Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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THOMAS , FREDERICK HALL ( Freddie Welsh ; 1886 - 1927 ), ex-light-weight boxing champion of the World .

Born 5 March 1886 at Pontypridd , son of John Thomas of Pontypridd and Elizabeth Thomas (née Hall) . He was educated at Long Ashton , Bristol , and from an early age showed an unusual inclination for athletics . During his school career he carried off several prizes for boxing , wrestling , running , and jumping .

His first noteworthy success in later life was when, at the age of 20, he knocked out Hock Heyes in the seventeenth round of a twenty-round contest for the Australian light-weight championship . Thereafter, he embarked upon a systematic collection of championships.

Beginning with the Welsh title, which he won from Johnnie Owens in 1907 , he went on to win the light-weight championship of England and Great Britain from Johnnie Summers , a success which carried with it the first gold challenge belt presented by lord Lonsdale . Three years later, in 1912 , Welsh defeated Hughie Mehegan and won the championship of the British Empire and a second Lonsdale Belt to which he soon added a third by defeating Matt Wells for the light-weight championship of Great Britain , thus regaining the title he had lost to Wells in 1911 . Then, in 1914 , Welsh reached the top of his class by defeating Willie Ritchie for the light-weight championship of the World .

Welsh performed many remarkable feats of boxing. In 1907 he fought and knocked out three opponents in one day. These were Evan Evans ( light-weight ), Charlie Weber ( welterweight ), and Gomer Morgan ( heavy-weight ).

In later years Welsh lived in America and became a director of the ‘health farm’ at Bayside , Long Island . He was also director-in-chief of the physical training department , Walter Reed Army General Hospital , Washington, D.C.

He died 28 July 1927 .

Sources:

  • The Times , 29 July 1927 ;
  • Western Mail , 29 July 1927 and 11 Nov. 1949 (Former Welsh Boxing Champions, No. 1, by Tudor James ).

Author:

Dr Moelwyn Idwal Williams, M.A., Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959