David Pearce (boxer)

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David Pearce
David 'Bomber' Pearce.jpeg
Pearce in 1983
Nickname(s) 'Bomber'
Rated at Heavyweight
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Nationality Welsh
Born (1959-05-08)8 May 1959
Pillgwenlly, Newport, Monmouthshire, UK
Died 20 May 2000(2000-05-20) (aged 41)
Stance Orthodox

David 'Bomber' Pearce (8 May 1959 – 20 May 2000) was a British heavyweight boxing champion.

Biographical details[edit]

Pearce, born in Pillgwenlly, Newport, Monmouthshire, was one of nine children: seven brothers, six of whom boxed professionally, and one who was a professional dancer, and two sisters.

He boxed out of St Josephs ABC in Pillgwenlly, Newport and coached junior and senior boxers at Alway ABC in Newport before his death.

Soon after his final fight, against Percell Davies in Michigan, Pearce became ill, developing epilepsy, David 'Bomber' Pearce died 10 years later due to SADS (Sudden Adult Death Syndrome). The South Wales Argus described him as "Newport's most famous boxer." [1] Around 2,000 people attended his funeral in Newport at Stow Hill Cemetery.[2]

Boxing career[edit]

  • Pearce won the Welsh and British Heavyweight Boxing Titles in September 1983; Although the Welsh Title was won on the night, the title had to be relinquished by Pearce, due to his commitments of becoming British Heavyweight Champion.[3]
  • In March 1984 Pearce knocked down Lucien Rodriguez twice in Limoges for the European Heavyweight Title.[4]
  • Pearce was ranked 7th in the Heavyweight World Rankings.[citation needed]
  • Pearce retired in 1984 and then returned to fight in the United States 6 Years later.[5]
  • Michael "Jack" Johnson was ranked number 5 with the WBA when he fought David Pearce.
  • Pearce was ranked No.3 in the WBC World Cruiserweight Rankings after the KO of Micheal "Jack" Johnson.
  • Pearce was due to fight Buster Douglas in Columbus, Ohio, USA but was pulled out whilst warming up on 3 hrs notice.[6]
  • Pearce came 2nd in Welsh Personality of the year.[7]
  • Steve Lillis the boxing journalist and co-presenter of Box-Nation voted David 'Bomber' Pearce in his Top Ten most Underrated British boxing champions (Lonsdale Belt Holders) of all time.[8]
  • Pearce weighed exactly the same weight as Johnny Nelson when he fought Dennis Andries, Pearce's KO of Dennis Andries was 15 years earlier.[9]
  • Pearce suffered two setbacks on his road to the British title. A loss to Neville Meade when still a raw teenager, and to John Rafferty, Pearce had knocked down Rafferty four times before he was disqualified in the 3rd round for punching after the referee had called break.
  • Pearce fought and stopped Dennis Andries, the three times WBC world light heavyweight world champion, in the 7th round. Dennis Andries went 6 years before being stopped again! this time by the great Thomas Hearns. In the 10th round.[9]
  • Pearce, challenged and vowed to avenge his loss to Neville Meade to win the Welsh and British Heavyweight titles.[4]
  • Pearce is noted for boxing in the last 15-round British championship bout, as the contracts for the bout were finalised before the new 12-round format was introduced.[5]
  • The European heavyweight title fight saw Pearce knock down Lucien Rodriguez the long serving European Champion twice, in the 8th round. Both the counts were over 10 seconds, 13 and 17 seconds respectively, the most experienced judge scored the fight 114-115 and the referee score card read 115-114 for Pearce. Some observers felt Pearce was very unlucky not to get the verdict regarding the knockdowns including Reg Gutteridge.[10]
  • Lucien Rodriquez was quoted by the French Press that " 'David "Bomber" Pearce was the toughest man he had faced in his whole boxing career, he had an Iron Chin, and would walk you down taking a lot of punches just to unload his bombs, but he had devastating power! " He also added "Pearce did what two World Champions couldn't do" This allowed Pearce, to take opponents out with one shot either to the head or body effectively.
  • Pearce was due to fight Buster Douglas and Leon Spinks at big events in America and Canada respectively. Although contracts were signed, the Leon Spinks fight fell through with 24hrs to go.[11]

Other notable boxing facts[edit]

