Sheffield boxer is still ready for a fight on his 100th birthday

Former boxer Bill Wild celebrates his 100th birthday with a visit from Ryan Rhodes and boxers from his gym on London Road
Former boxer Bill Wild celebrates his 100th birthday with a visit from Ryan Rhodes and boxers from his gym on London Road

A Sheffield amateur boxer who lost most of his sight fighting in the Second World War has celebrated his 100th birthday with fellow local boxers.

Bill Wild, who was only three years old when the First World War ended, was at the Norfolk Park Cafe lunch club he attends every week when he was surprised by a group of professional boxers from Sheffield.

Former boxer Bill Wild celebrates his 100th birthday with a visit from Ryan Rhodes and boxers from his gym on London Road

Former boxer Bill Wild celebrates his 100th birthday with a visit from Ryan Rhodes and boxers from his gym on London Road

With a huge smile on his face, he was ready to throw some punches as soon as he saw them.

“I am so happy about today. I love boxing,” Bill said.

Over lunch, he gave some advice to the young boxers, who are all competing in the next few weeks.

He told them: “Keep your hands up and do not let them hit you.”

Former boxer Bill Wild celebrates his 100th birthday with a visit from Ryan Rhodes and boxers from his gym on London Road

Former boxer Bill Wild celebrates his 100th birthday with a visit from Ryan Rhodes and boxers from his gym on London Road

Bill, from the Manor, believes the secret to a long life is to have a very healthy lifestyle and to keep active.

He said: “I have never drunk or smoked and still, nowadays, when my sight is very limited, I keep moving. When I am at home, I walk up and down the corridor.”

Bill, who was a road worker for Sheffield Council for 49 years, has loved boxing all his life.

He was an amateur featherweight boxer until he was sent to Iceland during World War II, when he lost most of his sight and was unable to continue fighting.

Nicolie Campbell, who is fighting in City Hall on May 28, was one of the boxers to visit Bill for his birthday.

He said: “Bill is a great inspiration to all boxers. He is 100-years-old, but he still loves fighting.

“He has always kept himself fit – he was asking us earlier where our gym was!”

Ryan Rhodes, 39, former boxer and owner of RR Fitness on London Road, decided to bring his boys to the lunch club to give Bill a nice surprise.

He said: “We wanted to support a fellow boxer.”

Bill lives on his own since his wife died and is a regular at the Wednesday lunch club run by Sheffield Live at Home. The local project is a scheme to support isolated people.

“When he started coming, Bill was so quiet. He didn’t have enough company and he was lonely,” said Lin Aldred, Sheffield Live at Home manager.

“He is a lot more chatty and happy now.”

Despite his age, Bill is still fiercely independent and when he goes to church every Sunday insists on making his own way there.