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Boxing Legend Turpin Could Get Statue

The life of a great boxer could be commemorated in Warwick if plans to erect a statue to Randolph Turpin are approved.

Born in 1928, he lived in Warwick and Leamington all his life and caused one of the biggest upsets in boxing history when he beat Sugar Ray Robinson to win the world middleweight title in 1951.

The most famous black sportsman of his generation, Turpin was mentioned in the millennium Sporting legends, which were announced last year.

He will shortly be inaugurated into the American Boxing Hall of Fame, and Warwick District Council is considering honouring him in his home town.

Fund-raisers have spent three years raising enough money for a statue to Turpin, who also was the British light-heavyweight champion in 1952, 1955 and 1956 and the Commonwealth light-heavyweight champion in 1952.

The 7ft statue is being commissioned by sculptor Karl Payne, who recently completed a similar statue of Sir Stanley Matthews for Stoke.

The original scheme had been to put the statue in Leamington next to the site of the Regent Hotel.

But delays with the redevelopment of the site meant the statue would not go up this year - the 50th anniversary of Turpin winning his world title.

Turpin, whose older brother Dick also won boxing titles, was a member of the Leamington Boyís Club and lived in Leamington and Warwick throughout his life, and the focus has now turned to Warwick to find a home for the statue in the town centre.

The idea is being supported by Warwick Chamber of Trade and Turpinís family.

Turpin only held the title for three months, losing a rematch to Robinson in ten rounds. When Turpin left boxing he declined into bankruptcy and died in 1966 when he committed suicide.

But the first fight stunned the boxing world as he out-pointed the ill-prepared champion, whose entourage included a midget, masseur, shoeshine man and a hairdresser, and inflicted a gash that required 14 stitches.

Such was the impact of his victory that it is believed that the statue will help attract tourists to the town.

Warwick District Councilís executive will decide whether to support the scheme at a meeting next Monday.
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CWN / Politics / Warwick District Council / 1 Feb 01

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM