Walter Rossi

Walter Rossi (1890-1959) was born in Pontypridd, the son of an Italian harpist who settled in Wales.

Part of a fighting family, his younger brother Francis was also a professional boxer of impressive pedigree.

As a young professional, Walter sought his fortune in the US before he was known at home. He returned to fight in World War I, boxed through the war years, and was a British bantamweight contender in 1916. Two of his bouts in April 1918 were in war-ravaged France.

Post-war Rossi’s results were rather mixed, suggesting he was past his best. In 1922 he got an unlikely shot at the European featherweight belt in Paris, but was stopped in the first round by the great Eugene Criqui.

Rossi fought on with limited success for another two years. His record then shows a five-year gap, before he returned for his final fight.

The Welshman followed his family roots back to Italy, where he was stopped in the eighth round by Domenico Bernasconi.


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I’m grateful to local historian John Stone for supplying this newspaper account of a Walter Rossi fight, taken from the Glamorgan Free Press on 2 September, 1914 (p.2):

“On Saturday night there was a large crowd at the Mill Field Athletic Club, Pontypridd to witness the fight between Walter Rossi (late America), Pontypridd, and Charles Yeomans, Pontypridd, flyweight. After 15 rounds Rossi was declared the winner, he having the advantage in weight and reach, and he used his left in masterly fashion. Throughout, Rossi had the best of the fight. The critics who vainly imagined that Yeomans was disheartened must have been convinced to the contrary by the style of his boxing, and the plucky way in which he went the whole of the distance, with an antagonist nearly a stone heavier. During the evening Jimmy Wilde ‘the Mighty Atom’, was introduced, and it was stated that he shortly will figure in a contest at the Mill Field.”

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