Cuthbert Taylor

Merthyr bantamweight Cuthbert Taylor (1909-77) was a fighter who was good enough to compete at world level, but who was denied the championship opportunities that should have opened up to him because of the colour of his skin.

He was born in Georgetown, Merthyr, under the name John Street in 1909 and – in an impressive amateur career – represented Britain at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, where he lost in the quarter-finals to eventual silver medallist Armand Apell.

After his return to Merthyr he turned professional under Jimmy Wilde‘s old manager.

In a distinguished career – estimated at many more hundreds of fights than the 117 listed on BoxRec – Taylor faced four world champions, including the great Freddie Miller who beat the Welshman on points after a 12-round war in Liverpool.

The colour bar that lasted until 1948 meant that he never got a shot at a British title, though.

In his later life, Taylor was a fan of Howard Winstone and he offered the youngster valuable advice.

See Cuthbert Taylor in the 1977 BBC Wales programme “Fighting Talk: The History of Welsh Boxing”. He passed away later that year.


6 Responses to Cuthbert Taylor

  1. Gary Slinn February 13, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    My Grandad Harry Brown fought Cuthbert Talyor twice once in Merthyr on May 16th 1932 and he lost on points over 15 rounds and the he also lost the return in his home town of Northampton again on points over 15 rounds on February 20th 1933.
    Two tough men and two tough fights one would imagine.

    • Sean Davies February 13, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

      Thanks for the note, Gary – love to hear people’s personal/family stories

  2. Steve Barr July 4, 2016 at 7:54 pm #

    Coincidentally I am currently compiling a scrapbook on my grandfather’s boxing career (Dick
    Burke from Liverpool) and have dedicated a chapter on his connection with Welsh Fighters.

    He fought Cuthbert Taylor and Phineas John twice, and also fought Jim Crawford, Terence
    Morgan and George Morgan between 1930 and 1934.

    The great Jimmy Wide referreed one of his two fights against the great bantamweight world champion of that era, Panama Al Brown, and he was friends with the legendary Tommy Farr. I have a photograph of the two of them chatting away. Must have been during the war as my grandfather is in his RAF uniform.

    I was quite moved to watch the BBC documentary featuring Cuthbert and Phineas talking about their early experiences fighting in the booths. I would have loved to have had the opportunity to talk to them about their time boxing in the 1930’s and their recollections of their fights against my grandfather.

    • Sean Davies July 5, 2016 at 3:46 pm #

      That’s fascinating, thanks Steve. Glad you liked the documentary, I pulled that out of the archive when I was working for the BBC. Good luck with the book.

  3. Steve Barr July 9, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

    Hi Sean, I recently exchanged a few emails with Gareth Jones talking about the Ginger Jones fight with Panama Al Brown. I have also accumulated a good number of reports/photos and programs featuring my grandfather’s two fights against Al Brown. Apparently, at one time, he was the only boxer to have conceded weight to him (along with the usual height and reach disadvantage any boxer would have) and gone the distance -12 rounds at Sheffield’s Drill Hall in 1932.

    I also established contact recently with a writer based in New York who should shortly be publishing a book on Al Brown entitled ” Black Ink”. He has been able to include a small mention of my grandfather’s fights with him so I’m looking forward to reading it.

    Finally, I see you published a book on Welsh Fighters in World War 1. Amazing what these guys went through as well as their tough boxing lives. My grandfather entered the RAF at the outbreak of World War 2 and him, along with many other famous boxers of the time (usually
    with his friend the great Nel Tarlton) boxed many exhibitions in aid of the Allied POW fund.

    They were reputed to have raised around GBP30,000 for the effort. I have copies of some of the reports of these efforts. Sounds like a lot of the boxers joined the RAF.

  4. Steve Barr August 17, 2016 at 1:37 am #

    Hi Sean,
    Just wanted to let you know that a New York author and ex-boxer, Jose Corpas, has just published a great book about Panama Al Brown.

    It’s a great read and includes a brief mention on his fight with Ginger Jones. It also includes a lot of references to a Welsh boxing legend who trained Al Brown during his formative years when he first landed in New York. I’m sure you’re familiar with Dai Dollings.

    Well worth a read.


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