Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Unique Practitioners Part IV: Lewis Turpin- P1

Randolph Adolphus Turpin was born in Leamington Spa in 1928 and grew up in the neighbouring town of Warwick. He became the World Middleweight Boxing champion in 1951 when he defeated Sugar Ray Robinson. He is considered by many to be the best middleweight boxer of the 1940s and 1950s. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2001.

A bronze statue of him was unveiled by Sir Henry Cooper in the Market Square in the centre of Warwick in 2001.

Randolph's grand nephew Lewis Turpin is now a Krav Maga practitioner with Krav Maga Midlands.

So, introduce yourself.

I’m Lewis Turpin, 29, from Leamington Spa. I’ve been doing Krav since October so about 6 months now. Took a grading recently, smashed the P1. All good.

What do you know about your uncle Randolph?

One of the best pound for pound fighters of his time. He was one of three brothers. There was Randolph, Jackie and Dick. Dick was my granddad. He was the eldest of the three and actually taught Randy boxing to start off with. Their father, Fitzbert was the first black person to live in Warwick. He died when they were all quite young so they had to look after themselves. They used to do bare knuckle fighting up Warwick market when the gypsies used to come to town My granddad challenged  the black barrier for England so that coloured people could fight in championship bouts. He was the British & Commonwealth champion. He was the first black person to win a British boxing title but Randy went all the way. He was the one that won the world championship.

Was your father, Dick’s son, a boxer too?

I think he dabbled, he did a bit. I know he stopped boxing when mum was pregnant with me. He stopped and then that was it. Apparently he was pretty good.

Did he ever take a title?

No, he didn’t climb that high. None of the family has really bothered with it, that sort of thing. I mean I wish I’d done something when I was younger. I used to go boxing when I was 8 or 9. I used to really enjoy it. Used to go on the weekends but I got a bit bored in the end. I wasn’t doing anything, wasn’t going anywhere. They said “you have to be 12 or 13 to fight.” My mind just slipped. You get bored when you’re a kid, just doing the same things over and over again. I just lost interest really. Uncle Jackie had a gym and I was training there.

What do you remember of your granddad and uncles?

I never met Randy, he died in like the 60s. I barely remember my granddad Dick. He died when I was quite young. Jackie I obviously knew as he died not so long ago.

What attracted you to Krav Maga as opposed to carrying on with boxing?

I won’t lie, if I could go back in time I’d do boxing but I’ve always wanted to do something that involves a bit of everything. I was going to do MMA but then I looked on the Internet and Krav came up. Never even heard of it before. Seen the website and was thinking ‘better try this out’. It was only up the road from me. I Googled it to check it all out to see what it was like and I was like ‘Wow! This is definitely something I want to do.’ Also it’s realism based. Being 29, if I wanted to be a boxer, most boxers retire in their early 30s. Too many punches to the head. No point starting boxing at that age if you know what I mean. I’m so glad I found it to be fair.

What level would you like to get to in Krav?

As far as  I can go.

Expert 5?

Could do yeah. Would be hard for me but I wouldn’t mind pushing it as far as I can go. 29 now so still got plenty of time.

Do any other members of your family, brothers, sisters or cousins do boxing or martial arts?

No. No one. I’m flying the flag. I wish I had carried the family name. Now I’m doing Krav and some type of contact sport I actually think like, well wish I’d done something years ago instead of going out on the piss. That’s pretty much all I ever did when I was younger. It was at the back of my mind ‘why don’t you do boxing?’ but the party lifestyle sort of took over. Never really thought of it. Only when I started hitting nearly 30 I thought ‘right, gotta knuckle down and get fit!’ Gym was one thing but I’ve always wanted to do something physical. Since I started Krav I haven’t looked back.

What would your motto for life be?

It is what it is. Deal with it.

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