Little Bits of History

Boxed In

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 28, 2012

Dick Turpin boxing

June 28, 1948: Dick Turpin beats Vince Hawkins for the middleweight championship title in Britain. He was the oldest of the three Turpin boxing brothers, although not the most famous. He was the first black man to gain the championship title for Britain and the Commonwealth. He was 27 at the time of the bout. Lionel, his father and a black man from British Guyana, married Beatrice Whitehouse, a white woman from England. Randolph was the most famous of the boxing brothers and another middleweight. Jack was the third brother and a featherweight.

Dick’s first professional fight was held on March 30, 1939 and was against Jimmy Griffiths. Turpin lost on points over ten rounds, but a rematch held on April 17 saw Turpin taking the win. Over the next decade, his win-loss record continued to show far more marks in the win column. In May 1948 he knocked out Richard Bos Murphy in the first round to become the Commonwealth champion. His next bout, on this day, found him squared off against Hawkins at Villa Park in Birmingham. Turpin won on points over fifteen rounds. He now held both titles.

Turpin began boxing in international venues and successfully defended his home titles for the next year. He lost the Commonwealth title in 1949 and the British title in 1950. His fight stats show 104 fights with 77 wins, 33 by knock out and the rest on points. He suffered 20 losses, six draws, and one no contest. He went from boxing to coaching his younger brother, Randy. Dick was almost eight years older than his brother. The younger man began training at the Leamington Boys’ Club, just as all the Turpin brothers had. Randy turned professional in 1946 at the age of eighteen.

Randy went on to become the best Middleweight boxer in Europe in the 1940s and 50s. His brother set up a string of contests for the young fighter. Randy won his first fifteen fights ten of them by knock outs, one TKO and the others on points – before he came to a draw. He went on to meet Sugar Ray Robinson on July 10, 1951 where Randy took the World Middleweight title after a fifteen round fight. Robinson won the title back in September of that year. Randy fought 75 times and won 66 bouts with 45 KO decisions. He lost eight times, five by KO and had 1 draw.

If you screw things up in tennis, it’s 15-love. If you screw up in boxing, it’s your ass. – Randall Tex Cobb

Boxing is the ultimate challenge. There’s nothing that can compare to testing yourself the way you do every time you step in the ring. – Sugar Ray Leonard

A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t. – Jack Dempsey

Attack is only one half of the art of boxing. – Georges Carpentier

Also on this day:

The Kelly Gang – In 1880, Ned Kelly was captured.
Going Home – In 2000, Elián González was sent back to Cuba.
Conformation Dog Show – In 1859, the first show was held.

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One Response

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  1. Bobby Dias said, on June 28, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Good to see something about an early black athlete, or anything, because many blacks now say they are the first to do whatever so they can make more money. My father would not watch Muhammed Ali(Cassius Clay) because Muhammed Ali kept saying he was the first great black boxer- my father had fought on the same bill as Dick Turpin 3 times and had watched him other times. I watched many films of Dick Turpin- to me Muhammed Ali was a sissy compared to Dick Turpin.


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