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18th JANUARY 2012 PASSING OF 2 CHAMPIONS

Two former Empire Champions of the 1950's and 60's, Heavyweight Joe Bygraves of Jamaica and Welterweight Brian Curvis of Wales passed away in January of this year. Joe won the Empire Heavyweight Title in June 1956 by defeating Tongan, Kitione Lave and held it for 17 months before losing it to Joe Erskine of Wales. He boxed and even beat some of the best boxers in the World, holding wins over British Champions Henry Cooper and Jack Gardner, European Champion Dick Richardson and losing on points to George Chuvalo and future World Champions, Willie Pastrano and Ingemar Johannson. After retiring from the ring in 1965 he became a farmer and, reputedly had the closest farm to London, at Stanmore in Middlesex. He returned to his native Jamaica late in his life. Brian Curvis won the Empire Heavyweight Title in 1960 from Australian George Barnes and it was a Title he was never to lose in the ring. He boxed and beat some of the best welterweights of his time including Jose Stable, Gaspar Ortega, Guy Sumlin and Dave Charnley, the former Lightweight Champion. However he was unsuccessful against the great Emile Griffith for the World Title losing on points in 1964, one of only of only 4 defeats, none to a British boxer, in a career of 41 contests. Two very fine Champions, and men, who graced the ring with their presence.