Lawson took over training for the YMCA in 1926 and started working with Watson as early as 1931. Officially he became his manager in 1940 but he had already been using his specialized training regimens from the time a teenaged Watson had first found the sport. Besides Watson, Lawson trained Oshawa favorite Billy Stack and worked with many others that frequented the MLG cards. Lawson was also very tight in the wrestling/boxing office of Jack Corcoran prior to- and after -the Tunney's taking over. He was later described as 'the eyes, ears, and sometimes mind of Tunney' as they built a modest start in wrestling to one of the most successful on the continent.
Lawson had a lot of influence within the office, and was helped by his outgoing personality. He was once described as 'an outgoing character, confident and aggressive, bouncing off the walls in the office, and sometimes volatile.' He was a health nut who preached clean living and vigorous exercise. Said to charge at everything he did, 'if he went out for coffee he banged doors as he went and he dog-trotted to the bistro.'
|Phil & Whip in The Hanger 1942|
When Frank Tunney introduced the ramp in 1948 to protect Nanjo Singh from the fans, Lawson was right in the middle of it. Tunney had announced there was to be a ramp set up from the entrance way to the ring. An ‘escape hatch’ as described, it served exactly the purpose for which it was created. After Watson was declared the winner and new British Empire champ, Singh attacked Lawson trying to rip his tailored suit off. Watson saved his manager and Singh then hightailed it across the ramp, now safe above the heads of the surging ringside crowd.
Lawson as an in ring manager got pulled into the action a fair bit for the times. He could take the bumps and would really fly when tossed by one of Whipper's foes.
In May 1949 Lawson died unexpectedly at the age of 48 after having recently suffered some heart trouble. He was memorialized as an 'imaginative man, with a lovely wit.' It went on to say that the local scene 'has been struck a shrewder blow than anything (Fred) Atkins ever presented the Whipper.' His passing certainly left a void in the local scene. As a result Whipper himself took on an increased role alongside Tunney as the promotion moved into the boom of the 1950's.
'Few men in the sports scene will be more sincerely mourned than the likeable chattery voice of Tunney enterprises...' - Daily Star May 31 1949
Lots to fill in on Phil's story...
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