweight Champion Jeff “Flash” Malcolm from Australia.


" - The blokes I fought coming up, even in four rounders, like Wally Carr, Brian Roberts, they were brilliant fighters, if they were around today they'd be unbeatable here. I got a great grounding. Back then, you had to fight who you were told. If you knocked back a fight, they got someone else and you'd be scrapped. Fighters today are feminine, they want to see video's, go through the opponents records, before they accept a fight." - Jeff Malcolm to writer Tony Pritchard in 2007.

Born in Cowra, New South Wales, the amazing story of Jeff Malcolm began on May 9 1956. Growing up in Drummoyne, in the Balmain district of Sydney, Malcolm started boxing at age eleven and got his ring-education the hard way.

He only had seven official amateur bouts, representing Griffith Police Boys, but he also competed in around sixty so-called tent-fights, taking on all comers at various carnivals and fairs, before turning professional as a bantamweight in 1971 at fifteen years of age.

In his first eleven paid outings, Malcolm, a Southpaw, only managed to win two, going 2-3-6 against decent opposition. After that his luck changed, or his skills developed, and he went undefeated in his next seventeen fights, winning fifteen and drawing two, fighting primarily at the South Sydney Rugby League Club and the Blacktown RSL Club in Sydney.

In early 1974, still only seventeen years old, Malcolm stepped up to ten-round level and found it hard to compete successfully against experienced grown men over the longer distance. In one year, now a Lightweight, he went 6-6 and his record dropped to 23-9-8 after forty fights in just three and a half years (!).

Seemingly on his way to a role of journeyman, Malcolm was considered the underdog when he traveled to Newcastle (Australia) to take on Jade Emerald, a German-born boxer who´s real name was Adolf Butkovic, on March 25 1975. With a nice 16-3-3 record, Emerald was expected by many to win, but “The Flash” had other ideas.

Malcolm beat Emerald on points, and only two weeks later he continued his climb in the rankings by pulling off another upset, getting revenge (W10) in a non title-fight against Australian Super Featherweight champion Billy Moeller (26-6-3), who had beaten him in three earlier bouts.

Keeping up the horrid pace, another two weeks later an eighteen year old Jeff Malcom won the vacant New South Wales State Lightweight title by stopping Kim McCain in four rounds on April 22 1975 at the Wests Rugby League Club in Newcastle.

Less than two months on he beat Billy Moeller again (W10), who had captured the Commonwealth title since their last meeting, but wasn’t risking it against Malcolm. It was another big feather in the cap for Malcolm, and the future looked bright, but then he hit another rough patch.

On August 13 of that year, Malcolm was outpointed by Billy Mulholland (13-6-1), and two months later he lost his New South Wales State title to Mulholland in a rematch, also by decision.

A third straight loss followed, this one to Ross Eadie (29-19-6), before a draw with Kim McCain, who he had beaten so easily seven months earlier, closed out the year.

As 1976 began, it looked as if Malcolm was close to journeyman status again. His record stood at 27-12-9, and he had not been able to score a victory in has last four bouts, so he was hardly an obvious choice to become a world champion down the line.

But he managed to turn things around for himself, winning six of seven fights that year, including a rematch-victory (W10) over Mulholland, now 24-6-1 and riding a fourteen fight winning streak, and a ten-round decision over Andy Broome (25-7-4).

Malcolm went 4-1 in 1977, before losing a split decision to former Australian and Commonwealth titlist Hector Thompson (67-7-2) in a bid to capture the vacant Australasian Light Welterweight championship in February 1978.

He rebounded well in March by evening the score against Billy Moeller (32-10-3), winning his third straight against his great rival after losing their first three match-ups. In the spring of 1978, 21-year-old Jeff Malcolm had been a professional boxer for almost seven years, and was already a veteran of the game with sixty-three fights (38-16-9).

Many fighters would be on the down-slide at this point, but for Malcolm the best had yet to come. In April, he scored his biggest win so far in his career, when he got the decision after ten rounds against future world champion Barry Michael (22-3-1) at the Festival Hall in Melbourne.

After capturing several Australian and Commonwealth titles, Michael would go on to win the IBF World Super Featherweight championship in 1985, and make three successful defenses before losing the crown to Rocky Lockridge in 1987.

