Joe Bygraves

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Joe Bygraves
Joe Bygraves - Boxer .jpg
Statistics
Rated at Heavyweight
Nationality Jamaican
Born (1931-05-25)25 May 1931
Kingston, Jamaica
Died 16 January 2012(2012-01-16) (aged 80)
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 72
Wins 42
Wins by KO 22
Losses 28
Draws 2
No contests 0

Joe Bygraves (26 May 1931 – 16 January 2012) was a Jamaican heavyweight boxer. Bygraves turned professional in 1953, and after an impressive early career he successfully challenged Kitione Lave for the vacant Commonwealth Heavyweight belt in 1956. Bygraves defended the title on three occasions, knocking-out Henry Cooper and holding Dick Richardson to a draw before losing the championship to Joe Erskine. Bygraves immigrated to Britain as a youth but did not take British citizenship until the end of his fighting career in 1967.

Boxing career[edit]

Bygraves was born into a large family of 11 siblings, in Kingston, Jamaica in 1931.[1] He immigrated to Britain at the age of 15 and settled in Liverpool. He began his amateur career at the age of 17 first as a light heavyweight and then moving up to the heavyweight division.[1] He was successful at both weights, winning amateur county titles.[1]

Bygraves turned professional in 1953, managed by Johnny Campbell,[2] his first paid encounter was against Don Maxwell on 12 February. The fight lasted just 65 seconds, Bygraves winning by knockout. Bygraves won the next five fights, six and eight round encounters, mainly on points decisions, but he was stopped for the first time in his professional career by Joe Crickmar in a novice heavyweight competition. Despite the loss Bygraves' career continued to impress and by the end of 1954 he had accumulated 24 wins to only 4 loses. His final fight of 1954 was a loss by points decision to Polly Smith, a fighter he had beaten just two months prior.

Bygraves began 1955 in the same way he ended 1954, with a loss. After several months away from the ring, Bygraves returned to face rising British fighter Henry Cooper. The eight round scheduled fight went the distance, with Cooper given the decision.[3] Bygraves followed this with a string of four wins, including a victory over Tongan Kitione Lave, and his first fight outside the United Kingdom, a technical knockout of Hugo Salfeld in Germany. Bygraves then travelled to Italy, for a string of three fights. He lost the first to European Boxing Champion Franco Cavicchi when he was disqualified in the eighth round, but then took two victories when he beat Aldo Pellegrini in Milan and Uber Bacilieri in Bologna.

On 24 February 1956, Bygraves travelled to Sweden to face the then unbeaten Ingemar Johansson. The eight round contest ended in a points decision for Johansson.[4] Two months later, Bygraves was back in a British ring, facing ex-British heavyweight champion Jack Gardner, whom he stopped in the second round. A second successive win, this time against Marcel Limage in Cardiff, gave Bygraves a shot at the vacant Commonwealth Heavyweight title. Despite living in Britain for near ten years, Bygraves was not allowed to fight for the British titles as he was not born there. His opponent for the title fight was Kitione Lave, who he had beaten the previous year. Held at the Empire Pool in London on 26 June 1956, the match was scheduled for 15 rounds, the first time Bygraves had contested a fight of this length. The bout went the distance, with the judges declaring Bygraves the victor, and new Commonwealth champion.

Bygraves lost his next fight to American Wayne Bethea, and this was followed by a win over another ex-British Heavyweight champion, Johnny Williams. His first title defence was on 19 February 1957, against Henry Cooper. The fight is regarded as one of Bygraves best of his career, stopping Cooper via technical knockout in the ninth round.[1] Just three months later, Bygraves was defended the Commonwealth belt again, on this occasion the challenger was Welshman Dick Richardson. The fight ended in a draw, and as holder Bygraves retained his title.[5] His third and final defence of his Commonwealth title again came from Wales, this time against Joe Erskine. As with the Richardson fight, the bout went the full fifteen rounds, but on this occasion the decision went to Erskine, stripping Bygraves of his title.

After the Erskine fight, Bygraves struggled for success, and in more and more fights he ended as the loser. He still faced some notable fighters included loses to Americans Willie Pastrano and Zora Folley, and another failed attempt at Ingemar Johansson. One of his last wins was over Olympic gold medalist Franco De Piccoli in 1963, and in 1965 he failed to beat Canadian heavyweight champion George Chuvalo at the Albert Hall in London. His last recorded professional bout was against Hector Eduardo Corletti on 20 March 1967.

