A rare trophy presented to a Derry boxing legend in the 1930s is up for sale.
The Lord Lonsdale Featherweight Championship Trophy - which belonged to Jimmy ‘Spider’ Kelly - will be auctioned in England next week.
The specialist sporting memorabilia event will be hosted by Bonhams in Chester on Wednesday.
The two-handled engraved silver trophy - which is set on an ebonised plinth - is estimated to be worth between £2,000-£3,000.
Derry City Council has confirmed that it will be bidding for the trophy at the auction - a move welcomed by SDLP councillor John Boyle who has described the trophy as a “valuable piece of sporting history to the city”.
The trophy was presented to ‘Spider’ Kelly Senior after he defeated Londoner Benny Caplan for the vacant British and British Empire Featherweight titles at Belfast’s King’s Hall in November 1938.
Newspaper reports of the bout record that, when the referee raised Kelly’s hand in victory, “a great roar of acclamation from 8,000 throats greeted the decision”.
Kelly is said to have danced with joy and, as Caplan sat disconsolate in his corner. Police surrounded the ring to keep enthusiastic well-wishers from mobbing the winner.
The Lonsdale belt was placed around Spider’s waist by the Duke of Abercorn and, at the request of the crowd, the Derry man, his voice quivering with emotion, said: “I am a very proud man tonight, happy to go home to my wife and five children as British champion.”
When Spider arrived back home in Derry, there were, needless to say, scenes of great jubilation as more than 5,000 people welcomed the new champ.
Earlier this week, the ‘Journal’ revealed that a memorial to Jimmy and his son Billy - the only father and son to hold the British and British Empire Featherweight titles - is to be erected in the city later this year.
A memorial plinth and seating area is to be located at the top of Waterloo Street.