Welsh Area Council host first ever awards ceremony and launch Hall of Fame

Welsh Area Council host first ever awards ceremony and launch Hall of Fame

On Saturday, the British Boxing Board of Control’s (BBBoC) Welsh Area Council held their inaugural awards ceremony and launched the opening of the Hall of Fame.

More than 180 people attended the sold-out dinner at the Swalec Stadium in Cardiff to see some of Wales’ most prominent faces on the fight scene honored for their achievements. The event, which was primarily organised by Welsh Area Council members Jeff Williams and Will Rees, will be held on an annual basis and plans to return at a larger venue in 2017.

Barry Town’s ‘Sugar’ Lee Selby (22-1, 8KO) was rewarded for winning the IBF world featherweight title with the top prize of Best Boxer. The 29-year-old dethroned Russia’s previously undefeated Evgeny Gradovich in May and followed it up by travelling to America to see-off Mexico’s three-weight titlist Fernando Montiel in October.

Recently crowned British and Commonwealth super-welterweight champion Liam ‘The Machine’ Williams (13-0-1, 8KO) and Garnant’s super-lightweight Chris ‘Rock n Rolla’ Jenkins (16-1-1, 8KO) were runners-up and presented with certificates.

Three weeks before Craig ‘The Kid’ Kennedy’s (13-0, 7KO) biggest fight yet, a British title final eliminator against Tony Conquest on 11 March, the cruiserweight contender won the Best Prospect award. Cardiff’s Kennedy began the year with a brutal stoppage of Wadi Camacho in a high profile rematch, before pushing past the experienced Courtney Fry and then flattening Hungary’s Tamas Bajzath. It was enough to put him above two-time Celtic champion Mitch Buckland (10-0, 2KO) and Pontyberem’s unbeaten super-featherweight Zack Davies (5-0, 1KO).

One of Wales’ most unforgettable contests unfolded in March when Chris ‘Mutley’ Ware’s (6-1, 3KO) dethroned brave Welsh Area middleweight champion Frankie Borg. The seven round war, which saw Borg put down on three occasions but arguably win the rounds he remained upright for, was deservedly recognised as Fight of the Year.

The evening wasn’t just dedicated to those who wear the gloves, though. Swansea’s stalwart Jimmy Bromfield collected the award in the Contribution to Boxing category and Gelligaer’s trainer of two-world champions Dai Gardiner was recognised with a Lifetime Achievement trophy.

For endeavors both in and outside of the ring, Cardiff’s Terry Gooding was recognised with the Services To Boxing award. The former middleweight represented Britain at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, before embarking on a paid career as a light-heavyweight and serving on the Welsh Area Council following the end of his fighting days.

106 years and one day since Adamstown hero Jim Driscoll’s (53-4-6, 35KO) historic challenge to world champion Abe Attell in New York City, the featherweight was announced as the first inductee to the Welsh Boxing Hall of Fame. Despite not being one of Wales’ 12-world champions, Driscoll is regarded as a victim of his time and pioneer of the sport with a near-perfect jab that wowed crowds on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. ‘Peerless’ Jim’s charity efforts for the Nazareth House orphanage won the affection of Wales and over 100,000 lined the streets of Cardiff for his early funeral at 44-years-old in 1925.

Another legend followed Driscoll as first-time entrants to the Welsh Boxing Hall of Fame, Newbridge’s undefeated Joe Calzaghe (46-0, 32KO). The southpaw maverick retired in 2009, having established himself as the world’s best at super-middleweight and light-heavyweight categories. Calzaghe’s record-breaking 10 year title reign included wins over world champions Chris Eubank, Robin Reid, Richie Woodhall, Charles Brewer, Byron Mitchell, Jeff Lacy, Sakio Bika, Mikkel Kessler, Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jnr.

Any businesses or individuals interested in sponsoring next year’s event are encouraged to contact Will Rees on Will@WelshBoxingAwards.com.

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