Imagine having been around boxing so long that you have seen and done it all. From being the MC for the first all British world heavyweight title fight to being ringside on some of those dreadful nights in the sport, Mike Goodall is a man that has experienced so many highs and lows, with many tales to tell it is only fitting that his stories are told. Aptly dubbed "The Lord Of The Rings" Goodall started with just the one ring within his business, but it was one ring that would go on to rule them all.
The sport of boxing has always been a prominent feature in Mike's life and it all began at just the age of four when he experienced it for the very first time.
"The first experience of boxing I had was when I was four, getting out of bed at 1 am to listen to Rocky Marciano vs Don Cockell on the radio with my dad who was a massive fan of the sport so he would always tune in when a big fight was on, and I remember us sat there in our dressing gowns listening to the fight on the radio, and that was it for me I was hooked from there on in"
During the 1950s & 60s, boxing was a part of the school curriculum in the UK, and all boys up until they left school was made to partake in the sport, which as the time educational institutes believe it was a great way to build discipline from a young age.
"When I was at school we were made to box as a punishment, and I had around fifteen bouts, this is where I learned from a very young age that it bloody hurts. Although I knew it was a tough sport I enjoyed it.
Then you move on in life and get a job, get married, but the interest is always there, and it was around the time Muhammad Ali came along it ignited my love of the sport. I remember we used to go and watch him on the closed-circuit in Birmingham. From there I went into business on my own and then a mate of mine used to get tickets to go to the dinner shows which I started going to with him and it was at that point we decided to put on a few shows of our own"
Over the years Mike has been known mainly recognised for his time as a master of ceremonies at many big boxing events, but he is also known for the work his company (Ringcraft Boxing Facilities) produces which is to travel up and down the country every week constructing and preparing the rings from the small hall shows up to the box office events.
"I became an MC because at the first dinner show we promoted in 1979 we were going to pay an MC to do the show, and I thought why are we paying him when I could do this so I went and got an MC's license and that was it from there on out. We then went on to buy our ring for the shows which then led to Frank Warren asking us to hire it out for one of his events in 1988 and from there it just seemed to skyrocket, and I suppose if you provide a good service people are always going to come back to use you again, which is exactly what happened with the business"
Having been the MC for Frank Warren during the late 1980s and 90s there have been many memorable fights that have taken place during this time but there are two that stick out for Mike - Prince Naseem Hamed vs Steve Robinson in 1995 when 'Naz' went to Wales and dethroned the then champion at just the age of twenty-one to become the WBO featherweight champion and the second was in 1993 when Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno contested the world heavyweight title which was the first time in history two British heavyweights had done that.
“Out of all the shows I was an MC for, there were two fights that stick out in my mind and they were when Naseem Hamed went to Cardiff and beat Steve Robinson in his backyard and when Frank Bruno and Lennox Lewis fought at Wembley. They were both great nights for the sport and I enjoyed them.
“My favourite fight that I enjoyed being ringside for was Nigel Benn vs Gerald McClellan. I wasn't the MC as Showtime had brought Jimmy Lennon Jr over, but I did the undercard fights and was then able to sit ringside to watch that. It was a tremendous fight, but I was also ringside for Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko which was another one I had the pleasure of being ringside for"