A TINY chippie on a Halifax back street has become the takeaway of choice for some of the world’s biggest hitters.
When it comes to encouraging international boxing VIPs to drop in, chip shop owner Mark Kosanovic regularly batters the opposition.
His modest takeaway, Brackenbed Fisheries in Spring Hall Lane at Pellon has hosted a stellar line-up which has included Earnie Shavers, Sugar Ray Leonard, Frank Bruno and Nigel Benn.
And last Saturday afternoon Thomas ‘The Hitman’ Hearns called in for fish and chips on his way to a function in Leeds.
The retired American fighter was the first boxer in history to win four world titles in four divisions and then added another to make it five and was The Ring magazine’s Fighter of the Year award in 1980 and 1984.
Mr Kosanovic, 52, has been a boxing fans for decades and has built up a few contacts in the business, so much so that more and more retired boxers drop in when they are in the area.
On Saturday, 30 boxing fans from the Yorkshire area gathered inside and outside the Halifax takeaway shop to form a ‘guard of honour’ for the arrival of Mr Hearns.
The 56-year-old former world champion signed autographs and posed for photographs as he chatted with fans young and old.
Mr Kosanovic was delighted his hero took time to drop by.
“He shook everybody’s hand and had some fish and chips, which he said he hadn’t had before.
“He said he liked them but wanted some piri piri sauce and we only had tomato ketchup.
“He was here for an hour and didn’t want to go.
“He talked about his fights and Muhammad Ali, who he has met many times. His friend, Sugar Ray Leonard, had told him that if he was ever in the Halifax area to call in to see us at the shop.
“The shop was packed. People formed a guard of honour and clapped as he walked into the takeaway.”
After the meet and greet, Hearns also recalled one of the greatest fights in history, when he took on Marvin Hagler in Las Vegas in 1985.
The first round has been described as the most unforgettable round of boxing ever seen as both men traded punches during a furious slugfest.
Hearns, who had broken his hand landing a mighty punch, was knocked out in the third.
“Tommy told me it was the hardest fight he ever fought,” said Mr Kosanovic.
“On Saturday he stayed with us for a full hour and was very personable. He was one of my heroes from the 1980s who was a multiple world champion.
“It’s a massive honour for me to meet these people, they are my heroes.”
Previous visitors have included retired American fighter Sugar Ray Leonard who called in last year.
“His manager knew I was a boxing fan.
“He was in Yorkshire for a dinner event.”
Mr Kosanovic, who lives in Birkby, Huddersfield, has also met Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield at promotional events in West Yorkshire.
But he has yet to meet his hero Floyd Mayweather and is hopeful that one day he might pop in for a fish supper.