Boxers both past and present have gathered at the famous Randolph Turpin statue in Warwick for the unveiling of a new plaque which pays tribute to those who played a part in its story.
The unveiling at the statue in Market Place on Monday evening marked the 66th anniversary of Turpin’s legendary World Middleweight title win against Sugar Ray Robinson in London in 1951.
The plaque was unveiled by Peter Lowe, 86, of Radford Semele, a former professional who sparred with Randolph and his older brothers Dick and Jack at the Nelson Gym in Warwick.
Mr Lowe, who donated £250 towards the new plaque, said: “They were hard men and you had to train hard to fight them.
“If you did hit Randolph he would knock you through the middle rope - he didn’t like getting hit while we were sparring.
“I remember listening to Randolph’s fight on a wireless at a pub in Priors Marston and we didn’t think he was going to win at the time but when he was announced as Middleweight Champion of the World we got a bit drunk actually.
“I was so pleased for the Turpins on that night and we all got on great. Doing this has brought back a lot of memories.
“Seeing that statue there and being able to do this means I can die happy now.”
Randolph was born in Leamington but grew up in Warwick.
His statue was unveiled by Jack Turpin and former British, Commonwealth and European Heavyweight Champion Sir Henry Cooper on the July 10 2001 - the 50th anniversary of the famous win.
The statue’s plinth now has three plaques with one commemorating its unveiling, the second providing some background about Randolph and the new one listing the boxing achievements of the three Turpin brothers and naming those who contributed to landmark in regard to it being created or unveiled.
Adrian Bush, chairman and coach for Clearys Boxing Gym in Leamington, said it took him five years to raise the money for the statue, and then donations for the plinth, which cost about £30,000 in total.
He said he wanted to have the new plaque added as a way to thank all those who supported him in paying tribute to a sporting hero.
“It has taken a few years to get it to the end.
“When the statue was unveiled Market Square was packed with thousands of people, we had the Cubbington Band playing music from the Rocky films and we were live on BBC Radio.
“That new plaque shows all the big names in boxing who turned up on the day like, Ernie Shavers, Richie Woodall and Alan Minter, it was nice how it turned out.
“Through 20 years of being a boxer and a coach myself people used to always ask ‘why is there nothing up for Randolph?’. He won the World Title, caused the biggest upset in boxing history and is ranked at number four as the best boxers to have ever come out of this country.”
*Those who contributed to the statue and named on the plaque are as follows: Adrian Bush, the Randolph Turpin Memorial Fund (RTMF) chairman, the late Betty Turpin who was the RTMF’s treasurer, Simone Bush the RTMF secretary, former Middleweight World Champion Alan Minter, Former World Number 1 Heavyweight Contender Ernie Shavers, Former Super Middleweight World Champion , British Light Heavyweight Champion Neil Simpson, Former GB Powerlifter Tony Baker, Chris Donnachie, Sophie Taylor, Peter J Starley, Steelcraft, Tony ‘Banger’ Walsh, Alan Elki and Warwick District Council and all those who contributed to and supported the RTMF.