Monday, 24 August 2009

Cynon Valley Boxer Honoured in Hall of Fame

Family and friends of the Abercynon-born boxer Royston (Roy) John have celebrated his induction into the Cynon Valley Sporting Hall of Fame.

Mr John, who passed away in February 2007 at the age of 59, was honoured with a plaque in the Hall of Fame at Michael Sobell Sports Centre, Aberdare.

Roy John developed a flair for boxing as a young boy and at the age of eight, he won the first of many bouts. Two years later, he attained the first of his many Welsh vests.

During his amateur career, his talents brought him both ABA and international level achievements. Following some deliberation, he turned professional, quickly rising steadily through the light heavyweight ranks.

In 1967, in what was described as a classic encounter, he stopped "Gypsy" John Frankham at York's Bethnal Green Hall on a points decision. Following this emphatic victory, Roy turned his sights to Chris Finnegan - British Light Heavyweight Champion, Olympic Champion and World Light Heavyweight contender.

This contest, held at Wembley in 1973, was fought over the regulation 15 rounds and was regarded by many in the boxing world as one of the finest championship bouts seen.

Roy lost out marginally on a disputed points decision. The bout took its toll on both boxers, particularly Chris Finnegan who retired from the ring following the encounter. A short time later, in 1978, Roy John also retired.

Cllr Robert Bevan, Rhondda Cynon Taf Cabinet Member for Culture and Recreation, who unveiled the plaque at the Sobell Centre, said: "Royston John was one of the finest boxers to emerge from Wales. We are delighted to be able to celebrate his achievements and I'm sure his family are proud to see him remembered in this way."

Roy's family, including his widow Anne, were among those present at the unveiling ceremony.

"I felt very privileged to be part of such a special day," said Mrs John. "I would especially like to thank Roger Hopkins for his efforts and kindness in organising this event. Roy would have been very honoured and very pleased by the support of many family and friends."


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