Beating Michael took Malcolm to another level, and he could now be considered a real, bonafide contender. In his next outing he took (W15) the Australian and Commonwealth Light Welterweight titles from Lawrence Austin (22-6-1), a cousin of the great Lionel Rose, who had lost and recaptured the belts against Malcolm´s old nemesis Hector Thompson.

He defended both belts with another triumph (W15) over Austin in December of 1978, but then surrendered the Commonwealth strap by decision to undefeated Nigerian Obisia Nwankpa (14-0) on away ground in Lagos in March 1979.

Despite having established himself as a top-class operator at the young age of twenty-two, it would be more than twelve years (!) before Malcolm got his first shot at a major world championship.

In 1990-91 he briefly relocated to Hawaii, and scored three victories during his USA stay, including a win over former amateur standout Tim Rabon (12-5-2) for the IBC title. But bigger fights were finally coming his way.

Since losing to Nwankpa in 1979, he went 37-4-1 until WBO World Welterweight Champion Manning Galloway (46-11-1) was lured from America to Australia in September 1991 for a voluntary defense against the now 35-year-old “Flash”, who at the time could boast a remarkable total ledger of 79-21-10.

Unfortunately Galloway, a tricky lefty defending his world championship for the fourth time, had too much for Malcolm to handle, and won a clear unanimous decision at the Jupiters Hotel & Casino in Broadbeach, Queensland.

But, as the record clearly shows, this was not the first setback that Malcolm had experienced, and he had no intentions of giving up on his dream of winning a significant world title, a dream he had so patiently worked very hard for since entering the professional ranks twenty years earlier.

Doing something very unusual for him, Malcolm took all of 1992 off and didn’t fight again until April 1993 where his first step towards another world title challenge came in the form of winning the WBF Intercontinental Welterweight title by stopping Tevita Vakalalabure (10-1) from Fiji in the third round.

He added the South Pacific title to his collection the following July stopping New Zealand´s Alberto MaChong (10-10) in five, but luck would not be on his side when he very controversially lost on a cut to Sovita Tabuarua in Fiji three months later.

Closing in on a shot at the WBF world title before facing Tabuarua, Malcolm protested the result to the WBF and proved with video evidence that the cut was caused by a head-clash. Consequently he was approved to fight Tabuarua in a rematch, with the vacant WBF world title on the line.

On March 19 1994, Malcolm fought Tabuarua (15-5) again, at the National Indoor Stadium in Suva, Fiji, and the massively experienced Australian was focused on making the most of his second chance.

Almost 38 years old, Malcolm fought like a much younger man and put on a spirited and clever performance, winning a clear unanimous decision in front of a packed arena. A living example that a setback is just an opportunity for a comeback, he was now finally a world champion.

A quick title-defense was set up for June 18 1994 against tough Philippines national champion Tata Regatuna (13-4-1) in Brisbane, and the reigning WBF world champion didn’t disappoint his fans, as he impressively stopped the visitor in the third round.

Unfortunately for Malcolm, things didn’t go quite as smooth when he agreed to travel to the Philippines to defend his crown against another local national champion, Light Welterweight ruler William Magahin (15-5-1), who was coming up in weight for the big opportunity.

24-year-old Magahin used his superior speed to unsettle Malcolm, who was knocked down and hurt early in the fight and appeared to be one step behind his challenger throughout most of the bout.

While the old warrior did his best to keep hold of his world title, it was all in vain as Magahin was awarded a clear unanimous decision (116-110, 118-111, 120-113).

Malcolm never got another shot at a world title, but he continued to fight for another seven years. Going 17-2-1 in his last twenty fights, while also acting as trainer for other fighters, he competed at a good level, remained highly world-ranked, and went on to win PABA and WBA Fedelatin titles.

He finally retired in 2002, at the ripe age of 46, after a loss to Fernando Segrado (17-4-1) in the Philippines, proving one last time that, a true road-warrior, he was always willing to fight anyone, anywhere.

The amazing overall professional record of “The Falsh” stands at 100-27-11 (36), and in 2007 he was deservedly inducted into the Australian National Boxing Hall Of Fame. Jeff Malcolm had four children with his first wife Bessie, his son Jeff Jr. also fighting professionally, albeit very briefly.

  Part 6: Ricky Parkey
  Part 5: Carl Daniels
  Part 4: Angel Manfredy
  Part 3: Samson Dutch Boy Gym
  Part 2: Greg Haugen
  Part 1: Johnny Nelson
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