Ronnie Draper

Daily Echo:

Ronald Diaper, who fought in the canvas ring as Ronnie Draper, brought boxing glory to Southampton in the late 1940s.

He retired from the sport in 1951 after 54 professional fights, without being knocked out in a career that had seen him top contender for a national title.

Southern Area Bantamweight champion he once beat reigning European Bantamweight champion, Jackie Paterson at the Albert Hall, London. Other memorable bouts included those against Danny O'Sullivan in 1949, Danny Carabella and another European title holder, Louis Romero.

Ronald Arthur Diaper, who took the name Draper purely for boxing purposes, was from the Southampton Diaper families, many of whom were yachtsmen and fishermen.

As a young man he was a fisherman-yachthand but, from his fight at the age of 12, boxing was destined to be his career.

During the Second World War he served in the troopship, Arundel Castle and said he had "literally hundreds'' of fights during that time. He became a professional in 1945 as a short-notice substitute to fight Tiny Bostock.

He had four fights at the Royal Albert Hall but claimed his best contest was a bout he lost against Albert Besswell, Southern Area featherweight champion in 1947.

On retiring from the ring in 1951 at the age of 31, Ronnie and his wife Nona became landlord and landlady of a number of Southampton public houses.

Ronnie died after a short illness in September 1975 and his grave is at St Mary Extra at Butts Road in Sholing, Southampton.

Name: Ronnie Draper OCCUPATION: Boxer Date of birth: December 21, 1922 DIED: September 25, 1975 Local link: Lived in Southampton where he became landlord of numerous pubs.

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