By Kevin Unitt Thursday 08 November 2012 Updated: 13/11 08:30
HE volunteered to step into the ring with Randolph Turpin – and not only lived to tell the tale but put the future world boxing champion on the ground.
Light has been shed this week on the fascinating story involving James 'Jimmy' Galvin – more then half a century on from when it happened - after his granddaughter got in touch with the Observer.
Back in the summer of 1951, just weeks before Leamington resident Turpin beat Sugar Ray Robinson to become Britain's first black world boxing champion, an exhibition showcase is believed to have been held in Leamington.
Members of the crowd were asked to come into the ring and last a round with Turpin in exchange for a cash prize.
Jimmy duly volunteered.
Granddaughter Gemma Galvin said: “My grandfather bravely - or stupidly depending on how you look at it - volunteered himself and actually threw a punch that knocked Turpin to the ground!
“He was very quick to defend Turpin by saying he got back up and pummelled him so hard he couldn't see properly for days, and returned to work that evening covered in bruises and a swollen face.
“But the next day the front page of a newspaper held the caption along the lines of 'Are we sending the wrong man to fight?' and talked about my grandfathers iron fist!
“Grandfather lived in the Leamington area, working for Ford, and always spoke fondly of it.”
Miss Galvin, a 27-year-old student in Sydney, Australia, got in touch with the paper after learning about the story from family members.
She revealed her ageing grandfather was now in extremely poor health and had not been given long to live, but remained a “stubborn and stoic individual” who refused to let illness get the better of him.
She added: “I am incredibly proud of my grandfather, and that pride is pushing me even further to find some solid information and evidence of this event with Randolph Turpin.
“It took him years to even share this story and I only heard about two years ago.
“I'm slightly ashamed to admit I had not even heard of Turpin before he told me of this, but afterwards, upon searching online, I'm in disbelief he is not more recognized globally as a sporting hero.”
Leamington-born world champion boxer Randolph Turpin. (s)
James 'Jimmy' Galvin (right) who paid the price for putting Randolph Turpin on the canvas, albeit briefly. (s)
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