Merthyr’s Boxers: Cuthbert Taylor

Cuthbert Taylor was born in John Street, Georgetown on 11 December 1909 to an English father of Caribbean heritage and a Welsh mother. After winning Amateur Boxing Association’s flyweight title in 1928, he was selected to represent Britain in the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam. He became the first black boxer to compete for Great Britain, and only the 3rd black British Olympian (after Harry Edward and Jack London). He defeated Juan José Trillo of Argentina, but he was eliminated in the quarter-finals of the flyweight class after losing his fight to the potential silver medallist Armand Apell.

On returning to Wales he turned professional fighting Manchester’s Jackie Brown at Merthyr Tydfil on 29 December 1928. The contest ended in a draw, which was followed by his first professional win, over Lud Abella and a loss to Phineas John. By May 1929 Taylor was invited to fight at the National Sporting Club in London, losing by points in a 15 round match against Bert Kirby.

Cuthbert Taylor
Cuthbert Taylor

On 29 July 1929, Taylor had moved up a weight division, and challenged Dan Dando for the Welsh Bantamweight Championship, defeating Dando on points. His reign was short lived when he lost the title just over a month later to Phineas John. Taylor challenged twice more for the Welsh Bantamweight belt, failing on both occasions, both against Stanley Jehu, first for the vacant title in 1930 and then an unsuccessful challenge in 1931. Although having been Welsh bantamweight champion, and being recognised as one of the best in Britain in his weight category, Taylor was denied a chance to fight for the British title due to a rule that prohibited non-white fighters from challenging for the championship.

cuthbert-taylor-and-francois-machtens-1932
Cuthbert Taylor and Francois Machtens in 1932

Cuthbert Taylor retired from boxing in 1944, but made a brief, unsuccessful comeback in 1947.

In a distinguished career, Taylor faced four world champions, including the great Freddie Miller who beat the Welshman on points after a 12-round battle in Liverpool. In total Taylor fought 247 professional bouts, with 151 wins, 69 losses and 22 draws. In all his fights he was knocked out only once, by Tommy Hyams at Selhurst Park in 1932. None of Taylor’s fights were conducted outside Britain. Including amateur fights he recorded over 250 victories.

In his later life, Taylor was a fan of Howard Winstone and he offered the youngster valuable advice. Cuthbert Taylor died on 15 November 1977.

2 thoughts on “Merthyr’s Boxers: Cuthbert Taylor”

  1. With regards to Cuthbert Taylor, he did box out of the u.k. in Amsterdam Olympics 1928. As a professional he boxed at Sale Wagram, Paris, on 13th November 1930, against Julien Pannecouke (France), where he drew on points over 12 rounds. The original verdict of referee Henry Bernstein was a points win for Cuthbert, but, a mistake was found on the referee’s scorecard so result was changed to a draw. On 22nd January 1931, he boxed Emile “Spider” Pladner (Clermont Ferrand, France) where he lost on points over 12 rounds.

    1. Many thanks for the comment. I really do appreciate it – you obviously know a lot more about him than me, so I am glad you clarified that point – I would much prefer the facts to be correct. My knowledge of boxers isn’t great, but because they are such a big part of Merthyr’s history I try to do what I can. If you would ever like to contribute any articles to the blog – they would be greatly appreciated.

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