  • Pearce ran up the steps of the Newport Transporter Bridge as a training aid.
  • Pearce gave away at least 2 stone (28 lb; 13 kg) to most opponents during his career.[12]
  • Pearce won two Heavyweight Prizefighter Tournaments during his career.[13]
  • Pearce sparred 20 rounds with Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion Trevor Berbick in the lead up to Pearce's British Heavyweight Title fight.[14]
  • Joe Bugner was floored by David Pearce during a sparring session, before a possible bout with Pearce for his comeback fight. This reulted in Bugner choosing another opponent.[15]
  • Pearce sparred with Lennox Lewis, in the lead up to Lewis becoming British Heavyweight Champion.[15]
  • When Pearce had to retire due to an abnormality on the brain, he was offered a contract to fight Lenny McLean, the guvnor in a Heavyweight Unlicenced British Title Fight, but McLean declined to fight.
  • When Pearce retired, Bartley Gorman offered to fight him, for the unlicensed British Heavyweight Title for £25,000. Gorman, said if he had won the fight he would have fought for the world bare knuckle title. In his memoirs of an undefeated Bare Knuckle Champion of Great Britain and Ireland, "King of the Gypsies" that Gorman used the phrase "if he won.."[16]
  • Harry Mullan the sportswriter, was derogatory about Pearce's boxing style in some articles, this had a negative effect at the time. He did however praise Pearce in later years for his bravery and his achievements.[17]

Notable quotes and tributes[edit]

  • "Pearce is all action, he is a great crowd pleaser, he comes in flinging punches, cross armed in defence a lot like Rocky Marciano used to and boy does he throw them" "He certainly does unleash them" "He is a born fighter" – Reg Gutteridge – During the Felipe Rodriquez, fight at the Royal Albert Hall, London.[18]
  • "Pearce has won the fight and Pearce has gone berserk, he can hardly believe it!" "23 year old David Pearce,the Bomber they call him from Newport and he has bombed ferris out of the British heavyweight race!" "Well that was one of the most savagely, raw, attacking performances we have seen from a British Heavyweight in many years. That's a little bit like the old days of Dick Richardson and he came from Newport too!" – Reg Gutteridge. Post - David Pearce Final eliminator at the Royal Albert Hall, London.[19][20]
  • "I have never trained so hard in all my life. That was for my father, the people of Newport and also for myself." – Pearce, after his British Heavyweight Title fight at St Davids Hall, Cardiff.[20]
  • Frank Maloney said of Pearce: "They dont make them like him anymore! Pearce would have fought anybody!"[21]
  • Dick Richardson said: "David should have gone to London, he would have been a superstar. He is the most exciting heavyweight we have seen in many years".[20]

Professional boxing record[edit]

