Opinion | Aug 30 2019

Humiliations and upsets: British boxers who tried to beat the best in the world

When Luke Campbell fights pound-for-pound No 1, Vasyl Lomachenko, he’ll follow in some remarkable footsteps
Roy Jones
Action Images

IT remains the greatest win ever by a British fighter. Sugar Ray Robinson arrived in London in 1951 with a 13-man entourage that infamously included his personal hairdresser, a voice coach and a dwarf named Arabian Knight. He also boasted a record of 128 wins against one defeat and the title of boxing’s pound-for-pound best.

The term pound-for-pound was invented for Robinson. It was a way of conveying that – no matter who the heavyweight champion was – Sugar Ray practised the sweet science better than anybody else. Few gave his British opponent, Randy Turpin, any chance.

Turpin began fighting in fairground booths, then battled up the amateur and professional ranks, all the way to this unlikely middleweight world title shot. He grabbed it with both hands. The 23-year-old, an early user of weightlifting in his training regime, outfought Robinson over 15 rounds to pull off that remarkable upset in Earl’s Court.


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