Roy Pretty Boy Shaw

Roy Shaw Interview

Terry Currie conducted an interview with Roy Shaw back in 2003 and gives you an insight into Roy's life.

The interview has been split over 3 pages which can be navigated at the top and bottom of each page.


TC - When did you first realise you had a gift for fighting?

RS - At school. Like a lot of kids I was bullied. I was bullied for five years, I was small for my age and didn’t mix too well so that may have been the reason why, I don’t really know. When I was very young my father who I adored was killed on a motorbike, that really did me in and I struggle even now to talk about him .. I actually threw myself on top of the coffin at the funeral!

Three days later I was back at school and being bullied again. Eight boys circled me, by this time fear had turned to anger, anger at losing my dad and there was nothing they could do to me that was worse than I had already been through. I felt a type of electric charge overtake my body, I felt superhuman, I threw a punch and down went one, then two, then three… CRASH!! That was when I first realized I had the gift of punch power.

Unlicensed Boxing

TC - And then you found a love of boxing?

RS - Yes, I had found my purpose. I had ten professional fights and won them all, six by knock out and Mickey Duff was the manager. But then I started to get into trouble… Mickey Duff has apparently denied managing me in some interviews. That’s understandable in some respects as Joe Pyle and I started the first boxing organization not controlled by the BBBC. Duff of course, is a British boxing board promoter so being the first manager of the man who would give his employers so many major headaches must have been a nightmare!!

My pro record has been scrapped as well. Of course, there will be idiots who think I am making the whole thing up but you really have to understand the tense relationship between unlicensed and the BBBC before you can have an informed opinion of that one. The thing that makes me laugh is why the hell would I make up being managed by Mickey Duff? He’s not exactly the most reputation enhancing bloke in the world is he? It’s not like I’m claiming I knocked out Ali or floored Marciano in sparring is it!! Mickey Duff managed me, so what? I didn’t need to mention a promoter at all. If it was a lie I wouldn’t give details I didn’t need to. If I was going to lie it would have been better than ‘I was managed by Mickey Duff’ (LAUGHS)

Armed Robbery

TC - On the naughty side of things, you were involved in a big robbery in Dartford weren’t you?

RS - Yes, the Dartford one was a big one! Before the great train robbery it was the biggest ever robbery in Britain. Things happened though and I got a 15 stretch for that one. I was grassed up by a so called friend.

TC - Did the violence carried on in prison?

RS - Yes. You have no choice in prison, it’s the only way to survive. If you don’t get yourself established one way or another they will destroy you. The early days are the toughest inside, but after you have done a few of them you get a reputation. Then, people know you can have a row and think twice, because they know there is no way they are not going to get hurt in the process. Most of my rows after that were with screws and the prison bullies. I broke the jaws of a lot of bullies and I am not ashamed of that in the slightest! I wasn’t really fighting individuals but the whole system, I despised authority. I smashed my way out of 2 locked cell doors from the inside! That’s never been done before or since and is still talked about in prison. I had so much energy, anger, hate and adrenalin in me it gave me the power of ten men.

I tell the story of my prison time as it was without beefing it up. I’m not one of those who exaggerates what they did beyond all proportion just to build a reputation. What I tell you is no frills facts. I’m not proud of everything I done but I’m not ashamed either, at least I know I am not fooling myself by claiming things that never happened. You don’t end up in the dungeons of Broadmoor by telling porkies about what you did. Of course, I can’t recall or tell you about all the rows I had inside. There are literally too many to recount although, I did have the pleasure of switching off a few nonces. Jack ‘the hat’ would join me on these occasions he was a tough, solid man. The thought of scum that abuse children still gets my blood up.


TC - Then you were moved to Broadmoor?

RS - That’s right. Broadmoor is thought of as a place for nutters, but they also send you there when the normal prison system can’t handle you. A lot of people who are sent there do not have a mental illness, but are top class rascals! They couldn’t handle me in there either and I ended up in the hellhole of hellholes… the Broadmoor dungeons. That is the ends of the earth, you can’t get sent to anywhere worse than that. All around are the haunting cries of lunatics twenty four hours of every day. This is where you are pumped up with drugs and experimented on. If you have no real good friends, you could easily be forgotten down there and rot away!! Luckily I did have and have still got good, solid, loyal friends so I came out the other end..

