Neville Meade

Neville Meade (1948-2010) was a Commonwealth Games gold medallist and British champion, but the suspicion is that the laid-back heavyweight could have made even more of his talents.

He was born in Jamaica but emigrated to the UK and settled in Swansea, even though he would wear England’s colours when he won gold at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch.

Meade turned professional soon afterwards, but lost his first bout, a points defeat to Tony Mikulski.

It took time for the Swansea man to turn his professional career around and – despite a 1976 Welsh Area heavyweight triumph against Tony Blackburn – results were mixed.

He was known for a reckless, crowd-pleasing, big-hitting approach in the ring and was never afraid to travel, his record by 1980 showing bouts in Norway, Spain, Belgium and South Africa.

Meade had lost 11 of his fights by that point, but he had a new trainer in Jimmy Bromfield, and a win over fellow Welshman David Pearce was the first of four victories that propelled him into a British title shot.

Champion Gordon Ferris proved no match for the 34-year-old Welshman, and was stopped by a crushing overhand right to the jaw in the first round at Aston Villa Leisure Centre.

Meade was in the twilight of his career though, and in his next fight he was defeated by American Leroy Boone. After a non-title win over Rick Kellar, Meade lost his British title at the first defence.

Old-foe Pearce was back for revenge at St David’s Hall, Cardiff.

The fight made history as the last British Championship bout scheduled for 15 rounds – the showdown 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.

Meade would never fight again, retiring with a record showing 20 wins (18 KOs), 13 defeats (nine by KO) and one draw, meaning that just seven of his 34 fights went the distance.

The former champion struggled with alcoholism in later life, and died of cancer in Swansea in 2010.

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