Calls for statue to honour Gloucester boxing hero Hal Bagwell
HE has been labelled Gloucester's greatest ever sportsman after staying true to his roots.
Boxer Hal Bagwell was once in the Guinness Book of Records for the most fights without a loss. And although a boxing promoter wanted to call him "Hal of London", he swore he would remain "Hal of Gloucester".
Now his son wants to see a statue erected in his memory.
Harold Bagwell, whose fighting career began in the 1930s when he was a teen, is thought to have fought 183 bouts undefeated. But this was hotly disputed due to a lack of proof and he was later removed from the record books.
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The lightweight saw more than 300 fights, well into his 50s. He fought all over the country and at Kingsholm Rugby Ground, Lydney Town Hall and the public baths in Gloucester as well as further afield, including fights at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
His son Roger, who claims the 25,000-strong crowd for his dad's fight at Kingsholm is still the biggest gate ever recorded at the ground, would like to see his father's life remembered. He said: "For the past 30 years I have been trying to get a statue of dad in the city centre, but I have got nowhere.
"As far as I'm concerned, and for many other people too, he is Gloucester's greatest ever sportsman. He loved this city so much."
Hal, who died in 2001, lived in Gloucester all his life and once owned the Lower George Pub, in Westgate Street, which later became The Pig Inn the City. He also fought in the Second World War.
"He started fighting just to put food on the table," said Roger. "I remember his last ever fight. We were in Gloucester Park at the fair, and in those days they used to have a boxing ring there. He needed some money, so he stepped in, beat his opponent, and then bought me a bow and arrow."
Historian Jerry Jenkinson, from White City, is researching Hal's life. He said: "It would be great to get a statue of Hal in the city, his life was unbelievable."
Gloucester City Council leader Paul James said: "It is a nice idea but it's a case of being able to find the money. I would think there is a bit of a queue for statues. It would be nice to have some memorabilia from Hal's career in the new sport section at the city museum."