Dave McCleave

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameDavid Edward "Dave"•McCleave
Used nameDave•McCleave
Born24 December 1911 in Lambeth, England (GBR)
Died19 May 1988 in Chichester, England (GBR)
Measurements178 cm
AffiliationsLynn ABC, Walworth (GBR)
NOC Great Britain


Dave McCleave had a memorable four-year career as a top class amateur boxer. He won the ABA lightweight title in 1931 and the following year won the featherweight title before going to the Los Angeles Olympics, where he finished fourth. He was beaten in the welterweight semi-final by the eventual gold-medallist Eddie Fynn of the USA, but in the bronze medal contest, he gave his Finnish opponent Bruno Ahlberg a walkover. McCleave failed to retain his ABA title in 1933, surprisingly losing in the semi-final to J. P. Barry, but he regained it in 1934 when, that year, he also beat Hungary’s István Varga to win the European amateur title. Later in the year, he then added the British Empire Games title to his season’s honours, when he beat the South African Dick Barton

Shortly after the Empire Games, McCleave turned professional, and in an 11-year career won 77 of his 105 bouts. He beat Chuck Parker to win the vacant British welterweight title in 1935 but lost it 14 months later when knocked out in the eighth round by Jake Kilirain. They were McCleave’s only two British title fights. During the war he was an Army PT instructor, and continued to box professionally during the hostilities. After his retirement from the ring in 1945 he became landlord of the Union Tavern Pub in Camberwell, where he ran a boy’s boxing club from a back room, with the help of the 1935 ABA featherweight champion Edward “Tiny” Ryan. McCleave took over as landlord of the Tulse Hill Hotel in the 1960s, but there was no boxing gym at the rear of the pub this time.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1932 Summer Olympics Boxing GBR Dave McCleave
Welterweight, Men (Olympic) 4

Special Notes