(Peerless) Jim Driscoll
‘Peerless’ Jim Driscoll was born into poverty in the docks area of Cardiff and one of 5 children. He became the British, Empire & European Featherweight Champion
Born in Ellen Street, Newtown, Cardiff, Driscoll was to become world famous for winning the coveted Lonsdale belt. Jim never forgot his roots; he was a staunch supporter of his church, remained close to his community and had great affection for the Nazareth House Orphanage, for whom he once gave up the chance of becoming Featherweight Champion of the World.
After claiming the British featherweight title he went to prove himself in the USA. American boxing fans of the era favoured all-action boxers, but they were so won over by the Cardiffian's skills that he was dubbed 'Peerless Jim.' (Another common nickname for him was 'Jem,' and in his home town he was affectionately called 'The Prince of Wales.') Featherweight champion Abe Attell faced Driscoll in 1910; the Welshman dominated the fight, but with the 'no decision' rule in place, without a KO he couldn't take the crown. Driscoll declined a return bout in order to box in a charity exhibition for Nazareth House in Cardiff, saying: "I never break a promise."
After becoming the first featherweight to win a Lonsdale Belt, Driscoll prepared for an eagerly-anticipated fight against Freddie Welsh. The occasion was a disappointment, though, as Welsh's spoiling tactics upset Driscoll's style. By the 10th round his frustration boiled over, and he was disqualified for butting Welsh.
Driscoll's career was interrupted by World War I. In succeeding years he continued to box despite failing health, relying on his skills to keep him out of trouble. When he died of consumption on 30th January 1925 at the age of 44 some 100,000 people lined the streets of his hometown, Cardiff for his funeral.