Freddie Welsh (5 March 1886 – 29 July 1927) was a Welsh lightweight boxing champion. Born in Pontypridd, Wales, and christened Frederick Hall Thomas, he was nicknamed the "Welsh Wizard". Brought up in a tough mining community, Welsh left a middle-class background to make a name for himself in America. He turned professional as a boxer in Philadelphia in 1905, and spent the best part of his career fighting in the United States, leaving many in Britain to incorrectly believe he was an exponent of an ungentlemanly style of American boxing.
Welsh spent much of his career chasing the World Championship title, held in turn by Battling Nelson, Ad Wolgast and Willie Ritchie, failing through a series of events to meet each until a successful encounter with Ritchie in July 1914, when he finally became World Lightweight Champion. Welsh held the title until 1917 when he lost to Benny Leonard, though he continued to fight sparingly until 1922.
A keen follower of Bernarr Macfadden’s physical culture, Welsh believed in exercise and healthy living and was a non-smoker and a vegetarian. In the years following the end of his career, bad business choices cost him his fortune, and after numerous health problems he died in poverty in 1927.
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... Welsh, when talking to the press, always stated that he was a vegetarian ... Welsh was a vegetarian for its health values, inspired by the writings of Bernarr Macfadden, and showed no interest in animal welfare ... When Welsh beat Phil Brock, he received a telegram from Macfadden stating 'Mr ...
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“For every nineteenth-century middle-class family that protected its wife and child within the family circle, there was an Irish or a German girl scrubbing floors in that home, a Welsh boy mining coal to keep the home-baked goodies warm, a black girl doing the family laundry, a black mother and child picking cotton to be made into clothes for the family, and a Jewish or an Italian daughter in a sweatshop making ladies dresses or artificial flowers for the family to purchase.”
—Stephanie Coontz (20th century)