Nel Tarleton

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Nel Tarleton
Real name Nelson Tarleton
Nickname(s) Nella
Rated at Featherweight
Nationality United Kingdom British
Born (1906-02-14)14 February 1906
Flag of England.svg Liverpool,
Died 12 January 1956(1956-01-12) (aged 49)
Boxing record
Total fights 144
Wins 116
Wins by KO 41
Losses 20
Draws 8
No contests 0

Nelson "Nel" Tarleton (14 February 1906[1] – 12 January 1956) was an English featherweight boxer from Liverpool, England. He was British featherweight champion on three separate occasions and, despite only having one lung, continued fighting until he was 42. He was one of only seven fighters to win two or more Lonsdale Belts outright.

He was married to Barbara, who gave birth to twins: a boy called Brian and a girl called Sandra and a daughter, Lesley June.

Boxing style[edit]

Tarleton lacked a punch, but was immensely skilful, winning most of his important fights on points. He was tall and very thin. He had only one lung from the age of two, but was still able to box successfully until he was 42.

Professional career[edit]

Born in Liverpool, Tarleton had his first professional fight on 14 January 1926 (his twentieth birthday), when he beat George Sankey on points over ten rounds at Liverpool Stadium.[1]

He built up an impressive domestic record, with only the occasional defeat, fighting most of his bouts in his hometown of Liverpool. Then, in October 1929, he went to the United States and had a number of fights in various venues in New York City, scoring five wins two defeats and one draw.

British featherweight title[edit]

His next fight, in November 1930, was a title challenge against the British featherweight champion, Johnny Cuthbert. The pair fought a fifteen-round draw in Liverpool Stadium. In October 1931, the pair had a rematch at Anfield Football Ground, and this time Tarleton won on points.[1]

In November 1932, he defended his British title against Tommy Watson, in Liverpool Stadium, and lost on points.[1]

Title regained[edit]

In July 1934, Tarleton had a re-match with Watson, at Anfield, and regained his title with another points win.[1]

In September 1934, Tarleton fought for the world featherweight title against American fighter, Freddie Miller. The fight was held in Liverpool, and Miller won on points to retain his title.[1]

In December 1934, Tarleton defended his title against Dave Crowley at the Empire Pool, Wembley, winning on points, and also winning the Lonsdale Belt outright.[1]

In June 1935, Tarleton fought Freddie Miller again for his world featherweight title. The fight, as before, was held in Liverpool, and Miller won on points again, to retain his title.[1]

In May 1936, he defended his British title against Johnny King of Manchester, defeating him on points.

In September 1936, he defended his title again, against Johnny McGrory. The fight was held at Anfield, and Mcgrory won on points to take Tarleton’s title.[1]

Third title[edit]

In February 1940, Tarleton fought for the British featherweight title again. The fight was against holder Johnny Cusick and was also for the Commonwealth title. Tarleton won on points at Liverpool Stadium to take the British title for the third time.[1]

In November 1940, he defended his British and Commonwealth titles at Liverpool Stadium, against Tom Smith of Sunderland, winning on points.[1]

Tarleton continued fighting, until February 1945, when he defended his British and Commonwealth featherweight titles against Al Phillips, at Belle Vue, Manchester. At the age of 39, he won on points against his 25-year-old opponent, and retained his titles.[1]

Tarleton did not defend his titles again but relinquished them in February 1947, at the age of 41.

After retiring, Tarleton struggled with ill health and died at the age of 49.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Odd, Gilbert E. (ed.) (1946) Boxing News Annual 1946, War Facts Press, p. 53