A signed photograph of a famous boxing match from the collection of Shropshire’s former world champion boxer Richie Woodhall has sold for £320 at auction to another of the county’s sporting heroes.
The large canvas photograph of undefeated world champion Joe Calzaghe’s ‘Judgement Day’ fight against highly rated American contender Jeff Lacy, which took place 10 years ago next month in Manchester, was snapped up by former Shrewsbury Town player and manager Jake King.
King bought the photograph at Halls’ interiors auction in Shrewsbury today (Wednesday) and plans to gift it to his son, Ryan, to add to his collection of boxing memorabilia. It will go on display with a range of other boxing photographs at the Smoke Stop restaurant in Ford, near Shrewsbury which Ryan runs.
“I bought it for my son, Ryan, who’s a massive boxing fan and also to support Richie’s charity,” said Jake. “Ryan travels all over the country to buy signed photographs of boxing champions and he also goes to boxing training twice a week. I think he gets his interest in boxing from my dad who was a boxing champion in the Army.”
Jake played for Shrewsbury Town, Wrexham, Cardiff and Limerick before retiring and training to become a chef with restaurant business interests. He went on to manage both Shrewsbury Town and Telford.
The £320 raised from the auction will go to a fund to bring 11-year-old Matthew Cooper, who is battling cancer, home from hospital. Richie wanted to help Matthew, from Trench, Telford, after reading in the Shropshire Star how the youngster had been unable to leave Birmingham Children’s Hospital since last August, when he was diagnosed with brain and spinal cancer.
An appeal has been set up to raise money for adaptations to the family home so that Matthew can return home.
The photograph, signed by Calzaghe, was given to Richie during a sportsmen’s dinner a few years ago. It was part of Richie’s large collection of boxing memorabilia, which he is selling to raise money for cancer sufferers as a tribute to his father Len, who died from the disease last July.
The’ Judgement Day’ fight, was one of the highlights of the Welshman Calzaghe’s career. “It was thought that Joe might lose his title,” said Richie. “But he won almost every round, he really slayed him. It was probably the best fight of Joe’s career.”
Richie said it was clear from the early days that Calzaghe was a very special talent and they became firm friends. “We always got on well, we both trained with our fathers and our dads were good friends with each other as well,” he added.
He retired from the sport following his defeat to Calzaghe in 2000 and the Welshman went on to become the longest-reigning super-middleweight world champion in history.
Halls’ fine art director Jeremy Lamond said he was delighted with the “knockout” price achieved at auction for the photograph and the fact that it was going to a local boxing fan.
The signed photograph of undefeated world boxing champion Joe Calzaghe’s ‘Judgement Day’ fight against American contender Jeff Lacy, which raised £320 for 11-year-old Matthew Cooper.