HE WAS the paunch with a punch.

‘Aussie’ was a unique boxing champion, undeniably an undisputed one. Simply because nothing else wanted to fight him.

Tough on the outside but soft on the inside. He could not resist women and being fed with chocolates!

‘Aussie’ was simply unique, the only fighting kangaroo in the world.

So imagine all the excitement in Southampton when he accepted an invitation from the Echo and posed outside the town centre office with owner and trainer Lindsay Fabre, the only man brave enough to step into the ring with him.

The six-year-old was the star attraction at Southampton’s Hippodrome Theatre for a week in 1931.

He duly turned up for the curtain call, hopping out of a taxi and bounding his way into the front office, playfully wanting to spar with a clerk. As he towered above him, the clerk suddenly realised he was urgently wanted on the phone.

However, the girl receptionists soon got the better of him.

“A perfect dear,” swooned one, feeding him chocolates.

But as the perfect showman, ‘Aussie’ displayed all his fighting capability, standing tall on his hing legs and delivering a sharp k.o. to an imaginary opponent. He then skipped outside and to bystanders amusement chased a startled Pomeranian down the street.

Fabre had brought him up on the bottle and starting training him at just six-months-old.

After two and a half years patience, ‘Aussie,’ who lived on cereals and a gallon of warm milk a day, was ready to make his stage debut but he was not an overnight success. It took him 14 weeks to get accustomed to the bright lights of the theatre, the feel of the boards and capacity audiences.

“They are super-sensitive creatures,” he explained. “Training ‘Aussie’ was hard work but not so hard as standing up to him twice nightly. Once in London at the Alhambra, I tried to do it three times a day but at the end of the week I was black and blue and had to give it up.”

Fabre was fascinated by kangaroos and had extensively researched their habits and defensive instinct.

“When a buck gets exhausted, it will turn and prop itself on its tail against a tree stump or a bush,” he explained.

“When dogs attack them, they always go for the dogs’ throat, seize them by the arms, hurl them down and with a kick of its legs will kill them instantly.

“Old dogs know the game. They never attack a kangaroo when it has turned.”

Just as well the pomeranian could run fast!