Monday, 2 June 2014

Teddy Baldock Statue unveiled in East London

A statue commemorating Britain's youngest World champion of the modern era was unveiled on Friday 16th May in Langdon Park, Poplar, East London.

Teddy Baldock was one of Britain's finest boxers of the 1920's and one of its most loved sportsmen. Teddy won the World Bantamweight title on May 5th 1927 at the Royal Albert Hall in London beating America's Archie Bell on points over fifteen rounds. 

The Pride of Poplar
World title victory propelled him to stardom in Britain, as his grandson Martin Sax attests: "There was a report about my grandmother and how she had gone to watch him fight at Premierland without him knowing because he didn’t agree with women watching boxing, and I think his parents had a bad car crash, and that made the Daily Express news because of who their son was".

His world title shot didn't come easy. By the time he fought Bell, he had been a professional boxer for six years and had competed in fifty-seven contests, compiling a record of 54-1-2. Another four years passed with some further success, but by 1930 Teddy's best days were behind him. He retired in 1931 aged 24 with a final professional record of 73-5-3. 

Archie Bell (left) shakes hands with Teddy Baldock (right) ahead of their world title fight

The event was made possible by the hard work and dedication of Teddy's grandson Martin who campaigned tirelessly to have his grandfather's achievements remembered. Martin's efforts were made a reality thanks to fundraising, donations and the Poplar Housing and Regeneration Community Association (Poplar HARCA). Sculptor Carl Payne's craftsmanship must also be recognised as his work now sees Teddy immortalised in bronze.

"I hope that the statue will now serve as an inspiration to the Spotlight Youth Club members and also the students attending the nearby Langdon Park Sports Community College, highlighting the achievements of a local youth who, through hard work and determination, rose to the very pinnacle of his chosen sporting career", says a proud Martin Sax.

Martin Sax with his mother and two sons
When Teddy died aged 63 in 1971, only a handful of people attended his funeral. On 16th May 2014, this was put right as over three hundred people, including over a dozen former British boxing heroes, turned out to pay tribute to this once-great hero of the ring. 
Many of the former British boxing heroes who showed up on the day including Nobby Clarke, Vernon Sollas, Sylvester Mittee, Gary DeRoux, Charlie Magri, Sammy McCarthy and others
The statue now sits just a few hundred yards from where he grew up in Byron Street, next door to the new Spotlight Centre, within which can be found a boxing gym. Perhaps Teddy can once again inspire local youths to achieve the lofty heights of this once great East Londoner. As Martin said on the day: "When Teddy fought, he was known as the Pride of Poplar. Well, he's back here now and I hope the people of Poplar can be proud of him again".

Plaque below the statue
Immortalised in bronze




















Martin Sax's speech from the event can be viewed here: 


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