South East Wales

Cardiff plaque unveiled for boxing champ Jack Petersen

Jack Petersen
Image caption Jack Petersen fought in front of crowds of up to 50,000 at Cardiff's Ninian Park during the 1930s

A blue plaque has been unveiled in Cardiff city centre to honour 1930s champion boxer Jack Petersen.

He was the first Welshman to win the British and Empire light heavyweight and heavyweight boxing championships.

An eye injury forced him to retire at 25 and he later became a city councillor and deputy chairman of the Sports Council for Wales.

His son Robert said his family were honoured with the tribute to his father, who died in 1990.

The plaque is in St John Street, outside the Blacks shop at the top of The Hayes, and was unveiled by Cardiff's lord mayor, Delme Bowen.

The building once housed the Lynn Institute Gym, owned by the boxer's father, Pa Petersen, who became his mentor and manager.

Famous people

Image caption Jack Petersen's children had campaigned for a plaque recognising his public life success

The gym offered boxing training, fitness, massage and hot baths during the 1920s and 1930s and was used by sportsmen including the Cardiff City football team who won the 1927 FA Cup.

The blue plaque is one of a series being erected in south Wales to remember famous people, events and places.

Mr Petersen was born in the suburb of Whitchurch in 1911 and became a professional boxer 20 years later.

He won several titles including the British light heavyweight crown, the British heavyweight title and the Lonsdale Belt, which he defended eight times.

He was one of Britain's biggest box office draws, fighting in front of crowds of up to 50,000 at Cardiff's Ninian Park. He won 33 of his 38 professional fights.

Mr Petersen joined the Army where he reached the rank of major, but kept his interest in boxing alive.

'Great role model'

He became the first boxer to be elected president of the British Boxing Board of Control, a post he held until his death.

He was awarded the Territorial Decoration in 1950 and the OBE for services to sport in 1978.

Mr Petersen's youngest son Robert said: "On behalf of all the Petersen family I would like to thank the lord mayor and the City of Cardiff for giving my father such an honour.

"He was through and through a Cardiffian and it is most appropriate that this plaque has been erected outside the building which he trained so hard for all his fights."

Mr Bowen added: "I am delighted that we are honouring a respected and victorious boxing legend who was such a great role model for Welsh men during the dark days of the depression of the 1930s.

"This plaque will raise awareness of the achievements and success of Jack Petersen whilst adding historical value to the city."

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