Remembering the 'Hackney Rock' Dennis Andries MBE
- Credit: PA
Dennis Andries MBE was one of Hackney’s most successful boxers in the past forty years and should be warmly remembered as such.
He was born in Georgetown, Guyana on “Bonfire night” on November, 5 1953 and his ring career was often explosive just like a box of the best fireworks.
When he reached this country, he resided in Hackney and became known affectionately during his professional career as the “Hackney Rock”.
He turned professional on 1978 and made his debut, curiously enough, in Newport, in Wales on May, 16 of that year, knocking out Welshman, Ray Pearce in two rounds.
Over a career spanning 18 years (1978-1996) he was involved in 25 title fights of various descriptions.
When he finally retired from the ring on December 14 1996, following a seventh stoppage defeat at the hands of Sheffield’s, Johnny Nelson who was defending his British cruiserweight title, Andries had amassed 49 victories (30 inside), 14 losses ( 4 inside) and 2 draws in a 65 fight career.
He was most successful as a light-heavyweight, although in the twilight of his career he did win the vacant British cruiserweight crown, stopping Denzil Browne in 11 rounds in Glasgow in January 1995.
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Previously he had been Southern Area light-heavyweight champion since 1979 and also British champion at that weight, finally outpointing “old foe” Tom Collins in 1984. '
He successfully defended both championships on several occasions relinquishing the British title finally in September 1986.
He also had two unsuccessful attempts at the British light-heavyweight championship in 1980 and 1982, losing to Bunny Johnson and Tom Collins respectively.
He boxed unsuccessfully for the EBU cruiserweight title against Frenchman Akim Tafer in February 1992 and also against Poland’s Przemyslaw Saleta for the WBC International cruiserweight crown in March 1994.
Andries had also drawn controversially with Alex Blanchard from the Netherlands, way back in December 1985 for the latter’s EBU light- heavyweight belt.
In April 1986 he won the WBC world light-heavyweight title taking a split points decision over American JB Williamson at Picketts Lock Stadium Edmonton on a Frank Warren promotion.
Five months later he successfully defended his world title and his British crown stopping the ever popular Leicester man Tony “Sibbo” Sibson in the ninth round at the Alexandra Pavilion in Muswell Hill, north London. Sibson was floored three times in the ninth round.
Dennis lost his WBC title in March 1987 when he was stopped in the tenth round of his tremendous battle with the fabulous and legendary Thomas “The Hit Man” Hearns in Detroit, Michigan.
Andries continued to campaign in the United States winning five contests, including a points decision over “hard man” Bobby Czyz, before meeting American, Tony Willis for the vacant WBC championship in Tucson, Arizona in February 1989.
Willis was halted in five rounds and Andries was the WBC belt holder for the second time.
Life was never easy for Dennis in the ring and in his first defence of his second reign he lost on a twelfth and final round stoppage to tough Australian Jeff Harding in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Andries was ahead on all three judges scorecards when the end came.
Three fights later he was WBC champion for the third time, travelling to Melbourne in July 1990 to knock out “Aussie”, Jeff Harding in the seventh round. Successful WBC title defences came against Argentina’s, Sergio Daniel Merani and another Australian Guy Waters and then in September 1991 “old foe” Jeff Harding emerged once again, this time at the Odeon Cinema in Hammersmith.
Harding won a very tight and somewhat controversial majority points decision to claim back the WBC belt.
This was to be the final world title “hurrah” for Dennis, other title attempts failed against Tafer and Saleta as previously mentioned, although there was a short lived British cruiserweight success against Denzil Browne also referred to above.
Dennis sadly ended his great ring career with three losses with the British cruiserweight belt at stake.
Fellow Hackney fighter Terry Dustan twice outpointed Andries and then in his final ring showing in Sheffield, Johnny Nelson stopped the “Hackney Rock” in the seventh round- it was finally all over for one of Hackney’s greatest ever champions.
Andries had become WBC world light- heavyweight champion on three occasions and was also the first British boxer to twice regain a world title, he really was that special.
He was appointed the MBE in Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday Honours in 1991.
He was one of Hackney’s greatest all time world champions and should clearly and warmly be remembered as such.