Lost Tales of Welsh Boxing
By Lawrence Davies
I hope you will join me in supporting the sales of this truly remarkable and extensively researched book by Lawrence Davies. It is, as Lawrence aptly states -
“A must-buy for any boxing fan who wants to re-discover the forgotten origins of Welsh boxing”.
Lost Tales of Welsh Boxing
Wales has a long and proud history of fist fighting. While many boxing fans may be familiar with the stories of such fistic royalty as Jimmy Wilde and Jim Driscoll from the early days of the boxing ring, the lives of the men who fought bare-fist on the mountains of South Wales or in the fairground boxing booths for a handful of coins have been far less well documented.
These are the forgotten fighting histories of some of the good, the bad and the ugly from the days of the bare-knuckle outlaws known as the ‘mountain fighters’. This fascinating book charts the early history of pugilism in South Wales, from the days of some of the earliest bare fist champions of distinction. These are the stories of a fighting tradition previously shrouded in myth and legend that paved the way for a country’s future champions.
For the first time, the deeds and exploits of many of these men are recorded here in full. The product of countless hours of original research on the part of the author, there are many rare illustrations and photographs, many of which have never been printed in any book previously, this is a must-buy for any boxing fan who wants to re-discover the forgotten origins of Welsh boxing.
This is the first book on Welsh bare knuckle fighting to be released by Peerless Press, and will be available from November 2011 from gwales.com and directly from Peerless Press.
£12.99 Author: Lawrence Davies Paperback Available ISBN: 9780957034204 (0957034202) Publication Date December 2011 Publisher: Peerless Press
the book is very chunky, its 356 pages, soft cover, over 60 pictures, mostly unseen in any book previously.
The Ghost was a tiny pale speck of a man with fists of steel who had climbed out of the bowels of the earth, and fought his way through hundreds of men, some nearly twice his size, before finally claiming the World Flyweight Championship. So light was the little Welshman who stands as the greatest fighter that Wales has ever produced that he was known to weigh in with lead weights concealed in his pockets in order to make weight. The ring-names never quite stretched far enough to explain the almost superhuman skills of this tiny ex-miner. The Indian Famine, the Mighty Atom, the Human Hairpin, the Tetrarch of the Ring, and perhaps the greatest of them all,
The Ghost with the Hammer in his hand.
Who can fail to be drawn into a story so compelling ?. Photographs fail to capture the enigma that was Jimmy Wilde, an explosive force of nature. A man that was less than 7stone dripping wet, and yet also one of the hardest punchers the ring has ever seen. But even before Jimmy's time Merthyr had been creating Iron men, back in the days of the mountain fighters, when a fight on the mountain at dawn was the quickest and easiest way to settle a dispute that had started in the pub the night before.
Even after taking the flyweight championship of the world, Wilde had marveled at the strength and stamina of his father-in-law, Dai Davies who had once fought eighty four rounds on the mountains above Tylorstown.
‘Tomorrow, on the mountain’ - that was the way a pub argument usually ended and would be settled the next morning at sunrise, high up on the mountain with lookouts stretched out on the grass keeping a keen eye on the valley below. Only after the men in the know had climbed the mountain, using the cover of darkness to conceal their activities from the ever watchful police, would the men unroll the ropes and stakes, take off their shirts and warm up in preparation for the knuckle fight.
Many of the miners preferred it that way, with the ‘raw ‘uns’ as the knuckles were called back then, where the strength and stamina built up in the coal mine and iron foundry, and the ability to ‘take it’ mattered more than anything else. Knuckles were often dipped in pickling vinegar and pickled faces often being the badge of the battle scarred veterans who had fought countless rounds for little more than a jug of ale.
This was the way of the old timers, the Welsh fighting men known as the mountain fighters who would fight for twenty, forty, even sixty rounds and more. A round in those times only ended when a man went down, and even then there would be plenty of men telling him to get up.
For the big matches, military precision and tight lips were needed if the fight was to come off. Every town and village in the valleys of South Wales had its local champion, and the only way to settle it was on the mountain…..