born: 26/05/1931, Kingstone, Jamaica
Joe Bygraves moved from Jamaica to Birkenhead at the age of 15, and took up boxing aged 17. He turned professional in 1952, at the same time as his friend, Pat McAteer (he was also friendly with Hogan "Kid" Bassey). Despite his dislike of training, he soon made his name in the paid ranks with a string of victories, and fought many top professionals, including Henry Cooper and Ingemar Johansson (he floored the future world champion in their first meeting in 1955 but was later disqualified). He was in demand across Europe and achieved a notable points victory in 1956 against Uber Bacilieri in Italy, a country notorious for the bias of its boxing judges in favour of home fighters. Later that year, Bygraves won the British Empire title, his first tangible achievement. He later defended his title by knocking out Cooper (in the latter's first title fight) in the ninth round. Bygraves lost the crown in November 1957 and never fought for a title again in the remaining 10 years of his career. He now lives in Portugal.
Joe Bygraves with gloves
⊕ Joe Bygraves with gloves
⊕ Aldo Pellegrini v Joe Bygraves
⊕ Joe Bygraves