David Pearce

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.

Eddie Thomas statue in Merthyr Tydfil

Eddie Thomas statue in Merthyr Tydfil

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.

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7 Responses to David Pearce

  1. Kelz July 4, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    David Pearce : WAS THE GREATEST ALL TIME FIGHTING MACHINE AND WOULD NEVER OF QUIT BOXING. HE LIVED AND BREATHED EVERYTHING ABOUT BOXING. He listened well and passed all He knew, learnt about The Profession on to youths who had The Eye of the Tiger as He did.

  2. D Townsend May 29, 2015 at 8:13 pm #

    Yucker you will be sadly missed………. Great Champion, who fought for three big Heavyweight titles and weighed in 13st 7 for most of his fights. The KO’s of Mcdonald/Syben/Andries and of course Meade stands out…!

    He would have caused today’s Cruiserweights Nightmares and the Light Heavyweight division would have been oblitirated!!

    Boxing News called him Uncomparable and what a gentleman he had time for everyone until his tragic Death.


  3. JAMIE MORGAN July 2, 2016 at 2:22 am #

    he was my dads cousoun what a legend R.I.P DAI XXXXXX

  4. Carl September 7, 2016 at 10:53 am #

    What a legend – it was amazing to think he did all that in an era of much bigger men!

    God Bless you David – I hope Neeport provides you with a tribute

  5. Nigel October 21, 2016 at 8:07 am #

    David Pearce fought in era of behemoths and still KO’d them …!

    He would have made 190 lbs easy and could of been one of the best Cruiserweights the World had ever seen.

    Most of the top Cruiserweight’s, would get stopped when venturing to Heavyweight.. Not David ‘Bomber’ Pearce he fought anyone!

    A true hero for Newport, Gwent and Wales.

    I hope the Welsh community help remember him with a memorial in Newport.

    God Bless you David x

  6. Sarah June 12, 2017 at 5:25 pm #

    He lit up the town with his smile and love for everyone ❤

    His career was tough, he had nothing given to him and equalled Basham and Richardson by fighting for Welsh,British and European titles even though his career was cut cruelly short at the age of 24.

    In the words of ‘Reg Gutteridge’ “David Pearce won the European Heavyweight title twice that night” – I think that sums it up for David he certainly was #NewportsRocky

  7. john griffin December 16, 2017 at 7:52 am #

    i was a big fan of david,,,,he would of koed bruno,,,,but bruno kept well away,,, i wonder why he left eddie thomas,,,,,,,,who i know came to birmingham to try and sign barney burns a great amatuer,,middleweight,,,,,rip barney and david,,,,,,,,,,

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