Boyo Driscoll

Boyo Driscoll (1884-1966) was, like his more famous namesake Jim Driscoll, a product of Cardiff Bay who came from Irish stock.

He was a close friend and sparring partner of ‘Peerless’ Jim, but the two were not related.

Their friendship was strong enough to survive a famous and unfortunate incident in 1910, when Boyo appeared in Freddie Welsh‘s corner for the latter’s bad-tempered showdown with Jim Driscoll.

Boyo Driscoll was involved in the post-fight chaos after Jim was disqualified, and was at the heart of the unseemly post-fight brawl with the latter’s corner men which spilled onto the streets of Cardiff.

Boyo Driscoll enjoyed a distinguished boxing career of his own, and in 1904 could claim to be the best flyweight in Britain.

On 1 August of that year he secured a disqualification win over future world bantamweight champion Owen Moran at Cardiff’s Queen’s Hall.

Moran was recognised as British flyweight champion at the time, but Driscoll could not claim the belt because the bout had been fought over two-minute rounds, meaning that he lost the opportunity of becoming Wales’ first British champion.

The Welshman gained a legitimate shot at the title when Moran moved up in weight, but Driscoll was beaten by Jim Kenrick.

Most of the rest of Driscoll’s career was spent in the States where he had a reputation as a crowd pleaser, notably in a notoriously bloody New Year’s Day 1911 battle with Biz Mackey in the Bronx.

Driscoll’s final US bout was his only appearance at Madison Square Garden, a 1912 victory over Young Reilly.

He went from there to Australia where he enjoyed two victories over Charlie Simpson, the first in Sydney and the second in Melbourne.

By this stage he was badly affected by rheumatism, though, and Driscoll returned to Cardiff and retirement.

Boyo Driscoll in Peerless Jim

There are plentiful descriptions of Boyo in Alexander Cordell’s 1984 novel Peerless Jim, a fictional account of the life and times of Jim Driscoll.

Cordell states that the book is based on “known facts”, although that claim is much doubted amongst sports historians. The author puts this analysis of Boyo’s fighting style into the mouth of his namesake, Jim:

“Boyo fought like a terrier, he always did; his style never varied.

“He’d come charging in, swarming all over you, swinging like a madman from every angle; he’d lay on you; he’d hook underneath and over the top in the clinches, he’d rub shoulders with his chin: he was a bar-room brawler and he fought like an American.

“At his best he’d take a decision off a wildcat like the great Birmingham featherweight, Owen Moran. At his worst you could clip him on the chin with a friendly one, and he’d drop.”


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