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Last Updated: Friday, 20 October 2006, 06:21 GMT 07:21 UK
Boxer's 'hard living' on display
Billy "Kid" Hughes
Billy "Kid" Hughes fought 382 times between 1919 and 1935
The son of a boxer who fought 382 bouts in a 16-year-career will be among the guests at the opening of an exhibition celebrating the sport in Neath.

Many of the items on show belong to Len Hughes, 74, whose father Billy "Kid" Hughes fought out of Maesteg.

The display, which opens on Friday at Neath Museum, focuses on boxers past and present from the area.

Billy Hughes won the Welsh fly-weight title before hanging up his gloves in 1935 to manage other fighters.

He started boxing in 1919 at the age of 16 after building a gym in his bedroom.

His son, who lives in Aberavon, said: "He went all over Britain to fight. He had 382 fights - lost 22 and fought 22 champions in his career."

Mr Hughes said at the time fights could last 20 rounds rather than the 12-round maximum today.

Len Hughes
It was a hard living but he would always be fit so he could fight at short notice
Len Hughes

He said some would be in booths, where his father appeared alongside the likes of legendary heavyweight Tommy Farr - one of a handful of Welshmen to win the British title at that division.

"My father was his own manager but he fought the best - he fought Benny Lynch who was one of the great fly-weights of the time.

"He was fighting so much he was earning three or four pounds weekly, which was a lot of money in them days.

"It was a hard living but he would always be fit so he could fight at short notice.

"He finished in 1935 and I was born in 1932 so I never saw him fight, but all the old-timers said he was very fast."

'Don't forget'

Billy Hughes then went into management out of a gym at the Angel Hotel in Maesteg until the early 1960s.

Mr Hughes said it was through attending events with his father, many at the Gwyn Hall in Neath, that he was introduced to the sport.

He has collected hundreds of programmes and cards and these, alongside oil paintings and his father's old gloves, make up part of the exhibition.

"After he finished boxing himself he was one of the biggest managers in Wales and I went to a lot of the fights with him," he added.

Port Talbot boxer Darren Edwards, who won a bronze medal for Wales at this year's Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, will also be attending the exhibition's opening.

"The Port Talbot area alone has five or six boxing gyms these days so it's important to reflect the interest in the sport with an exhibition like this," he said.

"It's also important that we don't forget about names from the past like Kid Hughes."

The exhibition opens at Neath Museum on 20 October and runs initially for two weeks


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