Oxley Agard was born on May 14, 1906.
As a young man growing up he started hanging around boxing gyms, lifting weights and performing strong-man stunts.
Agard became a sparring partner for the former national middleweight champion of Guyana known to many as `Battling Mike.’
Agard feared no man and gave as good as he received whenever he fought.
`Battling Mike’ is credited with the revival of boxing in Guyana and Agard made his first stage appearance at the Gaiety Cinema in New Amsterdam as a middleweight on July 29, 1928 against `Lightning Lam’ and won in three rounds.
It was in that preliminary bout on the undercard of the `Battling Mike’ versus `Fearless Freddie’ clash, that he caught the attention of the late Mr. Hursh, then manager of the theatre who subsequently made arrangements for Oxley’s second fight putting him against boxer/wrestler/strongman Bob Johnson.
Agard was to recalled later:”I took a right hook to my head in the first round and that was enough to remind me of the occasion. The house went dark but before the birds began to sing, I was well in advance on my opponent.”
The fight went into the sixth round before Johnson was knocked out.
They later fought in a return bout and Johnson was kayoed in the fourth round.
Soon after these exciting victories, promoter George King, offered Agard’s manager a fight with the light heavyweight champion of Jamaica `Smiling Kid’ for a purse of BG$1,500.
They met on July 4, 1930 and Oxley suffered his first loss. He was kayoed in the seventh round.
A return was arranged two months later but once again victory eluded the `Ox’ who lost by a kayo in the second round.
At the start of the fateful round, the `Smiling Kid’ did not get up from off of his stool and there was an animated discussion in his corner.
Then, to the surprise of all, he showed the referee that his gloves were slit.
The gloves were changed and the Kid mounted a vicious attack on Agard putting lots of “beef” in his shots one of which caught Oxley flush in the mid-section and he doubled up and was counted out.
Agard’s big opportunity came in April of 1931 when he challenged `Battling Mike’ for the middleweight crown of British Guiana.
`Battling Mike’ took a battering for two rounds before crashing to the canvas from a short left hook in the third.
As the referee stood over `Battling Mike’ counting, the crowd chanted:”The King is dead. Long live the King.”
The `Ox’ had one more fight that year winning a 12 rounder against `Ripping Rufus’.
As Agard kept crushing all comers, a hero by the name of Joe Ralph, the `Belgian Terror,’ was creating havoc in rings around the West Indies with his good looks and fighting ability.
The two met on May 4, 1932 at the BGFA ground where the `Terror’ after winning every round going into the 10th, landed a foul blow on Agard and was disqualified.
Four days later the British Guiana Boxing Committee met in a special session and changed the decision to a draw in the interest, the claimed, of local boxing.
Agard kept active with a decision over `Ripping Rufus’ in a return bout. He also kayoed `Dixie Kid’ in four rounds; `Fighting Freddie’ in five and battled to a 10-round draw with one of the greatest boxers ever to come out of Guyana, Lionel Gibbs.
He followed that up with a thrilling 12 round win over the `Cuban Hawk,’ Pedro Proenza who put on one of the gamest displays of boxing seen in this country.
Proenza was first floored towards the end of the sixth round when he ran into a stiff uppercut and took a count of eight. Then in the seventh round, Agard sent him crashing to the canvas five times. On three of those times, he took counts of eight, six and four.
Two months later in a return, Proenza gained a clear cut decision over 12 rounds with both fighters scoring knock downs in the middle of the blistering encounter.
Benny Lee was then brought in to challenge Agard for his middleweight title of the West Indies.
That fight took place on December 25, 1934 at the BGFA ground. A disappointingly small crowd turned up to witness the one-sided affair with Agard scoring a TKO in the seventh round in what was billed to be a 15-round championships.
The `Ox’ had six more fights before hanging up his gloves in 1937. He won a four rounder against Claude Basskin and was kayoed in the fourth by Ossie Sampson.
He then lost his West Indies title to Jack Hawthorne by a knockout in two rounds.
And, in one of the greatest return bouts ever seen in Guyana, Agard and Sampson banged each other toe-to-toe for two rounds before Sampson fell at the end of the second round.
Then, in a return against Hawthorne the `Ox’ won back his West Indies title via a 12-round decision on March 29, 1937.
And, with no local pugilist around to challenge him Oxley Agard called it a day.
Three years later he proved the adage they never come back to be true.
A popular City Jeweller by the name of RB Saywack offered him a purse of BG$500 of which Agard would receive eighty percent, to fight an up and coming youngster, young Jack Johnson, known as the Fighting Policeman.
Jack Johnson was the younger brother of Kid Tanner.
By then Agard was 34-years-old and had been out of the ring for three years.
The two met on New Year’s Day 1940 at the BGFA and Johnson took the titles in seven rounds. It was sad for the old champion he wanted to give up in the fifth round but his seconds urged him to continue. With that Johnson won the Guyana and West Indies light heavyweight titles.
The fighting machine finally packed it away and then turned his attention to sharing his ring knowledge with such fighters as Dewan Singh, who was the first lightweight champion of Guyana and also the first East Indian boxer to win the national title and was an active member of the Bedford Gymnasium which produced a string of very good boxers.
Agard died in 1957.