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Lonsdale Belt

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Lonsdale Belt
both versions of the Lonsdale Belt, the first one above the second, imposed on a clear white background
Awarded forBritish Boxing Champion
Sponsored byNational Sporting Club, British Boxing Board of Control
CountryUnited Kingdom
Presented byNational Sporting Club (1909–1929)

BBBofC

(1929–present)
First awarded8 November 1909
Websitewww.bbbofc.com

The Lord Lonsdale Challenge Belt, commonly known as the Lonsdale Belt, is the oldest championship belt in British professional boxing.[1] Hugh Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale introduced the prize on behalf of the National Sporting Club, intending it to be awarded to British boxing champions.

Freddie Welsh won the first Lonsdale Belt in 1909 after winning the NSC British Lightweight title. Heavyweight Henry Cooper was the first boxer to win three Lonsdale Belts during his 17-year professional career. In 1929 the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) assumed responsibility for awarding the belt, which continues to be awarded to British champions as of 2018.

National Sporting Club[edit]

This image depicts the Original Challenge belt design, as described in Origin.
The original Challenge Belt design presented by the National Sporting Club 1909–1929

Origin[edit]

Lord Lonsdale was the first president of the National Sporting Club (NSC).[2] In 1909, he introduced the Lonsdale Belt—originally the Challenge Belt—as a new trophy for British boxing champions in each weight division.[3] A 9-carat or 22-carat gold belt composed of two heavy chains with a central enamel medallion depicting a boxing match; this is flanked by enamel medallions showing single boxers and gold medallions with a scroll on which is inscribed the names of belt winners. The medallions are interspersed with smaller gold medallions depicting the Union Rose. The belts are backed with a red, white and blue ribbon.[4] The belts were made in the Birmingham workshop of jewellers Mappin & Webb.[5] A total of 22 Lonsdale belts were issued by the NSC; 20 were won outright.[3]

The manager of the NSC Arthur Frederick Bettinson published details about the terms and conditions of holding the belt agreed by the NSC in Sporting Life on 22 December 1909. The main rules were:

  • The holder was required to defend his title within six months of a challenge. Minimum stake of £100 a side (£200 for heavyweights, £50 for flyweights)
  • The belt became the holder's property after three successful bouts held under the auspices of the NSC, consecutive or otherwise, or after it was held for three consecutive years. Outright winners would also receive an NSC pension of £50 a year from the age of 50.
  • The holder was required to pay a deposit and insurance for the belt.[6]

The first recipient of this belt was Freddie Welsh, who defeated Johnny Summers on 8 November 1909 for the NSC British Lightweight title.[7]

First holders of NSC Challenge belts[edit]

Weight class Reign began Champion Defeated
Lightweight 8 November 1909 Wales Freddie Welsh Johnny Summers[8]
Middleweight 20 December 1909 Wales Tom Thomas Charlie Wilson[9]
Welterweight 21 March 1910 England Young Joseph Jack Goldswain[10]
Featherweight 18 April 1910 Wales Jim Driscoll Spike Robson[11]
Bantamweight 17 October 1910 England Digger Stanley Joe Bowker[12]
Heavyweight 24 April 1911 England Billy Wells Iron Hague[13]
Flyweight 4 December 1911 England Sid Smith Joe Wilson[14]
Light-heavyweight 9 March 1914 England Dick Smith Dennis Haugh[15]

British Boxing Board of Control[edit]

This image depicts the second version of the lonsdale belt, as described in British Board of Boxing Control
Lonsdale belt presented by the BBBofC. Picture is changed to a portrait of Lord Lonsdale, replacing the two boxers in the original version.

The NSC became virtually defunct in 1929 and lost control of the sport to the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC), which started to issue the Lord Lonsdale Challenge Belt in 1936.[16] Lonsdale consented to the use of his name and image on the belt in perpetuity; an image of his face remains on it. In 1939 the last 9-carat gold belt was launched by the BBBofC.[16] This was won by the lightweight Eric Boon that year.[17] The last 9-carat gold belt was won outright by Henry Cooper in 1959. Belts made from 1945 are composed of hallmarked silver and the laurel-leaf border has the thistle, daffodil and shamrock added to the extant rose to represent the four national flowers of the UK.[16] The belt was machine-made for a short time in the 1970s before the BBBofC decided to have it hand-made again, passing the contract to Fattorini and Sons, who continue to make the belts as of 2018, Each belt costs £14,000.[16]

