Page last updated at 06:43 GMT, Monday, 10 November 2008

Boxing legend's silver for sale

Dylan Farr
Dylan Farr suffered a brain scar injury after falling in the Andes

The grandson of Tommy Farr, one of Wales' greatest boxers, has been forced to sell some of his fighting silverware to pay United States medical bills.

Dylan Llewelyn Farr, whose grandfather was British heavyweight champion in the 1930s, must pay $5,000 a month after a snowboarding accident.

He hopes a Welsh buyer will bid for the commemorative silver cigar box and salver when they go up for auction.

Rikki, Dylan's father and Tommy's son, said: "We want them to be in Wales."

Extreme sportsman Dylan, who jumped out of helicopters to snowboard down some of the world's highest peaks, needs ongoing medical care after he fell in the Andes in Chile about six years ago.

He suffered a scar injury on the brain, which brought on a "serious bipolar effect", for which he needs treatment and medication each month to control.

Tommy Farr fighting Joe Louis
Wales was my father's life - he even died on St David's Day
Rikki Farr, Tommy's son

His father Rikki, 66, who has lived in Arizona for 28 years, said health care bills in the US were "astronomical", especially in the current economic climate.

He is supporting his son's decision to sell his share of the trophies, which were left to Dylan and his brother and sister by Tommy's widow Monty after she died six years ago.

"It's got to a point where he said to me, 'grandfather would want me to take care of myself and keep myself stabilised' and the trophies he had were all solid silver and handmade," said Rikki.

"He said he would love for them to be able to go back to Wales, to someone who would enjoy them and share them.

Celebrate heroics

"There are many places in Wales which celebrate my father's heroics. I would love it if there was a museum or town hall where they could be shown to the public."

The silver salver was presented to Tommy - known as the "Tonypandy Terror" - after he was crowned British and Empire heavyweight boxing champion in 1937.

He had beaten Max Baer, the ex-holder of the world heavyweight championship at Harringay, London, and the salver was given to him by a Mr and Mrs Willis, who ran the Empire Theatre in Tommy's home town of Tonypandy, Rhondda.

Tommy Farr's salver
The silver salver was presented to Tommy by a couple from his home town, Tonypandy

It has a guide price of between 1,500 to 2,000 when it is put up for auction with Graham Budd Auctions in Sotheby's London on Tuesday.

The other item, a silver cigar box, was presented to the boxer after took on Joe Louis in New York in the world championship in 1931. He did not win, but took Louis to the full 15 rounds, an achievement which was hugely respected in the boxing world.

An inscription on the box, which is expected to fetch between 2,000 - 3,000, reads: "Presented to Tommy Farr by the Wembley boxing committee in recognition of his gallant attempt to wrest the world heavyweight championship from Joe Louis at New York."

Rickki said he was sure his father would be happy if the items went back to Wales.

"Wales was my father's life - he even died on St David's Day," he said.

"He was the people's hero and champion. He was a remarkable example of a man who had no education, destined to die young with black lungs from coal mining, who ran away from the mines, went to the boxing booths and went all the way to fighting for the world title.

"And it wasn't just with boxing. He was also a journalist, writing for the Sunday Pictorial, he had two hit records, spoke three languages and was a chef.

"He was a living example of someone from Wales who wasn't given a chance but by his own character became a world class sportsman. I think these trophies are symbols of that."

Tommy initially retired from the ring in 1940 but made a comeback 10 years later, aged 36.

He regained the Welsh heavyweight title but finally ended his career three days short of his 39th birthday, when Don Cockell beat him in seven rounds in Nottingham.

After his defeat Tommy took the ring microphone and sang the Welsh national anthem.

He later ran a pub in Brighton and died in 1986, aged 72.

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