The gentleman of Australian Boxing: Scott Brouwer

Scott Brouwer

Scott Brouwer

Famous for its violence and savagery, boxing sits comfortably as the world’s most aggressive sport.

Populated by tough, brutal athletes and amongst the broken noses, scar tissue and testosterone of Australian boxing, one individual stands alone.

Scott Brouwer is perhaps best described as a contradiction. With a middle class upbringing in the Melbourne suburb of Mornington, and with little or no DNA lending itself to a career as a fighter, Brouwer seems out of place in the rough and tumble world that is professional boxing in Australia.

Like a feint, appearances can be deceiving, and put simply, Scott Brouwer was a fighting machine. A speed demon with lightning reflexes, silk in both hands and a rare level of toughness.

The 46 year old financial planner and father of two, is a quietly spoken, well-groomed, clean cut guy. Comfortable in a suit and tie, he doesn’t appear to fit the mould of a fighter.

Possessing a whip like jab, the winner of 20 professional fights from 1987 through to 1993, Brouwer was world ranked in his heyday.

Described by well know boxing trainer Keith Ellis, as the most courageous fighter he has ever seen, these days Brouwer can be seen sitting ringside, in his role as the Combat Sports Board representative.

The humble former gloveman is responsible for not only a fighter’s safety but also for ensuring bouts and promotions are run in accordance with government regulations. In a sport well known for back room dealings and tricks, it’s a tough gig.

He is well liked, polite, unassuming and goes about his business on fight night, with little fuss or fanfare.

As a fighter, he fought for the WBC International lightweight title when it meant something, and the only blemishes on his boxing record, were four losses and a draw.

The subject of a 60 minutes story in the 80s, Scott Brouwer wasn’t a household name, but he could have been.

Former trainer and mentor Leigh Thomas, saw him as a world champion in the making.

“He had all the tools. He was quick and he could take a punch. There is no doubt he was world class”, Thomas said.

“He sparred with Lester Ellis, Barry Michael, Graeme Brook, Wilf Gentzen and Tony Miller. He sparred Jeff Fenech a lot and didn’t have any trouble with him. When he sparred these guys he did very well”.

“In hindsight, sparring these high quality fighters was probably his downfall. After all these guys finished their careers, his sparring wasn’t to the same level. As he increased the quality of his own opponents, his sparring level dropped.  I truly believe this was the reason he didn’t win a world title.”

As a fighter Brouwer had good footwork and moved well. He sometimes kept his hands low but was good enough to slip a punch and launch a counter attack in between heart beats.

Thin and wiry, he was built like his hero, former IBF Junior Lightweight Champion Lester Ellis.

“Lester was my idol. We trained together and we became mates and probably sparred 1000s of rounds together. In Lester, I saw a similar physique to myself and it gave me a little bit of hope”, Brouwer said.

After a short 13 fight amateur career, he turned to the paid professional ranks.

“I turned pro in 1987 because as an amateur it was difficult to get fights. Sometimes I had to travel all over Victoria doing exhibition bouts and I would prefer to win money than win an egg cup”.

In 1988 and at only 18 years of age, he won the Australian Super bantamweight title in his seventh professional fight. By 1992 had built a record of 18 wins with a couple of losses and a draw, and his attention turned to offshore riches.

Looking for a shot at the big time and a potential world title, he travelled to England and took on a hard punching, undefeated British fighter by the name of Michael Ayers.

Fighting for the WBC International title and a top 10 world ranking, Brouwer was stopped in four rounds.

“The Ayers fight was my biggest disappointment. I really wanted it. I wanted to earn respect and be world champion”, Brouwer said.

Whilst the loss to Ayers put a world title beyond reach, it came as a surprise to learn that his personal highlight was actually a fight he didn’t win.

“Ken Carter and I actually had two fights. We drew the first one and I will never forget it. It was an amazing experience. We both didn’t take a backward step”.

Held on Valentine’s Day 1990, the fight with Carter was roundly acknowledged as fight of the year, and those in attendance still talk about it.

Carter (18 wins and five losses at the time) and Brouwer, went ‘at it’ for 10 rounds, in what has been called one of Australia’s greatest fights.

