Randolph Turpin leather groin protector (manufactured by Benlee) WORN in his World middleweight winning championship contest against legendary Sugar Ray Robinson cited as the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the history of the sport of boxing, 10th July 1951, Earls Court, London.
When Sugar Ray Robinson signed to fight Great Britain’s Randolph Turpin on July 10, 1951 boxing fans, writers and historians already knew that Sugar Ray was something special and that he was going to go down in boxing history as an all time great.
He was a fighter who it was said, could out-box the boxers and out-punch the punchers. Robinson had won all 85 of his amateur fights, 69 coming via the knockout route. 40 of those KO’s came in the 1st round.
Sugar Ray went on to win his first forty fights after turning professional in 1940. He lost a decision to the “Bronx Bull” Jake LaMotta in 1943. He avenged the loss to LaMotta just three weeks later and proceeded to win his next ninety fights in a row. During that amazing streak Sugar Ray won the welterweight title in 1946, a title he would hold for five years before stepping up to the middleweight division.
On February 14 1951 Robinson won the middleweight title when he stopped Jake LaMotta in 13th round in the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. After taking the middleweight crown from LaMotta, Sugar Ray embarked on his “European Tour.” Robinson was wildly popular on the continent particularly in Paris.
Finally Robinson went to London to fight the remarkably good Randolph Turpin. The fight turned out to be sensational with Turpin giving Sugar Ray far more than he bargained for.
Robinson was supposed to breeze through his European opposition and when he arrived at Earl’s Court in London to face Britain’s Randolph Turpin even his fellow countrymen gave Turpin very little chance to upset Robinson who seemed to be invincible.
Randolph Turpin to his credit was not in awe of Sugar Ray and did not fear him. Randy had come off a series of knockouts in the lead up to his encounter with Robinson and was well prepared for the task ahead of him.
When the bell sounded for the 1st round and the combatants approached each other there was a sense that things were not going to go as Sugar Ray had planned. Randolph confidently approached Sugar Ray and from the first round on, out boxed and out fought his famous adversary. As the rounds progressed the fans in attendance kept waiting for Robinson to turn things around and take control of the fight. Try as he did though, Sugar Ray could not pull the trigger and Randy continued to pile up points.
Randy’s fans began to hope and think the unthinkable as the fight wore on into the 9th and 10th rounds. Was it possible that Turpin could pull off what was thought to be an impossible victory against the living legend Sugar Ray Robinson?
As it turned out Turpin outfought Robinson for the duration of the fight. Sugar Ray showed his true class in defeat, his first loss in ninety fights. He made no alibis and acknowledged that he had been beaten by a better man.
Randolph Turpin became an instant British hero and was mobbed by his adoring fans. He was paraded through his home town of Leamington in an open top car to enjoy his achievement of becoming World middleweight champion.
This historical piece of British boxing history is accompanied with signed documentation certifying authenticity by Jackie Turpin (brother & trainer of Randy) and Adrian Bush (friend & chairman of the Randolph Turpin Memorial fund)
This unique one of a kind presentation also features double mounted action shot black & white images from the fight along with an image of Turpin training at Gwrych Castle incorporated with gold lettered detailed plaque set within antique periodic frame. This magnificent bespoke display measures 36" x 26" x 5"
(Protector shows ageing with wear & great usage, now framed it is safely removed from any further potential deterioration)
Randolph Turpin vs Sugar Ray Robinson I - Introduced & Discussed By Reg Gutteridge & Harry Carpenter
Randolph Adolphus ('Randy') Turpin (7th June 1928 – 17th May 1966) known as the Leamington Larruper, and was considered by some to be Europe's best middleweight boxer of the 1940's and 1950's.
Born in Leamington Spa, to a black father who had emigrated from Guyana and a white British mother, he started like his brother Dick to be trained in the art of boxing at Leamington Boys' Club.
Turpin turned professional in London in 1946, soon after his 18th birthday. Trained by his elder brother Dick, who himself was a successful middleweight, Randolph knocked out Gordon Griffiths in his first bout. Turpin put together a string of 16 wins in a row, all over the United Kingdom, until drawing with Mark Hart over six rounds in his last bout of 1947.
Three wins later, he found himself facing Albert Finch who inflicted on Turpin his first defeat, an 8-round-decision loss. After one more win he lost again, knocked out in 5 rounds by Jean Stock in London.
Turpin was determined not to lose again after the Stock defeat, and put together another string of wins which reached 12 (including a 4-round disqualification win against William Poli).
Rematched with Finch, this time with the British middleweight title on the line, Turpin avenged his first loss and won his first championship by knocking out Finch in five rounds on 17th October 1950 at Harringay Arena.
Three more wins followed, including a disqualification win in 8 rounds against important challenger Tommy Yarosz. He then met European middleweight champion Luc Van Dam in London, whom he knocked out in the first round to seize the European championship.
Four wins followed after that, including a rematch with Stock, against whom he avenged his second defeat, knocking him out in 5 rounds. Then World middleweight champion Sugar Ray Robinson travelled to London and, on 10th July 1951, risked his title against Turpin, who won the World title by beating Robinson on a 15-round decision.
Turpin became an instant national hero. His win over Robinson gave him such celebrity that even many people who were not boxing fans knew who he was. When he signed for a rematch with Robinson and chose Gwrych Castle near Abergele in North Wales to train, the castle was constantly hounded by fans and tourists.
His days as a World champion didn't last long, however, and when he made his first trip outside his homeland for a fight, he lost his crown to Robinson by a tenth-round TKO with eight seconds left in the round at the Polo Grounds in New York on 12th September 1951.
This turned out to be the beginning of Turpin's problems, because he would begin to miss the sweet life that being a World boxing champion gave him.
He tried to regain his former status and, three fights later, beat Don Cockell in 11 rounds by a knockout to conquer the British Commonwealth light-heavyweight title.
Turpin went back down in weight, and beat Georges Angelo to regain his British middleweight title, and put on another string of wins, leading to his challenge of Bobo Olson for the World middleweight title that Robinson had left vacant after retiring.
His second trip to New York turned into another 15-round defeat, this time at the hands of Olson.
In 1954, he went to Rome where he lost his European middleweight title by a knockout in the first round to Tiberio Mitri.
He kept trying mightily as he could to regain his former condition as a World champion and even retained his British middleweight title a few times in his next ten fights, but he lost two of them to obscure opponents.
After that, he managed another winning streak against some obscure boxers, but by 1958 it was clear his best days in boxing were long over. He lost that year to Yolande Pompey, another future World title challenger, by a second-round knockout in Birmingham, and retired in 1959.
In 1962, he began another comeback which lasted for only two fights, both of which he won, the last being held in Malta.
He retired with a record of 66 wins, 8 losses and 1 draw. Of his 66 wins, 48 came by knockout.
By now he was so short of money that he resorted to professional wrestling. His name meant that he drew moderate crowds for a short time but in the end this venture was not a success because he was a fighter not a showman.
Retirement And Suicide
According to articles, reports and a biography, Turpin couldn't deal with the obscurity resulting from the loss of his crown. In Llandudno in Wales, he bought a public house on the Great Orme, which today retains several genuine artefacts from his career. Between 1952 and 1961, he was the registered licensee.
After being declared bankrupt, Turpin committed suicide by shooting himself in 1966. It is reported that, on the same day, he tried to kill his daughter.
Turpin was inducted as a member of the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in Canastota, New York in 2001. There is a statue of him in Market Square, Warwick.