First holders of the BBBofC Lonsdale Belt[edit]

Weight class Reign Began Champion Defeated
Flyweight 16 September 1936 Scotland Benny Lynch Pat Palmer[18]
Featherweight 24 September 1936 Scotland Johnny McGrory Nel Tarleton[19]
Lightweight 19 October 1936 England Jimmy Walsh Harry Mizler[20]
Light-heavyweight 27 April 1937 England Jock McAvoy Eddie Phillips[21]
Bantamweight 31 May 1937 England Johnny King Jackie Brown[22]
Heavyweight 15 March 1937 Wales Tommy Farr Ben Foord[8]
Middleweight 25 October 1937 England Jock McAvoy Jack Hyams[21]
Welterweight 21 February 1938 Scotland Jake Kilrain Jack Lord[23]

Current holders of the BBBofC Lonsdale Belt[edit]

Weight class Reign began Champion Defeated
Flyweight 14 May 2016 Wales Andrew Selby Louis Norman[24]
Super Flyweight vacant
Bantamweight vacant
Super Bantamweight vacant
Featherweight 26 September 2015 England Ryan Walsh Samir Mouneimne[25]
Super Featherweight 14 April 2018 England Sam Bowen Maxi Hughes[26]
Lightweight 7 October 2017 England Lewis Ritson Robbie Barrett[27]
Super lightweight vacant
Welterweight 5 March 2016 England Bradley Skeete Sam Eggington[28]
Super welterweight vacant
Middleweight 4 May 2018 England Jason Welborn Tommy Langford[29]
Super Middleweight vacant
Light Heavyweight 24 March 2018 Scotland Callum Johnson Frank Buglioni[30]
Cruiserweight 26 May 2017 England Matty Askin Craig Kennedy[31]
Heavyweight 12 May 2018 England Hughie Fury Sam Sexton[32]

Out of the ring[edit]

Changes[edit]

In 1987, the BBBofC decided to award only one belt to any boxer in each division. A boxer can, however, win belts outright in different weight classes.[33]

On 1 September 1999 the BBBofC changed the criteria for winning a belt outright; boxers must now win four—rather than three—championship contests in the same weight division. The rule also stipulates that one of the four wins must be a mandatory contest. The BBBofC general secretary John Morris cited the rising costs of making the belts as the chief reason for the rule change.[34]

The BBBofC introduced the Lonsdale Badge in 2013; it is worn by outright winners. According to Eurosport:

'The British Boxing Board of Control are happy to agree to honour all outright winners of the Lord Lonsdale Challenge Belt by the introduction of this badge," said Smith. "It is a wonderful achievement for any boxer to win a British Championship and any boxer who wins the belt outright has a special place in the sports history. "After the idea being suggested by Ross Thompson-Jenkins at Sky Sports and subsequent discussion between Melissa Anglesea of Suzi Wong Creations and myself, I am pleased that the idea has come to fruition and that all Lonsdale Belt outright winners, regardless of promoter, broadcaster and clothes manufacturer can wear the badge with pride."

— Rose proud to be first bearer of 'Lonsdale Badge', Eurosport 18 April 2013[35]

Donations and auctions[edit]

The Lonsdale Belt won by Bombardier Billy Wells in 1911 is now kept at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, London, and is not on display to the general public.[36] Johnny Brown's Lonsdale Belt was donated to the Museum of London in 2010.[37] In November 2000 the belt awarded to Randy Turpin in 1956 was auctioned for £23,000 while in September 2011, the belt won by the welterweight Jack Hood in 1926 fetched £36,000. Hood, who died in 1992, had displayed his belt above the bar at the Bell public house, of which he was the licensee, in Tanworth-in-Arden .[38]

In 1993, Henry Cooper sold all three of his belts for £42,000 after losing heavily on the Lloyd's insurance market.[39] One first of the belts—the last one made of gold—was sold for £22,000. The others sold for £10,000 each. Cooper was expecting £70,000 for the sale but was content they all were all sold together.[39]

Theft[edit]

Outright winners[edit]

Three-time outright winner of Lonsdale Belt[edit]

Heavyweight boxer, Henry Cooper is the only man ever to win three Lonsdale belts outright.[36]

Two-time outright winners of Lonsdale Belt[edit]

