Dick Richardson former European heavyweight champion SIGNED black & white vintage 5 1/2" x 3 1/2" photo.
Dick Richardson (June 1, 1934 – July 15, 1999) former heavyweight, from the Maesglas area of Newport, Monmouthshire. He held the European heavyweight title from March 1960 to June 1962. In all, he won 31 of his 47 professional bouts, losing 14, with two drawn. He was 6ft 3ins tall and weighed about 200lbs. He was one of a quartet of outstanding British heavyweights in the fifties and early sixties, along with Henry Cooper, Joe Erskine and Brian London, who held out the possibility of a British heavyweight World champion.
He was born Richard Alexander Richardson but was known as Dick. He had a few amateur bouts before being called up for his national service in 1953. He served in the Royal Army Service Corps where he became boxing champion. However he was beaten in the inter-services boxing championships by Brian London, later to become British heavyweight boxing champion, and fighting under his real name of Harper. He turned professional in 1954, being managed by Wally Lesley and trained by Johnny Lewis at a gym in Blackfriars, London.
In September 1954, he lost his first professional bout on points against Henry Cooper’s twin brother, George, fighting under the ring name of Jim Cooper. He avenged this defeat in March 1955 with a technical knockout in the second round.
Richardson began to build up an impressive list of victories, many of them inside the distance. In May 1956 he fought fellow Welsh heavyweight, Joe Erskine, in the Maindy Stadium, Cardiff, in front of 35,000 fans. Despite knocking Erskine down in round five, Richardson lost on points. Richard continued to look for higher-class opponents and in October 1956, he fought the ex-World champion Ezzard Charles in a fight that became a farce when the American was disqualified in round two for persistent holding. He next fought the World-class Cuban, Nino Valdes in December 1956, but was forced to retire in the eighth round.
Richardson’s first title fight was for the Commonwealth (British Empire) Heavyweight Title against the holder, the Jamaican, Joe Bygraves, in Cardiff in May 1957. The fight, over fifteen rounds was a draw and Bygraves retained his title.
In October 1957, Richardson, was easily out-pointed in a bout against the future World light-heavyweight champion, Willie Pastrano. His career appeared to be faltering when he was beaten by Henry Cooper in September 1958, on a technical knockout in the fifth round, and also lost to Joe Erskine on points in June 1959.
However, in March 1960, he was matched against the German boxer Hans Kalbfell, for the vacant European heavyweight title. He had previously beaten Kalbfell in four rounds, in Porthcawl, and he won this bout, held in Dortmund, Germany, by a technical knockout in the thirteenth round. The defeat of Kalbfell provoked a riot amongst the German fans, and Richardson needed a police escort to reach his dressing room.
Richardson defended his European title in August 1960, against Brian London, in Porthcawl, winning by a technical knockout in the eighth round. This result provoked a brawl, when London’s father and brother invaded the ring to protest that Richardson had used his head to open a cut on his opponent.
Richardson also won a return bout against Hans Kalbfell in Dortmund in February 1961, gaining a points decision.
Richardson won the next defence of his title, in February 1962, against the German, Karl Mildenberger, by an astonishing first-round knockout. The bout was held in Dortmund. Mildenberger would fight Muhammad Ali for the World title several years later.
Richardson’s fourth defence of his title was in June 1962, against the hard-punching Swede, Ingemar Johansson. Johansson had been World heavyweight champion after beating Floyd Patterson, but had subsequently lost the title to Patterson in June 1960. The bout was held in Gothenburg, Sweden in front of 50,000 spectators, and Richardson was knocked out in the eighth round.
Richardson’s last fight was in March 1963, when Henry Cooper defended his British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles against him at Wembley. Richardson was knocked out in the fifth round.
Retirement And Death
Richardson retired at the relatively early age of 28, and ran a butcher shop in Surrey. He died from cancer on 14th July, 1999, aged 65. He was married to Betty Richardson with one son, Gary and one daughter Lyn, from which he has six grandchildren.
In his 47 professional bouts, he won 31 (24 on knock-outs), and lost 14 (4 on knock-outs). Two of his bouts were drawn.