Albert Perera was a glittering star of the boxing ring | Daily News
Sri Lankan Olympic stars of yesteryear

Albert Perera was a glittering star of the boxing ring

Albert Perera
Albert Perera

Albert Perera participated as a boxer at the 1948 London Olympic Games after having built up a reputation as one of the finest exponents of the sport at that time.

He was born on December 22, 1918 in Colombo and had is early education at Zahira College, Colombo. He took to boxing at the early age of 13 after having developed an interest in the sport by seen senior students engaged in the game while at school.

He showed glimpse of his talent and potential when he bagged the 85lbs event in 1931 and at that stage very few would have imagined this boxer would bring international fame to the country in the latter years.

Perera won the Inter-Schools Championships in the following year and also won the Championship at the All-Ceylon Scouts Meet. He was eventually defeated by Eddie Grey of Royal College at the Stubbs Shield Boxing Championship.

From 1937 onwards, he developed his talent by competing in several Inter-School, Inter-Club and All-Ceylon Boxing Meets under the guidance of his coaches Charles de Alwis and M. P. David.

Perera successfully maintained his dominance in the local boxing arena by winning several events during the period from 1937 to 1951.

He had the opportunity of training under veteran coaches, Vincent Perera and Danton Obeysekera having joined the YMCA while still as a schoolboy.

As a result, he was able to clinch the Stubbs Shield, Clifford Cup, Layton Cup and several other Boxing Meets while competing in the flyweight, bantamweight and featherweight classes.

In 1937, Perera was selected as the Best Boxer and also won the Manning Trophy in 1940. In 1941, he won the F. C. Jayawardane Trophy and in 1942 he won the McKay Trophy and annexed the Layton Cup for three successive years from 1943 to 1945.

He then won the Manning Trophy for the second time in 1944. In 1951, he won the F. C. Jayawardane Trophy once again and underlined his growing reputation as a season campaigner.

At the 1948 London Olympic Games, Albert Perera cleared his first hurdle by overcoming U. Sove of Burma in the second-round.

However, he received a raw deal in the next bout as his opponent from Puerto Rico was declared as the winner although Perera was far superior throughout the contest.

In fact, there were several comments later about the unfair judgements handed over at the Olympic Games. The British Newspapers spotlighted this incident and said that Perera’s defeat was not due to his inefficiency but mainly due to some bias decisions from the judges. Perera could have ended up with a Gold or Silver Medal if not for this unfair judgement. In 1950, Albert Perera represented Ceylon at the Empire Games in Auckland along with three other boxers K. Edwin, Eddie Gray and A. I. Obeysekera.

However, only Perera and Edwin qualified to compete in the final round. Perera lost to Johnnie Vaurushberg of South Africa in the final-round and settled for the Silver Medal.

Thereafter, he retired from the ring but was appointed as the General Secretary of the Amateur Boxing Association of Ceylon in 1953.

Later he was appointed as the National Boxing Coach and trained several young boxers while using his knowledge and vast experience.

Albert Perera remained a bachelor and dedicated his life for the growth of boxing in the country before he passed away on March 1, 1968. (C.D)