Born 5 March 1886 at Pontypridd, son of John Thomas of Pontypridd and Elizabeth Thomas (née Hall). He was educated at Long Ashton, Bristol, and from an early age showed an unusual inclination for athletics. During his school career he carried off several prizes for boxing, wrestling, running, and jumping.
His first noteworthy success in later life was when, at the age of 20, he knocked out Hock Heyes in the seventeenth round of a twenty-round contest for the Australian light-weight championship. Thereafter, he embarked upon a systematic collection of championships.
Beginning with the Welsh title, which he won from Johnnie Owens in 1907, he went on to win the light-weight championship of England and Great Britain from Johnnie Summers, a success which carried with it the first gold challenge belt presented by lord Lonsdale. Three years later, in 1912, Welsh defeated Hughie Mehegan and won the championship of the British Empire and a second Lonsdale Belt to which he soon added a third by defeating Matt Wells for the light-weight championship of Great Britain, thus regaining the title he had lost to Wells in 1911. Then, in 1914, Welsh reached the top of his class by defeating Willie Ritchie for the light-weight championship of the World.
Welsh performed many remarkable feats of boxing. In 1907 he fought and knocked out three opponents in one day. These were Evan Evans (light-weight), Charlie Weber (welterweight), and Gomer Morgan (heavy-weight).
In later years Welsh lived in America and became a director of the ‘health farm’ at Bayside, Long Island. He was also director-in-chief of the physical training department, Walter Reed Army General Hospital, Washington, D.C.
He died 28 July 1927.
Published date: 1959
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