Professional boxing record[edit]

42 Wins (22 knockouts, 20 decisions), 28 Losses (7 knockouts, 21 decisions), 2 Draws [1]
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Loss 17-2-5 Argentina Hector Eduardo Corletti PTS 10 20 Mar 1967 United Kingdom London Hilton, Mayfair, London 48.5-49.75.
Loss 33-10-2 Canada George Chuvalo PTS 10 7 Dec 1965 United Kingdom Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London
Loss 29-3-1 Germany Gerhard Zech PTS 10 6 Mar 1965 Germany Neue Sporthalle, Hannover, Lower Saxony
Win 36-11-5 Germany Albert Westphal KO 1 13 Feb 1965 Germany Ernst Merck Halle, Hamburg Westphal knocked out at 1:00 of the first round.
Loss 10-2-1 United Kingdom Billy Walker DQ 6 28 Jan 1964 United Kingdom The Olympia, Kensington, London Bygraves disqualified for a low blow.
Loss 25-1-1 Germany Gerhard Zech TKO 9 8 Nov 1963 Germany Sportpalast, Schoeneberg, Berlin
Loss 45-4-3 Italy Santo Amonti PTS 10 13 Sep 1963 Italy Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio
Loss 15-10-2 United Kingdom Ray Shiel DQ 5 22 Aug 1963 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside Bygraves disqualified for headbutting.
Win 25-1 Italy Franco De Piccoli KO 5 7 Jun 1963 Italy Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Lazio
Loss 18-2-1 United States Bill Nielsen TKO 6 21 Apr 1963 Sweden Johanneshovs Isstadion, Stockholm
Draw 43-20-5 Netherlands Wim Snoek PTS 10 8 Apr 1963 Netherlands Rotterdam
Loss 33-2 Germany Karl Mildenberger PTS 3 30 Nov 1962 Germany Festhalle Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Hesse
Loss 24-17-2 United States Wayne Bethea UD 10 22 Sep 1962 Jamaica The National Stadium, Kingston, Jamaica 91-92, 95-98, 95-97.
Loss 22-2 Sweden Ingemar Johansson TKO 7 9 Feb 1962 Sweden Maesshallen Sports Hall, Gothenburg Referee stopped the bout at 2:08 of the seventh round.
Win 9-8 Nigeria Alex Barrow KO 2 4 Dec 1961 United Kingdom Granby Halls, Leicester, Leicestershire
Win 16-0 Germany Gerhard Zech TKO 4 3 Nov 1961 Germany Ernst Merck Halle, Hamburg
Loss 62-9-3 Italy Franco Cavicchi PTS 10 27 Jun 1960 Italy Bologna, Emilia-Romagna
Loss 16-1 United States Joe Hemphill PTS 8 18 May 1960 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois
Loss 26-1 United States Roy Harris UD 10 25 Aug 1959 United States Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas
Loss 23-0 Italy Giacomo Bozzano PTS 10 19 Apr 1959 Italy Velodromo Vigorelli, Milan, Lombardy
Win 5-2 Tonga Feleti Fred Kaho TKO 7 2 Mar 1959 United Kingdom Farrer Street Stadium, Middlesbrough, Yorkshire
Loss 41-3-2 United States Zora Folley TKO 9 24 Nov 1958 United Kingdom Granby Halls, Leicester, Leicestershire Referee stopped the bout at 2:59 of the ninth round.
Loss 44-5-5 United States Willie Pastrano PTS 10 21 Apr 1958 United Kingdom Granby Halls, Leicester, Leicestershire
Win 8-1 Ghana Joey Armstrong TKO 3 10 Feb 1958 United Kingdom Leeds, Yorkshire
Loss 31-1-1 Wales Joe Erskine PTS 15 25 Nov 1957 United Kingdom Granby Halls, Leicester, Leicestershire Commonwealth Heavyweight Title.
Win 31-8-2 Tonga Kitione Lave PTS 10 18 Sep 1957 Wales Pontypridd
Loss 39-6-6 Germany Heinz Neuhaus DQ 6 15 Jun 1957 Germany Westfalenhallen, Dortmund, North Rhine-Westphalia
Draw 21-4-1 Wales Dick Richardson PTS 15 27 May 1957 Wales Maindy Stadium, Cardiff Commonwealth Heavyweight Title.
Loss 33-10-2 Canada George Chuvalo PTS 10 7 Dec 1965 United Kingdom Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London
Win 14-3 United Kingdom Henry Cooper KO 9 19 Feb 1957 United Kingdom Earls Court Arena, Kensington, London Commonwealth Heavyweight Title.
Win 60-10-4 Wales Johnny Williams TKO 6 16 Nov 1956 United Kingdom Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, Belle Vue, Manchester
Loss 11-4-2 United States Wayne Bethea TKO 5 24 Sep 1956 United States St. Nicholas Arena, New York City Bygraves did not come out for the sixth round.
Win 29-6-2 Tonga Kitione Lave PTS 15 26 Jun 1956 United Kingdom Empire Pool, Wembley, London Commonwealth Heavyweight Title.
Win 34-9-1 Belgium Marcel Limage RTD 8 7 May 1956 Wales Maindy Stadium, Cardiff
Win 28-5 United Kingdom Jack Gardner TKO 2 24 Apr 1956 United Kingdom Earls Court Arena, Kensington, London
Loss 12-0 Sweden Ingemar Johansson PTS 8 24 Feb 1956 Sweden Masshallen, Gothenburg
Win 17-11-6 Italy Uber Bacilieri PTS 10 23 Jan 1956 Italy Bologna, Emilia-Romagna
Win 19-5 Italy Aldo Pellegrini KO 1 17 Dec 1955 Italy Palasport di San Siro, Milan, Lombardy
Loss 38-2-2 Italy Franco Cavicchi DQ 8 31 Oct 1955 Italy Palazzo dello Sport, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna
