Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Farr v Louis

After writing a post yesterday that mentioned both Joe Louis and a Welsh heavyweight, I couldn't really let the matter drop without reference to Tonypandy-born Tommy Farr's 1937 fight with the "Brown Bomber". (By coincidence, it was Louis's first defence after taking the title from Jim Braddock who is currently being portrayed by Russell Crowe in Cinderella Man).

Like Jimmy Wilde and Jim Driscoll before him, Tommy Farr came up through the boxing booths. Almost unbelievably, he had his first official fight - a six round points win - when he was twelve. By the time he faced Louis he was still only 23 years old but had been involved in more than 200 fights if you include the boxing booth bouts. At the weigh in when Louis noticed the scars on his back, (which were a result of Farr's days in the coal mines) and asked him how he had got them, Tommy is supposed to have replied, "Oh, they're nothing, I got those fighting tigers!"

It is said that everyone in Wales listened to the fight. I remember Kevin's Dad many years ago assuring me that Farr had won and been robbed in a shameful home town decision.

"How can you be sure?", I asked.

"I heard it on the radio", he said.

Well courtesy of BBC Wales you can hear the last couple of minutes radio commmentary on the fight again nearly 70 years later. It sure sounds like he was winning to me.


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