World Boxing News and Pitch Publishing have teamed up once again to give fans the chance to get their hands on two highly-recommended boxing books.
‘Lonsdale’s Belt’ and ‘A Fire Burns Within’ are a must-read for the avid boxing enthusiast and you can be in with the opportunity to own one simply by sharing the post on Facebook or Twitter.
For more than one hundred years the Lonsdale Belt, first awarded in 1909 by the legendary National Sporting Club and since 1936 by the British Boxing Board of Control, has encircled the waists of all the great names in British boxing history: Freddie Welsh and Ted ‘Kid’ Lewis; Benny Lynch and Jimmy Wilde; Freddie Mills, Randolph Turpin and Terry Downes; Henry Cooper, Barry McGuigan, Lennox Lewis and Joe Calzaghe.
Drawing upon a wealth of sources – interviews and reminiscences, boxing-board minutes and programmes, contemporary magazines and newspapers, even archive film, sports historian John Harding tells the absorbing and fascinating story of the belt’s origins and development and how the system the belt represents has continued to provide an unambiguous measure of excellence in the chaotic and often murky world of British professional boxing.
In Lonsdale’s Belt you will discover:
• The origins of championship boxing belts; the role of the old National Sporting Club in using the Lonsdale belt to establish boxing’s legality at the dawn of the 20th century.
• The controversies and the battles between promoters, managers and administrators that almost destroyed boxing in the 1930s after the British Boxing Board of Control was formed.
• The rise and fall of British boxing’s premier promoters such as Jeff Dicksen, Jack Solomons, Harry Levene, Frank Warren and Barry Hearn.
• How every great British boxer has fought for a Lonsdale belt, but some great champs – Joe Calzaghe, Frank Bruno, Ricky Hatton – have come to regret not securing one.
• Who are the outright belt winners? Who won a belt outright the fastest? Who won Lonsdale belts at different weights? How many brothers won belts? Fathers and sons?
• How black boxers came to be banned for decades from fighting for the belt.
• How legendary champs such as Jimmy Wilde and Freddie Welsh fell on hard times – but the promise of a ‘pension’ that accompanied winning a belt for keeps was never kept.
• Where almost all the precious original belts have gone – some stolen, some sold, some lost – and the stories behind them.
• Why the Lonsdale belt remains the prize most coveted by British boxers. How much the prize means today – and has come to the aid of many troubled young men seeking redemption in the ring.
John Harding is the author of Lonsdale’s Belt: The Story of Boxing’s Greatest Prize, first published in 1994 and updated more than two decades later. A sports historian and literary biographer of over 30 years’ experience, he has chronicled the lives of footballers Billy Meredith and Alex James, boxer Jack ‘Kid’ Berg and playwright Shelagh Delaney among others. He writes regularly for publications such as Blizzard and When Saturday Comes.
A FIRE BURNS WITHIN
A Fire Burns Within is the compelling tale of an all-time boxing great who fought his way to stardom from the mean streets of the Puerto Rican capital San Juan.
Wilfredo ‘Bazooka’ Gomez discovered his love of boxing as he learned the noble art to help him fight off bullies as he walked the streets of the capital. Showing great promise in the ring, he soon rose to prominence, and in the late 1970s and early 1980s set a blistering pace that many boxers wanted to emulate – but few could equal.
The three-time world title winner is best remembered for his 17 consecutive title fight defences – but his story as a man and fighter runs much deeper. Including interviews with Gomez, those close to him, the fighters he fought and those who watched his remarkable career unfold, A Fire Burns Within reviews one of the finest boxing careers. It details Gomez’s dramatic rise to fame, but also tells the largely untold story of the struggles he faced after his fight career ended, and how his mettle was tested in a completely different way.
A Fire Burns Within reveals…
• In 1974, Gomez went to the Amateur Boxing World Championships (AIBA) in Cuba, and heroically knocked out all four opponents. Cuban officials tried to get him to stay in the country.
• When Gomez went down in the first round against Dong Kyun Yum in 1977, all of Puerto Rico fell eerily silent. Then Gomez rose to knock Yum out in the twelfth round. He became world champion of the recently created 122-pound division.
• In October 1978, Wilfredo, 21, doused the flames of the Mexican knockout king, Carlos Zarate. Few had faith that he could unsettle the experienced Mexican, but he did so with a viciousness that belied his calm demeanor outside the ring.
• Along with his legendary reign at 122, Gomez broke Roberto Duran’s record of 10 consecutive knockouts with a victory over Nicky Perez at Madison Square Garden. Gomez would eventually make seven more KO defenses to earn the honors of the best 122-pounder ever.
• After getting beaten by Salvador Sanchez in 1981, Gomez apologized to his people for his performance. Nearly a year later, Gomez, distraught, learned about Sanchez’s tragic death, stopped training, and traveled to Mexico to place flowers at Sanchez’s gravesite.
• In 1982, Gomez faced Mexican Lupe Pintor in an unforgettable Fight of the Year brawl. By stopping Pintor in the 14th round, Gomez redeemed himself in the eyes of his followers.
• In 1995, Wilfredo’s glorious career ended with his induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, where he confirmed what everyone knew all along – “I was born to fight.”
Christian Giudice is a boxing writer whose previous works include Hands of Stone: The Life and Legend of Roberto Duran and Beloved Warrior: The Rise and Fall of Alexis Arguello. His passion for boxing stems from watching fights in Atlantic City in the 1980s with his father, and he now writes for boxing.com and his own website christiangiudice.com. In addition to his work covering boxing in Latin America, Giudice also teaches English at Parkwood High School in Monroe.
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