Win 25-4-2 Tonga Kitione Lave PTS 8 19 Sep 1955 United Kingdom Perry Barr Stadium, Birmingham, West Midlands
Win 15-6-10 Germany Hugo Salfeld TKO 5 4 Sep 1955 Germany Westfalenhallen, Dortmund, North Rhine-Westphalia
Win 17-3-1 United Kingdom Peter Bates PTS 8 6 Jun 1955 United Kingdom Nottingham Ice Stadium, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire
Win 12-3 United Kingdom Eddie Hearn KO 4 5 May 1955 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside
Loss 8-0 United Kingdom Henry Cooper PTS 8 18 Apr 1955 United Kingdom Manor Place Baths, Walworth, London
Loss 14-12-3 Bermuda Ed "Polly" Smith PTS 8 4 Nov 1954 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside
Win 30-10 United Kingdom Fred Powell PTS 8 25 Oct 1954 Wales Carmarthen Market Hall, Carmarthen
Win 14-11-3 Bermuda Ed "Polly" Smith PTS 8 12 Oct 1954 United Kingdom Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London
Win 20-21-1 Northern Ireland Paddy Slavin PTS 8 2 Oct 1954 Northern Ireland King's Hall, Belfast
Win 3-5 Trinidad and Tobago Clair Redmond KO 3 19 Aug 1954 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside
Win 6-1 United Kingdom Peter Bates PTS 8 2 Jul 1954 United Kingdom Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, Belle Vue, Manchester
Win 17-10-1 United Kingdom Frank Bell PTS 8 30 Apr 1954 United Kingdom Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, Belle Vue, Manchester
Win 20-19-1 Northern Ireland Paddy Slavin PTS 8 14 Apr 1954 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside
Win 6-22-2 United Kingdom Terry O'Connor TKO 3 30 Mar 1954 United Kingdom Earls Court Arena, Kensington, London
Win 7-4 United Kingdom Joe Crickmar PTS 8 18 Mar 1954 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside
Win 23-4 United Kingdom Terry McDonald KO 1 12 Mar 1954 United Kingdom Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, Belle Vue, Manchester
Loss 63-15-5 United Kingdom Albert Finch PTS 8 23 Feb 1954 United Kingdom Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London
Win 20-18-1 Northern Ireland Paddy Slavin PTS 8 11 Feb 1954 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside
Win 15-16-3 Jamaica Simon Templar PTS 8 18 Dec 1953 United Kingdom Tower Circus, Blackpool, Lancashire
Win 28-8 United Kingdom Fred Powell TKO 7 10 Nov 1953 United Kingdom Empress Hall, Earl's Court, Kensington, London
Win 10-3-1 United Kingdom Cliff Purnell KO 2 29 Oct 1953 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside
Win 5-0 United Kingdom Peter Toch TKO 3 20 Oct 1953 United Kingdom Streatham Ice Arena, Streatham, London, England
Win 18-7 Scotland George Stern DQ 3 8 Oct 1953 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside
Loss 9-3-1 United Kingdom Cliff Purnell PTS 6 17 Sep 1953 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside
Win 10-3 Scotland Hugh Ferns PTS 6 3 Sep 1953 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside
Win 2-6 United Kingdom Alex Roman TKO 1 13 Aug 1953 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside
Loss 5-3 United Kingdom Joe Crickmar TKO 5 16 Jul 1953 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside
Loss 4-2 United Kingdom Joe Crickmar KO 2 9 Jun 1953 United Kingdom White City Stadium, White City, London Novice Tournament.
Win 7-15 United Kingdom Peter McMann TKO 1 14 May 1953 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside
Win 12-13-1 United Kingdom Wally Curtis PTS 8 23 Apr 1953 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside
Win 16-6 United Kingdom Ken Wyatt PTS 6 9 Apr 1953 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside
Win 4-15-4 Jamaica Les Johnson PTS 6 26 Mar 1953 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside
Win 8-1 Scotland Hugh Ferns PTS 6 12 Mar 1953 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside
Win 1-1 United Kingdom Don Maxwell KO 1 12 Feb 1953 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Brown, Leroy (12 February 2012). "Former boxing champion Joe Bygraves passes on". The Gleaner. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "Johnny Campbell - The man who put Birkenhead on the map". boxingbiographies.com. 31 December 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Samuel, John (1 May 2011). "Sir Henry Cooper obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "Ingemar Johansson". The Telegraph. 1 February 2009. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  5. ^ Mee, Bob (16 July 1999). "Obituary: Dick Richardson". The Independent. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 

External links[edit]