As the first president of the National Sporting Club, which governed boxing in England from 1891 to 1929, Hugh Cecil Lowtner, the fifth Earl of Lonsdale, helped establish the club as the major force in English boxing. He donated the original Lonsdale belts presented to English champions.
Lonsdale's great wealth allowed him to live a life of leisure and luxury. He had a genuine love for and knowledge of boxing. He was taught to box by Hall of Famer Jem Mace. In an era when boxing was not considered respectable, Lonsdale was one of the few aristocrats to take an interest in seeing that bouts took place fairly under proper rules. He appeared in court to assist boxers prosecuted for ring fatalities. He also had a role in the development of the original Queensberry Rules and the padded boxing glove. As president of the National Sporting Club, Lonsdale expanded his efforts to legitimize boxing. In 1909, he offered the first Lonsdale Belt to the lightweight champion of England.
Lonsdale Belts continue to be offered to English champions by the British Board of Boxing Control. Through his life, Lonsdale worked to support the best interests of boxing in England.
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Excerpted with permission from 'The Boxing Register' by James B. Roberts and Alexander G. Skutt, copyright © 1999 by McBooks Press. All rights reserved.
Born: Jan. 25, 1857
Died: April 13, 1944