Gareth Jones launches new book, Dragons vs Eagles

Gareth Jones launches new book, Dragons vs Eagles

Last night, author Gareth Jones launched Dragons vs Eagles, his latest book which focuses on the illustrious history shared between Welsh and American boxing. The veteran journalist has witnessed many of the book’s recent fights in the first person, having covered the noble art for over 30 years as correspondent for the South Wales Echo and Boxing News. Former light-heavyweight champion Eddie Avoth and Charlie Pearson, who trained Nicky Piper from an amateur to world level, were both on hand at the Welsh Institute of Sport in Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens to discuss their respective parts in the 163 page book. Speaking to BoxingWales.com about the subjects of the book, Jones said, “Boxers, particularly the ones who are not world class or world title contenders, are just grateful to be remembered and that somebody wants to talk about their careers. “They couldn’t be more helpful and I certainly have never come across a boxer who doesn’t want to talk. Without these people doing what they did, there wouldn’t be any books. It’s great that they’ve been as helpful out of the ring as they were in the ring.” Jones’ wealth of experience at ringside, coupled with his extensive research, presents an in-depth insight into the special relationship that has seen Wales punch above it’s weight for over 100 years. Reflecting on the history behind the book, Jones said, “There’s been a lot of Welsh boxers who have gone to the States and made their reputations. Freddie Welsh emigrated there but people like Jim Driscoll, Jimmy Wilde, Frank Moody and Eddie Morgan, who is one of the forgotten men, all went out there and did very well for themselves. “At one time, there was a regular trade when promoters in America were actually contacting people in Wales for fights. Wales was recognised for providing good little men. Most of them had just come out of the pits and a lot of fighters went particularly to Pennsylvania, which was a big mining area.” The book, which took Jones a year to write, dates back as far as when Cardiff’s John O’Brien challenged for the world middleweight title against Frank Craig in 1884, less than two decades after modern professional boxing was born with the Marquees of Queensberry rules. Jones’ career in broadcast and print media has taken him to America on numerous occasions but he says that the highlight came in Manchester when Newbridge’s legend Joe Calzaghe unified the world super-middleweight titles with a domination of Florida’s feared Jeff Lacy in 2006. The obvious low point came in 1980 when Jones was in California for Johnny Owen’s fateful last fight against Lupe Pintor, when the Merthyr Tydfil man’s brave world title bid failed and he fell in to a coma that he never woke up from. ‘Dragons vs Eagles – Wales vs America In The Boxing Ring’ was published in Wales by St David’s Press, an imprint of Ashley Drake Publishing Ltd. To buy the book for £15, click here: www.welsh-academic-press.shopfactory.com/contents/en-us/p124html. Jones is currently working on his next book, which will be volume four of The Boxers Of Wales series. It will be based on Swansea and West Wales’ pugilists.

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