Francis Rossi

Francis Rossi (1897-1964) was born into a fighting family in Pontypridd, his elder brother Walter also a professional boxer.

Their father was an Italian harpist who had settled in Wales.

Francis worked as a collier’s boy, then served in the Royal Artillery in World War I, when he spent time in Marseilles.

The end of hostilities saw the lightweight concentrate on his ring career, and in 1919 he held an ageing Jim Driscoll to a draw in a hugely hyped battle in Mountain Ash.

Rossi decided to test his skills in the US and he crossed the Atlantic on the Berengaria with stable-mate Frank Moody, the great Pontypridd middleweight.

Rossi loved the States and he decided to stay, even though he had a wife and child back home in Wales. He settled in Brockton, a famous fight town that Rocky Marciano, Marvellous Marvin Hagler and Kelly Pavlik would later call home.

The Welshman found success in the ring, and also starred as a soccer player for Lynn Fosse. Rossi became a US citizen, married for a second time, and eventually died in Massachusetts in 1964.


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