Former British, European and Commonwealth heavyweight boxing champion

Born: August 11, 1940;

Died: November 9, 2016

JACK Bodell, who has died aged 76, was a former British, European and Commonwealth heavyweight boxing champion who engaged in memorable battles with Henry Cooper and many other world rated opponents in the 1960s and 70s.

He was one the most effectively awkward southpaw boxers ever produced in Britain. Witness his two-time opponent Henry Cooper's revelation that after each of his jousts with Bodell he was left with bruised shins and sore knees because of the awkward collisions caused by Bodell's untidy attacks. To spectators, it all looked rather shambolic; as for Bodell's opponents, they had to try to figure out his wildly uncoordinated and unpredictable punching patterns.

In addition, despite being at his peak in the Swinging Sixties, the former coalminer and sometime pig farmer gloried in his uncool suits, Army demob-type hairstyle and his raw Derbyshire accent that was the antithesis of 1960s/70s London metropolitan cool.

However, Bodell's down-to-earth, take-it-or-leave-it personality won the admiration of fellow maverick Muhammad Ali, who agreed to open the new fish and chip shop in Coventry in 1973 that Bodell had invested some of his ring earnings in.

Jack Bodell was born in Swadlincote in Derbyshire and started boxing when he was nine years old. By 15, he was down the pits but the National Coal Board ran boxing championships at local and national level that produced many futurero champions between 1948-1970 and although no stylist, Bodell won three NCB light heavyweight titles in his teens. He also won the British ABA light heavyweight crown in 1961 and a bronze medal in the European Amateur championships.

Shorty after those amateur triumphs in 1961, Bodell became a pro, running up a victory sequence that culminated in him winning the Midlands Area heavyweight crown by defeating Ron Seward in his sixth paid bout.

The mocking London press called the unglamorous Bodell ''The Swadlincote Swineherd'' but it was Bodell who emerged victorious.

In 2006 former world rated American heavyweight, the late Freddie Mack, who settled in Lanarkshire, told me in an interview. ''I knocked Bodell out in 1964 in Birmingham, but he was one of the most difficult guys to figure out style wise that I ever encountered. in the ring.''

Bodell certainly proved his skill at the highest British and European levels by the quality of those he defeated. Witness his victory over highly touted Joe Bugner who brutally despatched another British southpaw champion Richard Dunn inside a round but lost to Bodell.

Former British heavyweight kingpin Brian London and tough Welsh heavy Carl Gizzi both lost to Bodell - the latter in 1969 when the Swadlincote man became British champion and Lonsdale Belt holder by beating Gizzi.

Equally, despite losing the title to Henry Cooper by knockout in 1970, Bodell bounced back by outfighting Joe Bugner and relieving him of his British Commonwealth and European crowns in 1972.

However , unlike Bugner, who took both Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier the full distance in bouts, Bodell lacked punch resistance at world level as top American contender, Jerry Quarry demonstrated in 1971 when he blew Bodell away in double quick time in round one of their clash.

Bodell finally lost his titles and Lonsdale Belt to Coventry Irishman, Danny McAlinden in one of the most crazily chaotic of British title clashes ever seen at Birmingham's Villa Park in June 1972.

That memorable 1972 Villa Park pier six brawl was Bodell's swan song and he retired to raise pigs and develop his other business interests while securing his family's future.

Bodell remained popular during his post-boxing career as the fans cherished their memories of the so-called Swadlincote Swineherd' with his guaranteed never-to-be-dull persona and his contempt for trendiness in any shape or form.

He won 58 of his 70 pro bouts and said he never regretted his decision to retire. "I had offers to come back," he said, "but I wasn't going to get any better."

Jack Bodell is survived by his wife, son, and daughter.