Lydia Turpin, the great niece of Randolph Turpin and the granddaughter of Jackie, has contacted us. She said: “I feel that you should have researched more extensively before putting an article in the newspaper that is wholly inaccurate. This story exhibits sloppy journalism. There was no such exhibition in Leamington Spa in the lead-up to my great uncle’s world title fight against Sugar Ray Robinson. Indeed the three brothers went straight to London from their training camp in Wales ahead of the fight.
“There is no way on earth Randolph would have entered into exhibition fighting with non training partners in the lead-up to the most important fight of his life! Further, if you couldn’t find this supposed article with the headline ‘Are we sending the right man?’ then really you should have surmised that the story was untrue and not published it without documentary evidence to support Miss Galvin’s claims or at least approaching the family for clarification.
“Whilst I sympathise with Miss Galvin, and, I totally understand a granddaugher believing stories told to her by her grandfather (I once believed my grandad when he told me he carried his war ship on his back over Mount Everest), it’s another prime example of negative/inaccurate press regarding Randolph Turpin.
“If the family got £1 for every time someone said they beat or knocked down Randolph we’d be rather rich!
It’s quite amazing how he managed to win the world title at all considering how many people knocked him down.”
However, some Courier readers recall the incident, but differ about when and where it happened.
Bryan (Reg) Fox of Newnham Road in Lillington says it happened in a boxing booth at the Kenilworth Carnival fair in July, 1952.
He said; “I was 17 and went to Kenilworth Carnival with some mates. We paid 2s 6d to go into the boxing booth. It was packed because Randolph Turpin was boxing and there were police there. He came in dressed in a white dressing gown and a hood. They were taking people out of the audience who wanted to go a round with him.
“This bloke put Turpin on his knees twice. But Turpin got up and pummelled him. He bruised the bloke’s face badly and he had to be taken off to hospital. Afterwards they sent a hat around the audience to make a collection for the bloke.”
Reg says that his brother-in-law Maurice Adams once sparred with Turpin at Warwick.
Reg was born and bred in Kenilworth but moved to Leamington in 1961 when he got married. He was a helper at Kenilworth Carnival for a few years when he came out of the Army after his National Service in 1954.
Another version of the Turpin knockdown story comes from Alan Winterburn of Leamington. He believes the event did not happen before the title fight in 1951 but may have taken place a little earlier, in 1949 or 1950.
He said; “I was about 12 at the time and went to Warwick School. I can remember cycling home past Dormer Place one afternoon and seeing a boxing ring erected in the bandstand in Pump Room Gardens. I was told the three Turpin brothers were offering £1 to anyone who would get in the ring with them and £3 to anyone who could last a round.”
Lydia Turpin points out that there was a huge difference between exhibition fighting and the boxing booths - all comers were not part of exhibition fighting.
Pictured: Jimmy Galvin (right)