A BRONZE statue commemorating Britain’s youngest boxing world champion will be unveiled in East London thanks to the efforts of his Somerset grandson.
Teddy Baldock earned the title in 1927 aged just 19, after defeating American Archie Bell at the Royal Albert Hall.
His grandson Martin Sax, 44, from Minehead has been working to commission a statue celebrating his grandfather’s achievement since 2009.
Martin, a retired Royal Marines Colour Sergeant, said: “I’ve always believed there should be a lasting monument to my grandfather, although I never got to meet him as I was just two years old when he died in 1971.
“By that stage he was already living rough around London and he had not been in contact with my mother for years.
“I first found out about his boxing past when I was about 15 and my mother discovered some old scrapbooks that my grandmother had kept.
“I was instantly hooked and the grandfather I had never met immediately became a hero in my mind.”
With the help of writer Brian Belton, Martin published a book about his grandfather in 2008, following 20 years of research.
In 2009, sculptor Carl Payne, who is responsible for the Randolph Turpin statue in Warwick, was tasked with producing the statue.
It will be unveiled on May 16 by actor Ray Winstone in Langdon Park, Poplar, just yards from where Teddy grew up and exactly 75 years since he won his title.
Martin said: “My grandfather had his first professional contest at the tender age of 13 before retiring aged 24.
“Winning the championship made him a national hero yet sadly and almost inexplicably, his name and achievements are hardly heard about in boxing circles today.
“I hope the statue will serve as an inspiration to youth club members as it will be overlooked by the boxing gym at the new Spotlight Youth Centre.
“All proceeds raised on the day will go towards the Teddy Baldock Sports Benevolent Fund, a charity I set up to help people who have been severely injured while playing sport.
“At the height of his career, he once said: ‘I’m proud of Poplar, it made me’ and now he will stand once again in the very streets that made him.”
To find out more about Teddy, visit www.teddybaldock.co.uk.