NEWPORT’S rich boxing history could have another chapter when Sean McGoldrick takes to the ring next Friday, with Craig Woodruff aiming to make it a swift one-two in April.

The legendary Joe Calzaghe heads the champions that were made in the Gwent valleys, a list of stars featuring the likes of Gavin Rees, Bradley Pryce, Robbie Regan, Nathan Cleverly and Olympic hero Lauren Price.

But Newport has also produced plenty of top talent through the years, with bantamweight McGoldrick and lightweight Woodruff aiming to break something of a drought for the city.

They are aiming to become the first British champions since a first-rate combination at the start of the 1980s.

Steve Sims won the featherweight title in September, 1982 before David ‘Bomber’ Pearce won the heavyweight belt a year later.

South Wales Argus: Legendary Newport fighter Steve SimsLegendary Newport fighter Steve Sims (Image: Newsquest)

Former Llanwern steelworker Sims was crowned in Glasgow by beating Scotland’s Terry McKeown, winning a belt previously held by Merthyr legend Howard Winstone on his way to the world title.

He vacated the title to challenge for the European crown but lost before going on to become Welsh super-featherweight champion, and had a successful defence against Cardiff’s Tony Borg, now the St Joseph’s ABC supremo and a Newport and Welsh boxing legend.

The sport is in the family for the Pearces and David, whose brother Gary became Welsh light-middleweight champion in 1981, won the British title in a 15-rounder at St David’s Hall in Cardiff, beating Neville Meade in the ninth to claim the Lonsdale belt.

South Wales Argus: David 'Bomber' PearceDavid 'Bomber' Pearce

Pearce, who now has a statue on the banks of the Usk, was beaten in a shot for the European crown by Lucien Rodriguez after sleeping on a park bench the night before the fight in France.

History could well be inspiration for McGoldrick next week when he takes on Scott Allen for the British and Commonwealth titles at the Vale Sports Arena.

The 31-year-old, formerly of the St Joseph’s gym but now trained by Jamie Moore in Manchester, from won gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India before a bronze four years later in Glasgow.

South Wales Argus: Sean McGoldrick on the front footSean McGoldrick on the front foot (Image: PA)

After missing out for vacant WBA continental bantamweight crown before the Covid pandemic, McGoldrick will aim to thrive on home soil.

Woodruff is set for another crack at British and Commonwealth lightweight champion abd compatriot Gavin Gwyne in April after a controversial draw in Bolton last September.

The pair are set to clash on the undercards of Joe Cordina’s world title fight in the Cardiff on April 22.

South Wales Argus: Craig Woodruff in action against Mitch Buckland in 2012Craig Woodruff in action against Mitch Buckland in 2012 (Image: Newsquest)

Woodruff was formerly Welsh champion and claimed the Celtic lightweight title with victory last March.

British titles may have eluded Newport fighters in recent years but, as the walls of the St Joseph’s gym in Pill testify, there have been plenty of accolades.

Light flyweight Mo Nasir won bronze at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne before injury ended his Olympic dreams and then a problem picked up on a brain scan led to an early retirement.

Ringland’s Lee Churcher was Welsh middleweight champion in 2012 and St Julian’s Justyn Hugh won the light-heavyweight belt in the same year.

South Wales Argus: Matthew Edmonds in the ringMatthew Edmonds in the ring

Matthew Edmonds is now a seriously quick long-distance runner but the Newport Harrier was a bantamweight challenge for the commonwealth belt in 2007 and British title two years later when beaten at York Hall.

Going way back, Johnny Basham was raised in Crindau before going on to European, Empire and British champion at welterweight, then European and British belt holder at middleweight in 1921.

Maesglas’ Dick Richardson was European heavyweight champion in the 1960s before finishing his career with defeat to Henry Cooper in a British title shot at Wembley in 1963.

South Wales Argus: Former Welsh champion Noel TriggFormer Welsh champion Noel Trigg (Image: Submitted)

Noel Trigg was mayor of Newport between 2008 and 2009 but before that put the city on the map in the ring.

The Maindee fighter had a seven-year pro career from 1952 and 1958, winning the Welsh light heavyweight title in May 1956.

Abner Blackstock had a 9-23-1 record when he hung up his gloves in 1990 but the Pill fighter enjoyed one magnificent high. He became Welsh cruiserweight champion with victory against Les Davies in Risca in 1986.

South Wales Argus: Paul Samuels and his son Jerome, pictured in 2014Paul Samuels and his son Jerome, pictured in 2014 (Image: Newsquest)

Paul Samuels, Bettws, became Welsh light-middleweight champion in 1998, was IBF inter-continental champion the following year and had a crack at the British belt in 2000.

The Enzo Calzaghe-trained fighter was beaten by Wayne Alexander and then had two cracks at the IBO title against Richard Williams, with one technical draw and a defeat.

He was followed into the ring by his son Jerome, who became Welsh light-middleweight champion in 2014 at the Newport Centre.

McGoldrick and Woodruff will hope that British titles can inspire the next generations of boxing talent in the city.