18 Wins (13 knockouts, 4 decisions), 3 Losses (2 knockouts, 1 decisions), 1 Draw[22]
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Loss 13-9 United States Percell Davis TKO 8 10 December 1990 Michigan Hyatt Regency Hotel, Dearborn, Michigan, United States
Loss 36-8-1 France Lucien Rodriguez PTS 12 30 March 1984 France Palais des Sports de Beaublanc, Limoges, Haute-Vienne, France EBU Heavyweight Title.
Win 11-2 United States Michael Johnson TKO 5 28 January 1984 England Victoria Hall, Hanley, Staffordshire, United Kingdom
Win 20-12-1 Wales Neville Meade TKO 9 22 September 1983 Wales St David's Hall, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom BBBofC British Heavyweight Title. Referee stopped the bout at 2:57 of the ninth round.
Win 35-4-2 Belgium Albert Syben KO 1 7 April 1983 England Lyceum Ballroom, The Strand, London, United Kingdom Syben knocked out at 2:25 of the first round.
Draw 24-5-3 Spain Felipe Rodriguez PTS 10 7 December 1982 England Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London, United Kingdom 98-98.
Win 20-5 Northern Ireland Gordon Ferris KO 5 1 June 1982 England Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London, United Kingdom BBBofC British Heavyweight Title Eliminator. Ferris knocked out at 1:44 of the fifth round.
Win 13-4-1 United Kingdom Dennis Andries TKO 7 12 October 1981 England Bloomsbury Centre Hotel, Bloomsbury, London, United Kingdom Referee stopped the bout at 2:15 of the seventh round.
Win 15-9 United Kingdom Ishaq Hussein TKO 1 8 June 1981 England Porter Tun Rooms, Moorgate, United Kingdom
Win 4-0 United Kingdom Larry McDonald KO 3 16 March 1981 England National Sporting Club, Piccadilly, London, United Kingdom
Win 15-27-1 Wales Bonny McKenzie PTS 8 2 March 1981 England National Sporting Club, Piccadilly, London, United Kingdom 79.5-78.5.
Win 2-1 Scotland John Rafferty DQ 3 26 January 1981 Scotland St.Andrew's Sporting Club, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom Rafferty disqualified at 1:32 of the third round due to hitting a downed opponent.
Loss 14-11-1 Wales Neville Meade TKO 2 22 January 1980 Wales Double Diamond Club, Caerphilly, United Kingdom BBBofC Wales Heavyweight Title. Referee stopped the bout at 2:48 of the second round.
Win 8-3 United Kingdom Denton Ruddock TKO 7 30 October 1979 Wales Double Diamond Club, Caerphilly, United Kingdom
Win 8-12 United Kingdom Theo Josephs TKO 2 5 July 1979 Wales Afan Lido, Port Talbot, United Kingdom
Win 7-3 Wales Winston Allen PTS 6 3 April 1979 Wales Caerphilly, United Kingdom
Win 11-14 Wales Bonny McKenzie PTS 8 19 February 1979 England Mayfair Sporting Club, Mayfair, London, United Kingdom 79-78.
Win 1-0-1 United Kingdom Mal Tetley KO 1 22 January 1979 England Mayfair, London, United Kingdom
Win 4-3 United Kingdom Bobby Hennessey TKO 2 22 January 1979 England Mayfair, London, United Kingdom
Win 6-10 United Kingdom Theo Josephs PTS 8 11 December 1978 Devon Plymouth, Devon, United Kingdom
Win 0-1 United Kingdom Bob Bleau KO 1 1 December 1978 Kent Minster-in-Thanet, United Kingdom
Win -- United Kingdom Osborne Taylor TKO 1 15 November 1978 Wales Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, United Kingdom


Pearce Brothers[edit]

  • Walter 'Bimbo' Pearce was a professional boxer, who won the Welsh Heavyweight Title in 1973.[23]
  • Raymond Pearce a middleweight fought the three times WBC world champion Dennis Andries.[24] Raymond is now a United States Citizen and an Elvis impersonator.[25]
  • Gary Pearce fought for the Welterweight, and Light Middleweight Titles. Gary Pearce also fought Hans Henrick Palm, the long-standing European Champion, Gary took him the distance in Randers, Denmark, losing by 1/2 point while dropping the Champion in the 6th round. One Story about Gary Pearce, which will go down in Boxing Folklore was when Gary was enjoying a night out at a professional boxing show with friends, when Frank Warren the respected boxing promoter asked him to fight Gary Knight, who's opponent had pulled out late notice. Gary accepted and made his way from the crowd, he borrowed kit from all the other fighters on the show! He then fought the then number 1 British Welterweight Gary Knight. Gary struggled in the early rounds, and was repeatedly sick in the corner. Gary fought back brilliantly in the fight and ended up losing by 1/2 point over 10 rounds in what local newspapers had him winning.[26]
  • Ronald Pearce was a professional boxer.[27]
  • Nigel Pearce had five fights as a professional boxer
  • Simon Pearce the seventh brother starred in Starlight Express, Cats, and Mousetrap musicals in the West End. Simon starred as Mr Soft in the TV Advert. Simon was offered the chance to front the band Steps but turned it down. His friends Included Liza Minnelli and Frank Sinatra.[28]
  • Luke Pearce won the Lightweight Armed Forces services tournament Title in the year 2000, also representing the British Army Boxing Team, winning the Army boxing title. He fought and beat Chris Harman in the Welsh Guards Boxing Championships. Chris went on to win the WABA Welsh Heavyweight Title, and fight Mark Potter for the UK Cage Fighting Title. Luke served with the Welsh Guards in the Army, passed for the Royal Navy, and served as an Airman in the Royal Air Force. Luke Pearce Commissioned into the Royal Air Force as a Flying Officer in 2016. Luke Pearce's God Mother is Debbie Pulis, the wife of Tony Pulis, the football manager.[29]


