On This Day, Dick Turpin Became The First Black British Boxing Champ

    This week, we learned that we will not see the two best heavyweights in the world tussle anytime soon. Through the snide and slick wording that the two parties have engaged in through the media, we have learned that boxing still hinges on relationships, communication, and history. 

    For British heavyweight phenom, Anthony Joshua, the road was laid way before his closest role model and British former boxing champion, Lennox Lewis. And it wasn’t from another heavyweight. 

    Boxing – Dick Turpin In Training (1949)

    Unissued / unused material. Dick Turpin in training for championship fight at Nelson Gelatine Works, Emscote, Warwick, Warwickshire . C/U boxing Turpin & training partner sparring in ring. Various shots Turpin lying down on back and doing exercises. Various shots Turpin using exercise bicycle. M/S Turpin doing rowing exercises.

    Enter Dick Turpin (77-20-6), an English middleweight boxer. He started his wave of accomplishments by becoming the Commonwealth middleweight champion and then becoming the first black fighter to win a British boxing title. Turpin was also the elder brother and trainer of the more famous Randolph Turpin, who became world middleweight champion after beating Sugar Ray Robinson in 1951.

    He was born in Leamington in 1920 to a black Guyanan father and white English mother. His father, Lionel Turpin and his mother, Beatrice Elizabeth Whitehouse had two others sons – Jack, who was a featherweight and Randolph, a middleweight boxer.

    He began boxing at age 12 and, following a promising start, turned professional at 18. 

    OLD SCHOOL CORNER Randolph Turpin and Dick Turpin

    Uploaded by BOXING BEATS & RHYMES on 2014-08-01.

    In 1948, Dick Turpin became the first non-white boxer to win a British title and the following year, he lost his British and Commonwealth middleweight belt to Albert Finch. His brother, Randolph avenged his brothers defeat and reclaimed the family name by knocking Finch out in five rounds in 1950. Soon afterward, he followed this feat by winning the European title by putting Dutchman Luc Van Dam on the canvas in just 48 seconds.

    Once he gained the attention of promoters in the States, a fight was arranged for him to fight the popular consensus greatest boxer of all time, Sugar Ray Robinson. 

    Dick Turbin and his family paved the way in the U.K. for today’s boxing royalty and a future that is now led by Anthony Joshua. 

    Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. RhettĀ hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.