Heavyweight David ‘Bomber’ Pearce was born in Newport in 1959, the son of a man who had fought in the booths and had fathered seven sons, six of whom would box professionally.
A game, heavy hitter, renowned for his left hook, Pearce’s 6ft, 200lb frame would probably have been better suited to the cruiserweight division that only began to establish itself at the tail end of his career.
After work as a steelworker and a distinguished amateur career, Pearce turned professional with trainer Eddie Thomas in 1978, and triumphed in his first nine fights.
He then ran into Welsh rival Neville Meade, and fell to a second-round stoppage against the heavy-hitting Swansea man.
Pearce also lost his next bout, to disqualification, but he recovered to embark on a long winning streak that included a stoppage of the usually indestructible ‘Hackney Rock’, Dennis Andries.
The Newport man’s fine form set him up for a shot at the British heavyweight title, but to claim it he would have to overcome his old nemesis, Meade.
The fight at St David’s Hall, Cardiff, was the last British Championship bout that was scheduled for 15 rounds, agreed before the new 12-round rule came in.
But Pearce needed just nine stanzas to stop his fellow Welshman and claim the sought-after belt.
He stepped up a level with a 1985 challenge for the European title against French-based Moroccan Lucien Rodriguez in Limoges, his opponent a man who had recently gone the distance with Larry Holmes.
Despite suffering a broken hand, the Welshman sent the long-reigning Rodriguez to the canvas twice. He had cause to complain about a long count, but lost a tight 12-round decision.
Pearce’s career was then cut short when brain scan irregularities led to his suspension by the British Boxing Board of Control, who also stripped the champion of his British belt.
Despite struggling with financial problems, Pearce turned down offers to fight on the unlicenced circuit.
He was tempted back to the professional ring six years later to face Percell Davis in Michigan.
In what would prove to be his final bout, the former champion – now aged 31 – gave away around five stones, and was stopped in eight rounds.
Tragically, Pearce would have just 10 more years of life – during which he struggled against poverty, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease – and he died in 2000 at the age of 41.