Pearce has been name-checked in a number of books, including Diana Dors' A-Z of Men, Bartley Gorman and Peter Walsh's King of the Gypsies and Leighton Frayne's The Frayne Brothers. Paddy Monaghan's "TheSunshine in my life". [30] [31]

Boxing News, the UK's biggest boxing magazine supported the campaign for a Pearce statue.[32]

The David 'Bomber' Pearce Statue Fund has received permission to erect a bronze sculpture to commemorate Pearce in Newport City Centre.[33]

Pearce's family relative Luke Pearce has donated 35 copies of a portrait of Pearce, to be installed at well-known locations in Newport and the rest of Wales and the UK. Including 3 overseas locations.[34]


  1. ^ "Pontypool RFC boss slams Newport MP's 'misguided view' over dangers of concussion in rugby and boxing". southwalesargus.co.uk. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  2. ^ Martin Wade (3 September 2016). "The Long View: The Newport boxing great who came close to the top and was dubbed the city's own 'Rocky'". southwalesargus.co.uk. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  3. ^ "David Pearce, British Heavyweight Champion". Johnnyowen.comBoxRec. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  4. ^ a b "BoxRec - Lucien Rodriguez". BoxRec. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  5. ^ a b "BoxRec - David Pearce". BoxRec. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  6. ^ "James Douglas". BoxRec. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  7. ^ "BBC Wales Sport Personality winners". BBC Sport. 
  8. ^ "Boxing News". Boxnation.com. 13 November 2013. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  9. ^ a b "BoxRec - Dennis Andries". BoxRec. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  10. ^ "David Pearce". Welsh boxers. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  11. ^ "James Douglas". BoxRec. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  12. ^ a b "David Pearce". BoxRec. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  13. ^ "BoxRec - David Pearce". BoxRec. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  14. ^ http://www.boxingnewsonline.net/latest/
  15. ^ a b South Wales Argus, 23 May 2000
  16. ^ Bartley Gorman; Peter Walsh. "King of the Gypsies: Memoirs of the Undefeated Bareknuckle Champion of Great ...". Books.google.co.uk. p. 141. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  17. ^ "John L. Gardner and Danny Mcalinden - Page 2 - BoxRec". BoxRec. 
  18. ^ "davidpearcevrodriguez - YouTube". M.youtube.com. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  19. ^ "davidpearcevgordonferris - YouTube". M.youtube.com. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  20. ^ a b c BBC Archives - Past Present Future information and archives preservation services (1983).
  21. ^ "Jason Booth v Jamie Arthur: Round by round | Nottingham Post". M.nottinghampost.com. 2011-02-05. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  22. ^ "Marvin Camel". BoxRec. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  23. ^ "Boxer Walter Bimbo Pearce Newport". Boxinghistory.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  24. ^ "Ray Pearce". BoxRec. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  25. ^ "Vacaville man finds niche as Elvis tribute artist". Dailyrepublic.com. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  26. ^ "Gary Pearce". BoxRec. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  27. ^ "Ronald Pearce". BoxRec. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  28. ^ Bridge, Sarah. "Former West End star Simon Pearce reveals how he was left suicidal | Daily Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  29. ^ Martin Wade. "Newport ex-soldier becomes RAF officer". M.southwalesargus.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  30. ^ https://books.google.co.uk/books? id=tDsjCQAAQBAJ&pg=PT148&lpg=PT148&dq=one+of+the+fighters+the+braddocks+tried+to+fix+me+up+with+was+david+pearce&source=bl&ots=IoJ9nUqtgX&sig=mb1q0YP6Z5w-fF1DxqcjCGaN-vk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjkuJyA3dXRAhWLAMAKHVf-DCwQ6AEIHjAA#v=onepage&q=one%20of%20the%20fighters%20the%20braddocks%20tried%20to%20fix%20me%20up%20with%20was%20david%20pearce&f=false
  31. ^ https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=paddy+monaghan+book&client=safari&hl=en-gb&prmd=inv&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiB3pGczdPSAhXqAsAKHRlRDYMQ_AUIBygB&biw=320&bih=460#imgrc=cibQffT5NihhiM:
  32. ^ https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CzK4JDfXgAAQcEp.jpg
  33. ^ "Campaign launched to put up statue of Newport boxing legend David Pearce". southwalesargus.co.uk. 
  34. ^ "Paintings raise profile of Newport's boxing hero". southwalesargus.co.uk. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 

External links[edit]