Inducted April 5, 2008

William James

William James “Bill” Drover had a distinguished boxing career which spanned over a 12-year period, from 1962 to 1974. His career spanned all levels, local, provincial, national, international, and professional. In 1962, at the age of 19, Drover enlisted in the Royal Canadian Signal Corps and became involved in many of the sports activities which the army provided. His special talent which he so skillfully displayed was the art of boxing. Under the tutelage of his army coach, Bill quickly became one of the army’s elite boxers. Within a year, he fought his way to the Canadian Army’s heavyweight boxing championship in 1963, which he successfully defended in 1964. After his release from the Canadian Army in 1965, Drover joined the Wabush Boxing Club in Labrador. In 1966, he fought for the Newfoundland and Labrador Heavyweight Title against Reg Duchesneau, the Newfoundland and Labrador Heavyweight Champion. Before a capacity crowd at the Labrador City Arena, Drover knocked the champion out in the first round. Drover held the Newfoundland and Labrador Heavyweight Title until his retirement. Drover had many fights within the province; his most notable Newfoundland opponents were Phonse Lasaga and Earl Pilgrim. On the national scene, Bill was Champion of Montreal 1969 and he held the Eastern Canadian Heavyweight Title until his retirement. One of the more notable managers and fight promoters in Canada, Roger Larivee of Montreal, was so impressed by Bill that he invited him to train as a professional under his management. During the next five years, Bill fought boxers of world class calibre including Boone Kirkman (rated #1 in the world for years), Ernie Terrell, Ron Lyle, and Joe Bugner. He fought Joe Bugner to a draw, all the more impressive since Bugner’s next fight was with Mohammed Ali. Internationally, Drover fought out of Johannesburg (South Africa), Barcelona (Spain), London (England), and Madison Square Garden, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Denver (USA). Drover’s record against some of the most formidable opponents in the world is nothing less than outstanding. He went undefeated in winning Local, Provincial, and National boxing titles. After fighting 52 professional bouts, Bill’s record was 33 wins with 25 knockouts, 16 losses, and 3 draws. Bill was ranked #1 in Canada for a number of years as a Professional. At one point, he was ranked by Ring Magazine as one of the top 20 pro fighters in the world. Bill worked hard, trained hard, and fought hard. As a sportsman, he was a fierce competitor who aimed to win but who was always gracious in defeat.