Percy Jones (boxer)
Rhondda's Percy Jones (26 December 1892 – 25 December 1922) became the first Welshman to win a world boxing title when he took the World Flyweight Championship from Bill Ladbury in 1914. Appropriately born on Boxing Day, the diminutive Jones also took the British and European Flyweight Championships from Ladbury in the same match.
Raised in a Porth coal mining family, Jones made his name at a local level, fighting in boxing booths, before winning the first 27 fights of his professional career. He successfully defended his World Flyweight belt once, against Eugene Criqui - a man who had beaten him six weeks before in a non-title bout. This time, with the European & World titles at stake Jones beat Criqui with a points decision over 20 rounds. Jones was knocked out in his next non-title bout by Joe Symonds and lost the belt to Tancy Lee in the second defence of his titles prompting a move to bantamweight. Jones had had difficulties staying within the Flyweight weight limit. He engaged in catchweight non-title bouts; with mixed fortunes. After again fighting Criqui, this time at bantamweight, the Porth fighter never again made the flyweight limit.
His last contest was a fifth round KO of the man he took the World title from, Bill Ladbury, in 1914. In his short, illustrious career Percy Jones had reached the pinnacle of his sport and established himself as one of Wales' finest ever boxers.
World War I interrupted his boxing career and Percy enlisted in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He was serving as a sergeant when he was badly wounded in the leg. After almost 30 operations to save the leg it was eventually amputated. Jones was also badly affected by poison gas.
He died of trench fever in 1922 on Christmas Day, one day short of his 30th birthday.
Jones is recorded as having 52 professional fights, with 46 wins, 3 loses and 3 draws.