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Wyman Mingo left his mark as boxing coach


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Born in East Earltown, Wyman Mingo was the son of the local blacksmith. In recently recalling his youth, Mingo's words were: "I attended a one-room school in East Earltown and when I was five years old my dad gave me a set of boxing gloves. There was a heavyweight boxer by the name of Harold Higgins who lived in the area. He was my idol. My father followed boxing as well and I also took an interest in the sport."

As a 15-year-old in 1948 Mingo went to Ontario for a brief period. After a few months he returned to Nova Scotia then in 1950 he travelled back up country where he got involved in boxing with a small club - the York Street Athletic Club of Hamilton, Ont.

Joining the Canadian Navy in 1951 Mingo would box for a number of navy teams including HMCS Quebec, Cornwallis and Stadacona.

Fighting as a light-heavyweight in 1952 Mingo won his first Atlantic Command Boxing Championship. The five-foot-10, 175 pound East Earltown native was considered an up-and-coming prospect.

It was 1953 that while fighting under the Stadacona colours that Mingo would win the Atlantic Command heavyweight championship.

In the sports page of the April 13, 1953 Halifax Mail-Star, the write-up read: "There were six K-O's during the heavy milling, with Wyman Mingo putting his man Turley out in 35 seconds of the first round to take the heavyweight go with speed and power to spare."

Another highlight for Mingo included boxing in Boston during 1953 in a competition hosted by the American Navy. It was on this occasion that he met and had his picture taken with world heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano.

In looking back on his days as a boxer, Mingo shared: "It was good for me - I enjoyed boxing. After approximately 10 years in the navy I decided to get out and I joined the Truro Police Force."

While a number of local people will recall Wyman Mingo as a Truro police officer and others may remember him working with Hollis Ford, many of our younger generation will recognize this man for the respect he gained as a local boxing coach.

"In 1986 I took over the coaching of the Colchester Amateur Boxing Club. I was there for 12 years," he recalled.

When I asked what memories stand out, Mingo responded: "When you would see a young fellow come into the gym and not really know that much about boxing, to see him progress and go on to win his first match and possibly make it to the provincials - this is what stands out.

"It would make me feel good when kids were doing well. I never ever had an ego but to see some of these young men go on and win a trophy, you were real proud of them."

Incidentally, quite a number of Wyman Mingo's boxing products went on to win provincial championships while several did well in national competition. Names such as Johnny Jordon, who won a gold medal in 1986 in Whitehorse, come to mind.

Tex MacLeod, coached by Mingo as a young boxer, eventually became assistant coach while later taking over as the head coach of the Colchester Amateur Boxing Club.

In 1993, 40 years after he had won the Atlantic Command heavyweight boxing championship, the Truro Sport Heritage Society rightfully honoured Mingo for his coaching contribution.

Asked to recall receiving the 'Coach of the Year' award, Mingo commented: "That award especially meant a lot to me because the mother of one of my young boxers submitted my name. Yes, I really appreciated Audrey Dewar, Tyler Dewar's mother nominating me."

Before leaving the Truro home of Wyman and Joyce Mingo recently, I asked, "would you do it over again Wyman as far as boxing is concerned?"

He smiled and quickly answered.

"I'd do it again in a New York minute. Those were great days working with those young boxers."

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