Randolph Turpin Randolph Adolphus Turpin was born on the 7th June 1928, the son of Lionel Fitzherbert. Turpin and Beatrice Whitehouse, Lional was the first black man in Leamington Spa after emigrating from British Guiana (now Guyana). Beatrice was a local girl who's father was a bare-knuckle fighter. Randy was the youngest of five children, with two older brothers, Dick and Jackie, and two older sisters Joan and Kathy. Three months after Turpin was born his father Lionel died, he had been gassed on the Somme in WW1, an injury he never recovered from. Randy as a three year old contracted double pneumonia, a serious form of infection in both lungs, from which he almost died. Boxing was in the family, Randy's elder brother Dick turned professional when Randy was nine years old. Starting at twelve, Randy had 100 amateur contest, winning 95 of them. In 1943 aged 15, he was the British junior 112lbs champion, and in 1944 the junior 133lb champion . He achieved a unique double in 1945, by winning both the junior 147lb championship, and the senior ABA Welterweight championship. This made Randy the youngest ever ABA champion and the first black boxer to win an ABA Championship. In September 1946, Randy turned professional and joined their ranks. Signed with George Middleton, a local shop keeper, already managing his brother Dick. Randy used the name 'The Leamington Licker', as a professional, a name given to him during his school days for his ability to lick people twice his size. His career started alright when on September 17, 1946 he defeated Gorden Griffiths in less tha two minutes; the referee stopped the bout after Griffith went down for a second time. After many success Randy was handed a World title fight. His opponent was the seemingly invincible Sugar Ray Robinson, Randy received a purse of $28, 000, while Robinson received a purse of $84,000. Robinson was out-punched, out muscled and dominated by Randy on his way to becoming World Middleweight Champion. Randy became an overnight hero in England and was paraded in front of thousands in his home town Leamington Spa, in an open car. Robinson used a clause in the contract that guanrteed a re-match. Randy fought just as he did in the first fight and was getting to Robinson. Randy split Robinson eye, fearing a stoppage Robinson went on the attack, and Randy started to mix it with him instead of going defensive. Randy was hit by right and left hooks, which put him down for a count of seven. He landed a barrage of punches with Randy pinned to the ropes when the referee stepped in stopped the fight with seven seconds left to go. His reign as Middleweight boxing king was over after just 64 day. Randy was unhappy with the outcome to which he said,'He should not have stopped it' with only seven seconds to go I was perfectly keen'. With the retirement of Sugar Ray Robinson, it was decided that the winner of a bout between Randy and Frenchman Charles Humez for the European Middleweight title, would face winner of an American Elimination series. Randy had problems making the weight, but he outpointed Humez before a crowed of 54,000 at the White City, London. The winner of the American Elimination series was the Hawaiian Carl 'Bob' Olsen, and he met Randy in October 1953. Randy did well to start but then received a cut in the fourth round. He bullied throughout the fight and was down in the 9th and 10th round. He seemed strangely unmotivated during the fight and lost convincingly on points. 'Troubles in my life and not Olsen defeated me', he said after the fight. Following his retirement it became clear that his finance had been less than well managed. Failed business venture, including a hotel and holiday camp saw him fall heavily in dept. He fought again to make money but as a wrestler as £25 a bout. Worked in scarp yard for his former boss, owned by his former manager George Middleton. In 1962 the Inland Revenue claimed £17,126 on his boxing earnings; unable to pay he declared bankrupt. He made a brief return to the ring to score a knock out victory over Eddie Marcano and Charles Seguna, before trouble with eye sight put an end to his career for good. With many troubles in his life Randy committed suicide on 17th May1966, aged just 37. Following his death Randy received an induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. In 2001, exactly 50 years after his victory over Sugar Ray Rabinson, a statue of Randy was erected in Warwick town square.
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