Weight class Champion Year achieved
Featherweight England Nel Tarleton 1945[44]
Featherweight England Ronnie Clayton 1953[45]
Bantamweight Scotland Peter Keenan 1957[46]
Featherweight Wales Howard Winstone 1963[47]
Welterweight Wales Brian Curvis 1964[48]
Light-welterweight JamaicaEngland Clinton McKenzie 1987[49]

Outright winners of Lonsdale Belt[edit]

Weight class Champion Year achieved
Featherweight Wales Jim Driscoll 1910[50]
Bantamweight England Digger Stanley 1912[51]
Lightweight Wales Freddie Welsh 1912[52]
Heavyweight England Bombardier Billy Wells 1913[53]
Welterweight Wales Johnny Basham 1915[54]
Bantamweight England Joe Fox 1917[55]
Flyweight Wales Jimmy Wilde 1917[56]
Featherweight Scotland Tancy Lee 1917[57]
Light-Heavyweight England Dick Smith 1918[58]
Middleweight England Pat O'Keeffe 1918[59]
Bantamweight Scotland Jim Higgins 1921[60]
Bantamweight England Johnny Brown 1925[61]
Welterweight England Jack Hood 1926[62]
Middleweight England Len Harvey 1930[63]
Featherweight England Johnny Cuthbert 1930[64]
Flyweight England Jackie Brown 1932[64]
Bantamweight England Dick Corbett 1934[65]
Middleweight England Jock McAvoy 1935[64]
Heavyweight Wales Jack Petersen 1935[66]
Bantamweight England Johnny King 1937[64]
Lightweight England Eric Boon 1939[67]
Welterweight England Ernie Roderick 1941[68]
Flyweight Scotland Jackie Paterson 1943[69]
Lightweight England Billy Thompson 1950[70]
Flyweight England Terry Allen 1953[71]
Welterweight England Wally thom 1954[72]
Light-Heavyweight England Randolph Turpin 1956[73]
Lightweight England Joe Lucy 1956[74]
Middleweight England Pat McAteer 1957[75]
Featherweight Scotland Charlie Hill 1958[76]
Middleweight England Terry Downes 1960[77]
Bantamweight Northern Ireland Freddie Gilroy 1962[78]
Light-Heavyweight England Chic Calderwood 1963[79]
Flyweight Scotland Walter McGowan 1966[80]
Lightweight England Maurice Cullen 1966[81]
Middleweight England Johnny Pritchett 1967[82]
Bantamweight England Alan Rudkin 1969[83]
Super-Featherweight England Jimmy Anderson 1969[84]
Welterweight England Ralph Charles 1971[85]
Lightweight Scotland Ken Buchanan 1973[86]
Flyweight Scotland John McCluskey 1974[87]
Featherweight Scotland Evan Armstrong 1974[88]
Light-Heavyweight England Chris Finnegan 1975[89]
Super-Lightweight England Joey Singleton 1975[90]
Middleweight England Alan Minter 1976[91]
Super-Welterweight England Maurice Hope 1976[92]
Lightweight Scotland Jim Watt 1977[93]
Super-Welterweight England Jimmy Batten 1978[94]
Light-Heavyweight Jamaica Bunny Johnson 1979[95]
Super-Lightweight England Colin Powers 1979[96]
Bantamweight Wales Johnny Owen 1979[97]
Super-Welterweight Saint Kitts and Nevis Pat Thomas 1979[98]
Middleweight England Kevin Finnegan 1979[99]
Featherweight England Pat Cowdell 1980[100]
Middleweight Saint Kitts and NevisEngland Roy Gumbs 1982[101]
Light-Heavyweight CuraçaoEnglandTom Collins 1983[102]
Light-Heavyweight GuyanaEngland Dennis Andries 1984[103]
Lightweight England George Feeney 1984[104]
Bantamweight Northern Ireland Hugh Russell 1985[105]
Welterweight England Cohn Jones 1985[106]
Welterweight JamaicaEngland Lloyd Honeyghan 1985[107]
Super-Welterweight England Prince Rodney 1985[108]
Lightweight England Tony Willis 1986[109]
Featherweight Wales Robert Dickie 1986[110]
Welterweight JamaicaEngland Kirkland Laing 1987[111]
Super-Lightweight England Lloyd Christie 1987[112]
Flyweight TunisiaEngland Charlie Magri 1987[113]
Middleweight England Tony Sibson 1987[114]
Heavyweight England Horace Notice 1987[115]
Middleweight England Herol Graham 1988[116]
Light-Heavyweight England Tony Wilson 1989[117]
Flyweight Scotland Pat Clinton 1989[118]
