Billy "Gipsy" Daniels former British light heavyweight champion who knocked out Max Schmeling in the 1st round (25th February 1928, Festhalle, Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany) vintage Pluckley (Kent) boxing tournament 16.6.37 hallmarked silver medal.
***Daniels began his career boxing in contests in his home area of South Wales, and as an eighteen-year-old he fought under the name "Young Daniel" as a middleweight. By the end of 1920 he was boxing in Kent, and managed to win a couple of fights against similarly inexperienced opposition***
The reverse of the medal is engraved G. King & Gipsy Daniels.
Hallmarked: J.F mark, James Fenton & Co, Silver Sterling, Birmingham 1937.
Gipsy Daniels (1903-67) was born in Llanelli under the name Billy Daniel, although erroneous reports also record his original moniker as Daniel Thomas from Newport.
He was one of 13 children born to DJ Daniel, who played rugby for Llanelli and Wales and won eight caps in the period 1891-9, including one in the famous 26-3 victory over England at St Helen’s in 1899.
It is likely that the young Daniel – who picked up an ‘s’ at the end of his surname somewhere along the way – had early experience in the boxing booths.
The first of his recorded 165 contests came in 1919. He had mixed results as he learnt his trade before heading to the US at the age of 19.
His swarthy complexion and dark eyes and hair would open up some unlikely avenues to success. The story that grew up is that Daniels walked into the New York office of legendary boxing manager Jimmy Johnston, who said: “Say, son, are you a gypsy”.
The Welshman denied this, but a promotional idea was born, and Johnston is said to have taken him across the street to Woolworths to buy a brightly coloured bandana and curtain rings for ear-rings.
Photographers and the press were then invited to meet Billy ‘Gipsy’ Daniels, King of the Gipsies, who had been imported from Wales to become the next heavyweight champion of the World!
Despite the colourful story, there is evidence that Daniels had used the Gipsy nickname before he crossed the Atlantic, but the angle was certainly pushed during his time in the States.
The hyperbole was backed up by the Welshman’s performances in the ring as he impressed in seven US bouts, including two at Madison Square Garden.
Daniels decided to come home in 1923, though, where he would compete at middleweight, light-heavyweight and heavyweight in the highest class across the UK and Europe.
He would find great popularity and success, including a series of epic fights against Frank Moody and a 20-round victory over Tom Berry that won him the British cruiserweight title.
The most famous name on the Welshman’s record, though, was surely Max Schmeling.
Daniels lost a December 1927 fight against the German in Berlin, but in a rematch two months later claimed the greatest – and most surprising – win of his career.
Schmeling rushed out in the first round of their 25 February, 1928, bout in Frankfurt… and walked straight into a stunning KO punch from the unfancied ‘Gipsy’!
Daniels failed to capitalise on the remarkable win, though, as – for unexplained reasons – his career went quiet.
He was fighting less, the losses were mounting, and – perhaps over-playing the Schmeling result – he seems to have turned into more of a knock-out expert than a boxer.
There was one more huge domestic clash to come, though, as – on 4 August, 1930 – he met old rival Moody for the third time.
Both men were past their best, but 15,000 turned out to see them at the Welsh White City on Sloper Road, Cardiff.
The fans were rewarded with a superb fight, Pontypridd great Moody emerging as the victor.
Daniels would keep fighting, including in the boxing booths where he helped to mentor a young Freddie Mills.
Condition excellent / Measuring 1" x 1 1/4"
William "Gipsy" Daniels (9 February 1903 – June 1967), was a Welsh Light-heavyweight champion of Britain who, in an eighteen-year career, took in 141 contests, including eight fights in New York City, and notably knocked out Max Schmeling in the first round of a 1928 encounter.
There is some confusion as to Daniels' actual name and place of birth. Though a definitive answer was given in Tony Lee's 2009 publication which printed a copy of his birth certificate. Daniels was born in Llanelli on 9 February 1903 as William Daniel to David John Daniel and Francis Ann Roberts. His father was a rugby player of some note who played for Llanelli and the Wales international team.
Daniels began his career boxing in contests in his home area of South Wales, and as an eighteen-year-old he fought under the name "Young Daniel" as a middleweight. By the end of 1920 he was boxing in Kent, and managed to win a couple of fights against similarly inexperienced opposition. On 24 February 1921, Daniels fought his first veteran boxer when he was carded to face Belgian Rene DeVos at The Ring in Blackfriars, London. DeVos already had 58 bouts under his belt, 37 of them wins, including a defeat over Daniels' fellow countryman Frank Moody. Daniels lost the 20 round fight on points.
By the end of 1921, Daniels had amassed a fighting record of eleven wins, six losses and two draws. In March 1922 he won a heavyweight competition at Blackfriars, and in October of that year he was fighting at the Pioneer Sporting Club in New York. It was around this time that Daniels was introduced to James J. Johnston, a local boxing promoter. Johnston decided that Daniels needed a gimmick to sell himself to the public, and decided that he looked "like a gypsy". Johnston took Daniels to a Woolworths five-and-ten-cent store and dressed him in cheap bandanna headscarves and hooped earrings. Johnston dubbed him 'Gypsey Daniels', though the most commonly used spelling of his nickname was 'Gipsy'. Daniels fought eight times in New York, including two contests at Madison Square Garden, before returning to Great Britain.
Daniels continued fighting in Wales and England, but in September 1925 he travelled to mainland Europe for the first time in his career, to face Swedish boxer Harry Persson at the Cirkus in Stockholm. Although Daniels lost the bout on points, on his return to Britain he began his most successful period of boxing, remaining undefeated for the next 18 fights. After a win over Frank Moody in April 1927 which earned him the Welsh Light Heavyweight belt, Daniels faced Tom Berry for the British Light-Heavyweight Championship Belt. Daniels won the 20 round bout on points, but he faced a dilemma as to whether to defend the title as the National Sporting Club (NSC), who controlled boxing in Great Britain, offered far lower purses than outside promoters. Daniels chose to fight for a non-NSC affiliated promoter to maximise his income, giving up his newly acquired title.
In January 1928, Daniels lost a bout to German, Max Schmeling followed by a defeat to Len Johnson, but in a rematch with Schmeling on 25 February he knocked out the German in the first round. Daniels career continued without the success of his earlier years, losing twice to Walter Neusel in Germany, but beating and drawing with Jack London before London became British and Commonwealth Champion.