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By George Reed
A boxing legend called a turnip
A real blunder was made a few weeks ago when tourism chiefs in Llandudno, North Wales distributed 130,000 leaflets about British boxing legend Randolph Turpin, and referred to him as Randolph Turnip!

A boxing legend called a turnip

14.09.2011 - When he returned from the ring, the former world middleweight champion became licensee of the Randolph Turpin bar in the seaside resort in the late 1950s, and was a popular attraction when he was in attendance. It's still full of memorabilia about his fearless, brave career in the ring, and the current bar manager Ron Jones has stated that he was horrified by the printer's mistake, as it is highly embarrassing. The leaflets were produced by the Llandudno Attraction Consortium which said it was investigating the slip-up. If I were them, I would give the culprit a rise, for the publicity it will get.
The late Randolph, or Randy, Turpin as he was often called, certainly made no slip-up at Earls Court, London on July 10th 1951, when he beat the great 'Sugar' Ray Robinson to capture the world middleweight title, which is probably the greatest single performance by a British boxer in history. For Robinson was the biggest name in boxing at the time, with only one defeat in seven years and 91 fights. He and his team were keen to cash in on the title he had won after beating the 'Raging Bull', Jake La Motta, so they had decided on a barnstorming tour to take on the best in Europe, with Turpin being the last one of six opponents he would fight. Robinson was now in his prime and ever the flamboyant character, he took along his wife Edna May, along with a 'travelling circus' that included a trumpeter, a French tutor, his hairdresser and a mascot (a dwarf) who acted as a court jester. He also took along his sisters, managers, secretary, and his famous open-top flamingo-pink Cadillac, which caused traffic jams wherever he drove, as fans scrambled to get a look at the famous champion.
On his tour he easily beat his first five opponents, but a mighty fall was in store for him when he met the British champion Randolph Turpin who was a powerful puncher with both hands, and had a powerful upper torso, which was due to weight training which was at the time not the form of exercise considered beneficial to boxers and I along with most trainers believed that it would tend to make a boxer muscle-bound rather than supple. Turpin also had an odd boxing style with a wide-legged stance and would lean back from the waist to avoid punches, instead of ducking inside them.
However, his unorthodox style must have baffled 'Sugar' Ray and Turpin's power must have surprised him, as he made the champion retreat in the face of his persistent attacks. Turpin shocked everyone as he out-punched Robinson and showed his power as he roughed him up in the clinches, and as cool as ice Turpin outscored the American superstar with his lunging left jab and clubbing right hand to win the fight without question on points.
However, it was a tragic end for the great champion 13 years later in 1964. He had gone through the estimated 300,000 dollars he had earned, his business had gone bust, and with the Inland Revenue on his tail for back-taxes he went to an attic bedroom with his young daughter Carmen and some time later his wife found him shot dead by the side of the bed. His daughter had also been shot, but survived.
Turpin had written a suicide note, aged only 38. There was no explanation why he shot his daughter, but he had written about his tax problems.


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