Bantamweight England Billy Hardy 1989[119]
Featherweight England Paul Hodkinson 1989[120]
Cruiserweight England Johnny Nelson 1990[121]
Featherweight England Colin McMillan 1991[122]
Super-Featherweight England John Doherty 1991[123]
Lightweight England Carl Crook 1991[124]
Super-Lightweight England Andy Holligan 1992[112]
Flyweight Wales Robbie Regan 1992[125]
Heavyweight EnglandCanada Lennox Lewis 1992[126]
Super-Welterweight England Andy Till 1993[127]
Light-Heavyweight England Crawford Ashley 1994[128]
Featherweight England Sean Murphy 1993[129]
Middleweight England Neville Brown 1994[130]
Bantamweight Scotland Drew Docherty 1994[131]
Flyweight GhanaEngland Francis Ampofo 1994[132]
Lightweight England Billy Schwer 1994[133]
Super-Welterweight England Robert McCracken 1995[134]
Super-Lightweight England Ross Hale 1995[135]
Super-Middleweight Northern Ireland Sam Storey 1995[136]
Welterweight England Delroy Bryan 1995[137]
Lightweight England Michael Ayers 1995[138]
Super-Featherweight Wales Floyd Hazard 1995[139]
Cruiserweight England Terry Dunstan 1996[140]
Super-Bantamweight England Richie Wenton 1996[141]
Super-Welterweight England Ryan Rhodes 1997[142]
Featherweight England Paul Ingle 1997[143]
Flyweight England Ady Lewis 1997[144]
Welterweight England Ryan Rhodes 1997[145]
Welterweight England Geoff McCreesh 1998[146]
Featherweight England Jon Jo Irwin 1998[147]
Super-Featherweight England Charles Shepherd 1998[148]
Super-Bantamweight England Michael Brodie 1998[149]
Super-Middleweight England David Starie 1999[150]
Super-Welterweight England Ensley Bingham 1999[151]
Welterweight Republic of Ireland Derek Roche 1999[152]
Light-Middleweight England Julius Francis 1999[153]
Super-Featherweight Republic of Ireland Michael Gomez 2000[154]
Lightweight England Bobby Vanzie 2000[155]
Cruiserweight JamaicaEngland Bruce Scott 2001[156]
Bantamweight England Nicky Booth 2001[157]
Super-Bantamweight England Michael Alldis 2002[158]
Heavyweight England Danny Williams 2002[159]
Middleweight Guyana Howard Eastman 2003[160]
Welterweight Northern Ireland Neil Sinclair 2003[161]
Cruiserweight England Mark Hobson 2004[162]
Welterweight England David Barnes 2004[163]
Featherweight England Dazzo Williams 2004[164]
Super-Welterweight England Jamie Moore 2005[165]
Super-Lightweight England Junior Witter 2005[166]
Super-Bantamweight England Michael Hunter 2005[167]
Heavyweight England Matt Skelton 2005[168]
Middleweight England Scott Dann 2005[169]
Super-Featherweight Scotland Alex Arthur 2005[170]
Lightweight England Graham Earl 2005[171]
Super-Middleweight England Carl Froch 2006[172]
Super-Featherweight England Carl Johanneson 2007[173]
Bantamweight ZimbabweEngland Ian Napa 2008[174]
Welterweight England Kell Brook 2009[175]
Super-Bantamweight England Jason Booth 2009[176]
Lightweight England John Murray 2010[177]
Featherweight Scotland John Simpson 2010[178]
Bantamweight England Stuart Hall 2011[179]
Light-Middleweight England Brian Rose 2012[180]
Featherweight Wales Lee Selby 2013[181]
Welterweight England Frankie Gavin 2013[182]
Cruiserweight England Jon-Lewis Dickinson 2014[183]
Middleweight England Billy Joe Saunders 2014[184]
Featherweight England Ryan Walsh 2015[185]
Welterweight England Bradley Skeete 2016[186]
Super-Featherweight England Martin J. Ward 2017[187]
Lightweight England Lewis Ritson 2018[188]

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Harding, John (1994). Lonsdale's Belt: The Story of Boxing's Greatest Prize. London: Robson Books. ISBN 978-0-86051-846-4.
  • Maurice Golesworthy (1988). Encyclopaedia of Boxing (Eighth Edition), Robert Hale Limited, ISBN 0-7090-3323-0

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