Memorial paying tribute to Portsmouth’s finest boxers to be unveiled this weekend

Boxer Billy Streets is one of those remembered on the new memorial.
Boxer Billy Streets is one of those remembered on the new memorial.

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A MEMORIAL to celebrate the careers and lives of Portsmouth’s great professional boxers will be unveiled on Sunday.

The granite tribute has been placed on Guildhall and will include the names of 10 fighters who competed between 1910 and 1960.

The names of 10 former boxers have been included on the memorial.

The names of 10 former boxers have been included on the memorial.

The brainchild of Portsmouth author Andrew Fairley, about £4,800 was crowdfunded to make the the idea a reality.

Andrew, who last year released the book Pompey’s Boxing Past, said: ‘As part of my book I track down the relatives of the boxers to find out where they were born, how they lived and more about them.

‘What I realised is that many of them were stars of their time, it was a real golden age for boxing in Portsmouth.

‘Many of them could not go down Commercial Road without being stopped a few times by passers-by.

It truly is a very beautiful object. We are hoping that tens of thousands of people will walk past and see it.

Andrew Fairley

‘There are people in Portsmouth who know them by reputation even 90 years after they boxed, so myself and the relatives thought this would be a nice thing to do for the city’s heritage.

Those mentioned on the memorial include Harry Andrews, who fought in 49 professional fights, and Billy Streets - ‘one of the most popular boxers you could imagine’, according to Andrew.

Families and descendents of those named will be travelling from across the country , as well as Australia and Spain, for Sunday’s event.

English light-heavyweight champion Joel McIntyre, who is from Leigh Park, will carry out the unveiling.

Fratton firm Alver Stones helped create the large granite memorial.

Fratton firm Alver Stones helped create the large granite memorial.

The memorial was originally going to be placed in Victoria Park, but instead a more prominent spot in Guildhall Square was chosen.

Andrew said: ‘It truly is a very beautiful object. We are hoping that tens of thousands of people will walk past and see it.

‘The council have supported us so much with this as well.

‘The money raised as well gives us an indication of how much these boxers meant to people living here.

‘We had no external funding and managed to raise all the money in about five months.’

The memorial, weighing three quarters of a tonne, was built by Alver Stones in Fratton and transported to the square for free by Rapid Response Solutions.

The unveiling will take place at 2pm on Sunday next to the civic offices.