Radio Commentator and boxing aficionado Bruce Eva, described the fight as one of the best he has ever seen.

“Everyone thought Scott would box. Ken Carter was a nuggetty puncher type, and Scott was a thin, rangy, slick boxer. Scott decided not to box and he went toe to toe with one of Australia’s most fearsome lightweights at the time. It was one of the best fights I have witnessed”, he said.

Reflecting on the night, Brouwer remembers it fondly but admits it was the start of the end.

“We stood toe to toe for 10 rounds. In reality we both weren’t the same after that fight. It was gruelling. You can only have one or two of those fights in your career”.

“For me that was the highlight, I had nothing left. I left nothing in the ring and that’s why it stands out for me”.

After the intensity of the first fight, the rematch was almost an anticlimax, with Brouwer stopping the tough Carter in the ninth round.

He retired from boxing in 1993 after being knocked out in New Caledonia, and only 11 days after his son was born. Finishing with a career record of 20 wins, 4 losses and a draw, like most new fathers his priorities had changed.

With a wife of 22 years and two adult kids, Brouwer takes his position as the combat sports board representative seriously. Whilst passionate in the ring as a fighter, he is even more passionate outside it.

“We licence all combat sports in Victoria and ensure everything runs smoothly in accordance with regulations.

With many ‘a corner cut’ in boxing, he plays a vital role in maintaining a sport that has a history of controversy.

“We keep an eye on the alcohol, the taping under gloves, medical tests and ensure the fighters are being looked after the correct way”.

“The sport is rolling along and things are looking good. We have about 30 shows a year across Victoria. The matches are getting better and we have some really good fighters coming up”.

In a sport littered with dark tales and controversy, the story of Scott Brouwer is a highlight and one that shouldn’t be dismissed or forgotten.

There is an old saying in boxing, that the final measure of a boxer is what kind of shape he is in when he leaves the ring for good.

Scott Brouwer is in good shape and so is the sport he loves.

 

About David Griffin

Lover of coffee, sport and human endeavour. A writer and life enthusiast with a shameless admiration for dogged persistent people that get 'stuff' done.

Comments

  1. dean moser says:

    I was too old and probably not good enough anyway but Scott trained me and what a great bloke he had to give up from a broken eardrum but seen him spa with a really good young guy and he was awsomr

  2. Matt Watson says:

    Great story Dave.
    Shame he didn’t win a title but at least he’s giving back to the sport he loved.
    Thanks.

  3. Excellent article, Dave, keep up the good work. Scott contributes so much to the sport and is the epitome of a gentleman – not a word a use lightly. If there were more Scott Brouwers in the sport it would be in better shape.

  4. Peter Backman says:

    that was a good read. Scotty use to spar sometimes at my old trainers gym, Harry Martin’s boxing gym at Sandringham and Moorabbin and he was always good too watch. Good luck to him.

  5. Mark Quinn says:

    Scott trained me as a kid to adult he was the best at pivoting , counter punching in sparring him I would get one in and he would get another two straight up back on me he moves like no other very fast hands .
    We are still good mates also used to mow his lawns he is a true gentleman and a straight shooter not to mention very smart outside of the ring not to mention inside it.
    Very good family man too really hard to find a better bloke to lead the boxing industry .
    Well Done scotty about time they did a good write up on you as you have given so much to the sport.
    Cheers Mark “Mighty Quinn”

  6. Justin Fox says:

    I saw him fight twice from memory once against Kevin Johnson & the other I can’t remember the opponent awesome fighter always gave 100%

  7. Greg Parker says:

    I remember him fighting. Good to see him still in the sport. I see some similarities in Jeff Horn and he may achieve what Scott unfortunately missed out on.

  8. martin devaney says:

    wnder h0w many mugs have picked him thinking he was an easy mark WR0NG haha

  9. Scotty you have a big heart in boxing got lots of your fights . Champion

  10. Paul Creasey says:

    I met Scotty at Harry Martins gym in Moorabbin one of the nicest blokes I ever met, I was at festival hall on that first bout he had with Ken Carter I knew him as well we trained at Leo Berry’s together great fight guys money well spent I say cheers.

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