Statue perfect way to honour boxing’s ‘Pride of Poplar’
Teddy Baldock is Britain’s youngest ever World champion
The grandson of one of the greatest East End boxers of all time is campaigning to have a statue of him built in Poplar.
Bantamweight Teddy Baldock became Britain’s youngest ever world champion when he won the world title in 1927 aged just 19 and his record still remains.
Baldock, who grew up in Byron Street, was dubbed the ‘Pride of Poplar’ and fought an incredible 81 times as a professional, filling out venues such as Madison Square Garden and the Royal Albert Hall.
“We have spoken to the council and they seem happy with the idea about putting a statue of him up in Poplar and the local MP Jim Fitzpatrick himself told us that we are pushing against an open door,” said grandson Martin Sax.
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“So now we have to start fundraising and we need �35,000 to build the statue at the entrance to the Langdon Park Community Sports College as a focal point for the proposed Spotlight Youth Centre, the Tower Hamlets/Poplar Harker multi-purpose youth centre project due to be opened in Autumn 2013.
“It’s where he was born and to have it there would mean a lot, because he was so proud of where he came from.
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“He was so popular that when he was married in 1931 at All Saints Church, the ceremony drew thousands to the streets and was featured in the Daily Mirror and the Daily Express.”
Astonishly, Baldock turned pro at 13 and during a 10-year career captured British, European, Commonwealth and World honours, before retiring at just 24 years of age.
He had incredible fights with fellow east Londoner Alf Pattenden, but his finest moment came on May 5, 1927 when at the Albert Hall, London he defeated American Archie Bell on points after a classic 15-round fight for the vacant World bantamweight title with the endeavor earning Baldock the freedom of the borough.
Unfortunately after he retired from boxing he had no other trade to fall back on. The pub that he had invested his money into was bombed during the war and without the discipline of the sport he spent a small fortune gambling and drinking.
He accumulated well over �20,000 and many trophies during his career, but sadly lost it all.
Eventually he died penniless at 63, his final years spent sleeping rough or in common lodging houses around London
The fighter was forgotten by many, but Sax is determined that his grandfather’s legacy won’t die out.
A keen fan of boxing himself, the Royal Marine was fascinated about his exploits in the ring and he believes a statue would be a great honour to his accomplishments.
“It really would be a fitting tribute to him,” he said.
“It will be great for the community and. hopefully will give the whole area a real lift and serve as an inspiration and daily reminder to the pupils of Langdon Park College that one of their own had, through determination and hard work, risen to the very pinnacle of his chosen sporting career”
Baldock died when Sax was only two-years-old and only found out about his grandfather’s boxing history when his mother brought out photos of the champion 26 years ago.
Sax was fascinated by what he found out and after 20-years of research brought out a biography with the help of Brian Belton called the ‘Pride of Poplar’ and after the books success is keen that the mark of his grandfather is left where he was born and raised.
“I’m really proud about what he achieved in the sport and I am really passionate about having something to remember him by, because he was such a big figure in the area,” Sax added.
To donate, contact Martin Sax via the website www.teddybaldock.co.uk or telephone 07973520338