The story of boxing’s prestigious Lonsdale belt, intriguingly told by sports historian John Harding – from the belt's origins and development to an unambiguous measure of excellence in the chaotic and often murky world of British professional boxing.


For more than one hundred years the Lonsdale Belt has encircled the waists of all the great names in British boxing history: Freddie Welsh and Ted 'Kid' Lewis; Benny Lynch and Jimmy Wilde; Freddie Mills, Randolph Turpin and Terry Downes; Henry Cooper, Barry McGuigan, Lennox Lewis and Joe Calzaghe.


In Lonsdale’s Belt you will discover:

  • The origins of championship boxing belts; the role of the old National Sporting Club in using the Lonsdale belt to establish boxing’s legality at the dawn of the 20th century.
  • The controversies and the battles between promoters, managers and administrators that almost destroyed boxing in the 1930s after the British Boxing Board of Control was formed.
  • The rise and fall of British boxing’s premier promoters such as Jeff Dicksen, Jack Solomons, Harry Levene, Frank Warren and Barry Hearn.
  • How every great British boxer has fought for a Lonsdale belt, but some great champs – Joe Calzaghe, Frank Bruno, Ricky Hatton – have come to regret not securing one.
  • Who are the outright belt winners? Who won a belt outright the fastest? Who won Lonsdale belts at different weights? How many brothers won belts? Fathers and sons?
  • How black boxers came to be banned for decades from fighting for the belt.
  • How legendary champs such as Jimmy Wilde and Freddie Welsh fell on hard times – but the promise of a ‘pension’ that accompanied winning a belt for keeps was never kept.
  • Where almost all the precious original belts have gone – some stolen, some sold, some lost – and the stories behind them.
  • Why the Lonsdale belt remains the prize most coveted by British boxers. How much the prize means today – and has come to the aid of many troubled young men seeking redemption in the ring.


Click here for more information, or to read a sample from Lonsdale’s Belt.