It’s well documented now but I was beaten, experimented on and even given electric shocks to the brain.. But they never broke me, never had me where they wanted me. In the dungeons it was pitch black and the only sound was of lunatics. It was like ‘one flew over the cuckoos nest’ I had an instinct of charging head first into the screws that unlocked the door. Even in the bowels of the earth, my hatred for authority hadn’t faded. I behaved when I wanted to not when I was told too. Most people including Broadmoor staff were certain I would die and rot in the dungeons, they really saw that as my only future. And the way they saw it, what with all the drugs I was being pumped up with I wouldn’t be alive much longer. It really was that bad for me. Luckily my friend Joey Pyle didn’t give up on me and if it wasn’t for Joe I would still be in there if I was alive at all, which I doubt I would be. Joe saved my life.

TC - Any memorable rows in Broadmoor?

RS - Yeah a fair few, one is mentioned in Ronnie Kray’s book ‘My Story’ although Ron got that one a bit wrong. I had a fight with a guy called Freddie Mills, who was no relative of the famous boxer by the way. Mills was a big, flash bully and I hate bullies with a passion. Anyway, I knocked this bloke spark out with about two punches…. CRACK!! All over!!! Ron says it went on for an hour and a half and it makes a good story, but in truth it was over in seconds. But again there are too many to recount.

Meeting The Krays

TC - Did you and the Kray Twins meet in prison?

RS - Oh yeah, well, before they were nicked Ronnie came to see me in Broadmoor and asked if there was anything he could do for me. My wife was having an affair and I wanted this guy hurt…. Bad! Ronnie said “ Consider it done, don’t worry about anything, I’ll take care of it. A few days later Ronnie came back to tell me “It’s done. The slag’s been shot” Anyone who knew Ronnie will tell you he was a real man a man of his word. We had a lot of mutual respect Ron and I. The twins came to see me again just after they done Jack Mcvitie who I knew well and was a sound man at the time I knew him. Jack the hat was always with us in rows with the screws, you could count on him being there with you he was game, solid and totally fearless. He was nothing like the way they portrayed him in the Kray film.

Anyway, I wanted Ronnie and Reggie to come and see me as I didn’t like what they were putting around about my pal Ray Mills. After I had a word with them we got on fine. Reggie and I were together in Parkhurst. We had a three-man weight lifting team… me, Reg and another guy. We beat all the other prisons in the U.K., I still have the certificate for it. I have nothing but respect for Ron, Reg and Charlie, I know they respected me as well.I attended all three funerals. Make no mistake, they were a formidable firm but so were Joey Pyle and the Nashes and also the Richardson’s. The twins certainly weren’t any more powerful than them. In prison Frankie Fraser was very, very respected. In them days everyone feared Frank don’t worry about that, he was the man. Joey Pyle though has worked with the lot. Right back to Jack Spot, Billy Hill and Albert Dimes through the twins, Nashes and Richardsons, Bindon right through to todays faces. Even the American mafia! Joe has seen the lot.

Weightlifting Regime

TC - Talking of weightlifting, did you do a lot of this in prison?

RS - Absolutely… it was my lifeline, it kept me sane and strong in mind and body. Having a focus, a goal, is crucial in there, it kept me going.

TC - Can you give an example of your regime?

RS - It would be low reps and heavy weights. We would do 3 sets and then add some more weight and squeeze out another 2, finishing by stripping the weight a bit for 1 more set. I would train most days. I still train 4 times a week now but with less weight & more reps performed faster with less rest between sets. I am still in good shape for a 38 year old !!

TC - What were your best lifts?

RS - Bench press- 365 lbs Squat- 500 lbs and deadlift 6001bs All on prison food!!!!! I pumped up to about 16 stone.

TC - And then upon release you and Joey Pyle started unlicensed boxing.

RS - Yes, Joe was the promoter I was the fighter. The British boxing board refused to give me my license back, so we just thought…. well, we don’t need you, we will start our own boxing body, so that’s what we did. It is called unlicensed because it doesn’t have approval from the British Boxing Board. People tend to think it’s illegal but it’s not, it’s just a separate controlling body. Anyway, before this I went to Barnet Fair, won a few bare knuckle fights and a nice few quid. Someone there said, “well, there is only one opponent for you…. Donny Adams…” I had been inside with Adams and believe me he was no mug, unbeaten on the cobbles! The idea was to have a bare knuckle ‘fight to the death’. We ran into all sorts of legal troubles and had to wear gloves, but we certainly didn’t want to.

There was also talk of ripping the gloves off when the bell went and steaming into each other, while the chaps linked arms around the ring to stop old bill breaking it up. This never happened in the end though. Joey Pyle took over the promotion and we staged it at Billy Smarts ‘Big Top’ in Windsor. On the night, I was ready to explode, I was like a volcano. As the bell went, I threw a right hander and over Adams went, I kept punching, picking him up again, knocked him back down and stamped on his head!! Someone shouted “ He’s dead Roy, he’s dead” he wasn’t , but he was spark out, it was over in seconds and I was the Guv’nor!