The grand-nephew of the Leamington-born once World Middleweight Boxing champion Randolph Turpin may not have followed in his great-uncle’s footsteps by taking up the sport.
But 29-year-old Lewis Turpin, who lives in Leamington, has discovered the martial art Krav Maga, which combines several different combative elements and which he has been practising now for six months at evening classes held at Trinity School.
Fellow Krav Maga practitioner and freelance writer Lance Manley spoke to Lewis about his roots. Not only was Randolph considered the best middleweight boxer of the 1940s and 1950s and honoured by a statue unveiled in Warwick’s Market Square 13 years ago, but on top of that, Randolph’s father Fitzbert was the first black person to live in Warwick and his brother Dick - Lewis’ grandfather - taught him boxing and had been the first black person to win a British boxing title.
Lewis said: “Dick was my granddad. He was the eldest of the three and actually taught Randy boxing to start off with. He challenged the black barrier for England so that coloured people could fight in championship bouts.”
Lewis said that, because his great-grandfather died when Dick Turpin and his three younger brothers were still young, life was “tough” for them so they had to look out for themselves.
He said: “They used to do bare knuckle fighting up Warwick market when the gypsies used to come to town.”
But Lewis’ father, also Dick, had other priorities in life. Lewis said: “I think my father dabbled in boxing. I know he stopped when mum was pregnant with me. Apparently he was pretty good.”
And as for Lewis himself? He said: “I used to go boxing when I was eight or nine. I used to really enjoy it but I got a bit bored in the end. I was too young.
“If I could go back in time I’d do boxing, but I’ve always wanted to do something that involves a bit of everything.”
After deciding to take up mixed martial arts, Lewis read about Krav Maga - which combines techniques taken from boxing, savate, Muay Thai, Wing Chun, Judo, jiu-jitsu, wrestling and grappling - on the internet and felt it was for him.
He said: “Most boxers retire in their early 30s and I am already 29. Too many punches to the head. I thought there was no point starting boxing at that age. I’m so glad I found Krav. I had never heard of it before.
“I’ve always wanted to do something physical. Since I started Krav, I haven’t looked back.”
Krav Maga classes for varying abilities take place at Trinity School in Guy’s Cliffe Avenue, Leamington, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. For details, visit www.kravmaga-midlands.com