Former boxer receives prize to study history of prize-fighting

Morgan Society scholarship Chris Gardiner

A former amateur boxer from Newport has received a scholarship to further his research into the history of Welsh prize-fighting.

Chris Gardiner, (pictured above, centre) 48, from Lliswerry, competed in the Welsh championships during the 1990s, and later coached young boxers at Newport Sporting Club. He is now studying for a PhD at USW, into the transition of Welsh boxing during the 19th century.

He has been awarded a £500 prize from the Morgan Society, which supports research into the heritage of the name Morgan, to continue his studies into Welsh fighters, particularly with Morgan in their name.

Chris’s thesis, entitled ‘The History of Boxing in Wales: A Historical Perspective’, looks at how prize-fighting went from a largely unstructured ‘entertainment’ into an increasingly regulated sport in Wales during and after the Industrial Revolution.

His research sheds further light on the brutal beginnings of fist-fighting in Wales, and how the sport’s development was reported in the fledgling newspapers that were being established at the time.

Chris was presented with the prize by Dr Brinley Morgan and his wife Dr Cheryl Morgan, of the Morgan Society, at the University of South Wales’s Newport City Campus.

The Morgan Society has donated scholarship funds to the University to support an annual prize-giving for History research students, to enable them to further their studies into the name of Morgan.

He said: “I’m very proud to be the first person to receive this prestigious scholarship from the Morgan Society, and am so grateful to them and to the University for supporting my research.

“The prize will be a great help for me to carry out more in-depth research at local archives, especially around the perception of prize fighters by people of different social classes.”

Dr Cheryl Morgan said: “We’re passionate about supporting history, and it has been fantastic to hear about Chris’s research into such an interesting period of Welsh culture. We wish him every success with his studies at the University.”

Dr Andy Thompson, Head of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at USW, added: “Chris’s thesis is a brilliant example of the University making connections between its research and our communities; studying cultural life in Wales over a long period of time.

“We are delighted that he is the first USW student to receive the inaugural Morgan Society scholarship.”