The Boxers of Merthyr, Pontypridd & Aberdare

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"The second volume of Gareth Jones' excellent Boxers of Wales series...there's a certain grim satisfaction in reading of the lives, achievements and tragedies of men using their fists as a means to escape the brutal realities of industrial life... Disproportionately, the boxers featured in these pages tend to be small men - flyweights and bantams abound - with physiques equally attuned to hacking away at the coalface or hooking away at their opponents' faces (and there are some ugly mugs on display here). As a parade of hard little bastards, this is difficult to beat."
Boxing Monthly 

"The second 'Boxers of Wales' masterpiece is a must-read for any boxing fan. The tales about lesser known men like lightweight Francis Rossi are as entertaining as those about Welsh legends Howard Winstone and Johnny Owen. Compelling stuff." 
Steve Lillis, News of the World 

"The Valleys of South Wales have produced many fighters known worldwide - Howard Winstone, Johnny Owen, the great Freddie Welsh - but this book reminds us that there were others who lit up the ring in their day. At last the likes of Cuthbert Taylor, Eddie Morgan and Boyo Rees have their deeds recognised and recorded too." 
Gareth A. Davies, Daily Telegraph 

"Fascinating insight into the greats and not-so-greats of the ring. There's a prizefighter-turned-preacher who threw his once-treasured belt on the fire and the early fight film the public were never allowed to see because it showed two royal princes at ringside."
Ron Lewis, The Times 

"For generations of Merthyr's youth, boxing has been as much a means of self-expression as a way out of grinding poverty. This book does full justice to a sporting tradition that has shaped the town's character and given the world some unforgettable champions."
Mario Basini, Author, 'Real Merthyr'

A stroll around Merthyr town centre demonstrates the importance of the fight game in the borough's history. Where else on the planet can you find no fewer than three statues of boxers? 

A must-buy for all fight fans this book tells the stories of some 50 fighters who have made their mark to varying degrees over the past century and a half. Some are known world-wide, such as the occupants of those plinths - Howard Winstone, Johnny Owen and Eddie Thomas - others were local legends, such as the king of the cobbles, Redmond Coleman, and the man whose skin colour robbed him of the chance of greatness, Cuthbert Taylor. 

The neighbouring towns of Aberdare and Pontypridd also contribute their heroes including little Dai Dower, who won British, Empire and European titles in less than five months, while Pontypridd folk are justly proud of their world champion, Freddie Welsh, and the three Moody brothers, who all won belts. 

With several dozen illustrations, some never before published, this is recommended reading for all fight fans, whether or not they have the good fortune to hail from the Taff Valley.

Gareth Jones is a journalist who has been writing and broadcasting on boxing in Wales for more than 30 years, including over 15 years as Boxing Correspondent of the South Wales Echo, and a longer period as Welsh Boxing Correspondent of Boxing News.

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