Llew Edwards

Llew Edwards (1892-1965) rose from the Rhondda to become British and Empire featherweight champion and the lightweight champion of Australia.

Jack Scarrott, Jim Driscoll, Llew Edwards, Jimmy Wilde, Percy Jones, Ermin Long

Jack Scarrott, Jim Driscoll, Llew Edwards, Jimmy Wilde, Percy Jones, Ermin Long (clockwise from back right), photo courtesy of Lawrence Davies

He was raised on a Shropshire farm with the name Hiram Llewellyn Edwards, and his attraction to fighting didn’t begin until he moved to the south Wales valleys for work.

The great Jim Driscoll acted as a mentor to Edwards in his early career, and he started professional boxing in January 2013.

After working his way up through local shows, Edwards graduated to become a favourite at the National Sporting Club, where he never lost a bout.

It was there that he scored a May 2015 disqualification win over the great Owen Moran, a victory which gave Edwards the British and Commonwealth featherweight titles.

He would fight in Britain just once more, though, as he lost popularity at home when he left the country soon after the Moran fight while his homeland was in the throes of World War I.

The Welshman continued his career in Australia, successfully defending his Commonwealth title against Jimmy Hill at the Sydney Stadium in December 1915.

He spent the rest of the war plying his trade in Australia, finding great success in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Of 34 fights down under in the period 1915-18, Edwards won 27, drew three and lost four, becoming Australian lightweight champion along the way.

Sydney Stadium, Australia, in 1913

Sydney Stadium, Australia, in 1913

His arch enemy was US immigrant Harry Stone, who was known as ‘Hop Harry’ for his habit of bouncing in with a lead then hopping back out of range before a counter could arrive.

The unorthodox style proved Edwards’ downfall in two of their first three meetings, the other ending in a draw.

But in a September 1917 clash for the national title at the Brisbane Stadium, Edwards finally proved the victor after 20 hard-fought rounds.

Edwards campaigned in the Philippines after the war, and after years of success there, in Britain and Australia he dreamed of a world-title shot against Freddie Welsh‘s conqueror, Benny Leonard.

It was a bout that the Porth man could never secure, though he did go on to be an adviser to Pancho Villa and to fight in the States.

Edwards faced the likes of Richie Mitchell in the US, but he did not get there until 1920, in the eighth year of his professional career.

By this point the Welshman was past his best and chasing cash. He returned to Australia in 1921 where he fought for another two years, including two defeats to his old rival Stone – the second of those fittingly proving to be Edwards’ final fight.

He stayed down under his death at the age of 72 in 1965.


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