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Boxing legends back fundraising for Shropshire youngster suffering from leukaemia

By Mark Andrews | Much Wenlock | News | Published: | Last Updated:

They are two of the greatest boxers of their generation, remembered for their classic bout at New York's Madison Square Gardens in 2008.

Richie Woodhall, right, and Jeremy Lamond of Halls get ready to auction off the glove signed by boxing legends Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones Junior

And now a glove signed by Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones Junior will go under the hammer to raise funds for Shropshire youngster Liam Finazzi, who is himself fighting back after a rare form of leukaemia.

The glove, which commemorates the last fight of Calzaghe's career, is the latest item to be auctioned off by Telford former world boxing champion Richie Woodhall, who has raised thousands for cancer charities.

Liam Finazzi, in wheelchair, with father Andrew, mother Kerry and borther Callum

It will go under the hammer at Halls in Shrewsbury on October 2.

The glove also features the postscript '46-0' beneath Calzaghe's signature, a reference to his remarkable 18-year professional career which saw him win all of his 46 fights.

Liam, now seven, was diagnosed with Burkitt's leukaemia in December, 2016, just weeks after his fifth birthday.

Two days later, Liam was transferred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, spending Christmas – and the next four months – receiving treatment.

During his treatment, while his immune system was affected, Liam contracted a virus, which resulted in Liam suffering a brain injury which has left him unable to speak and needing a wheelchair.

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Joe Calzaghe with the signed glove

Liam spent three months in rehabilitation in Surrey, before finally returning home to his family in Much Wenlock in October, 2017.

His father Andrew said any money raised would be used to help with Liam's therapy.

"The NHS provides one session of physio a week, but we're paying for extra physio, speech and cognitive therapies, which cost £90 a day," he says.

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"It was very difficult because before he got leukaemia he was a perfectly fit and healthy boy."

Richie says: "Liam is just like Joe Calzaghe in that he is a fighter through and through and a true champion to everyone helping him.

"I asked Joe to sign the glove to help out and he was only to glad to do so.

"The glove is very special because Joe’s last ever fight was at Madison Square Garden New York against legendary Roy Jones Junior in 2008, which he won.

"Both of them have signed it which makes it very unique. I haven’t seen one with both signatures on it but I know it’s genuine as it was me who got them to sign it.”

Richie Woodhall has raised thousands for charity over the past four years

Richie has been holding regular charity auctions to support cancer charities and sufferers since the death of his father Len from the disease four years ago.

Calzaghe, now 47, effectively ended Richie's professional boxing career when he snatched his WBO super-middleweight title from him at a fight in Sheffield in December 2000, and the two have remained firm friends ever since.

In 2008 he moved up to the light-heavyweight class, first claiming The Ring title by defeating Bernard Hopkins by a split decision, and he then retained the title when he took on Jones in November that year.

It would be Calzaghe's last fight as he retired in 2009.

The glove will be auctioned at Halls' auction house in Bowmen Way, Battlefield, on October 2, starting at 10am, and it can be viewed either the day before or on the day of the sale.

People unable to attend in person can place an absentee bid by telephoning 01743 450700 before the auction, indicating the maximum amount they are prepared to bid. The auctioneer will then be able to bid on your behalf.

Alternatively, it is possible to bid live over the internet, by registering on the-saleroom.com/halls – it is advisable to do this at least a day before the auction takes place.

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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