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Description

John Michael Basham (Johnny Basham) (1890-1947) was born in Newport, Monmouthshire, and came to Wrexham in 1912 as a recruit with the Royal Welch Fusiliers. He was stationed at the barracks in Wrexham for many years and attained the rank of sergeant. However, it was for his boxing career that he became famous with the Wrexham public and he became known as 'The Happy Wanderer'. Several of his bouts were held at the barracks or the Drill Hall.

In 1914 he defeated Johnny Summers for the welterweight title which he held until 1920. In 1916 Basham became the first welterweight champion to win the newly-installed Lonsdale Belt and shortly afterwards he won the European Championship. He later moved up to middleweight where he also became European Champion, winning the title in 1921. During his career, he had 91 professional fights, winning 68 and drawing 6.

Whilst in Wrexham he was managed by Alderman William T. Dodman. Dodman was born in London on 19 December 1877 and came to Wrexham in 1898 starting a gymnasium in Erddig Road. He later founded a shoe manufacturing and retailing business on Town Hill.

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