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Page last updated at 10:19 GMT, Saturday, 8 May 2010 11:19 UK

Derry boxing legend Billy Spider Kelly passes away

Footage from the BBC Northern Ireland archives of boxer Billy Kelly

Derry boxing great Billy Spider Kelly has died at the age of 78.

Kelly made history in October 1954 when he emulated his father Jimmy by winning the British Empire featherweight title at Belfast's King's Hall.

The Derryman won the British title three months later before losing a European title bout against France's Ray Famechon on points in Dublin.

Kelly went on to lose title bouts against Nigeria's Hogan 'Kid' Bassey and Charlie Hill.

Billy Spider Kelly
Derry boxing great Billy Spider Kelly - picture Margaret McLaughlin

The Derryman's defeat by Hill in February 1956 led to a riot at the King's Hall as Kelly was denied the British title belt despite having the Scotsman on the canvas on two occasions.

Kelly continued to box until 1962 and finished with a career record of 56 wins, 24 defeats and four draws from 84 professional bouts.

The boxing legend passed away in his native Derry on Friday after a prolonged illness.

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