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Fundraising auction for little Liam featuring boxing memorabilia drawing near

By Mark Andrews | Telford | News | Published:

The date is drawing near for Richie Woodhall's latest fundraising auction, which will see a very special item of boxing memorabilia go under the hammer in aid of the LIam Finazzi appeal.

A boxing glove signed by Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones Junior, commemorating Calzaghe's last fight, will go under the hammer at Halls in Shrewsbury on October 2.

All proceeds from the auction will fund life-changing therapies for seven-year-old Liam, who suffered a serious brain injury after being diagnosed with leukaemia.

Calzaghe beat American legend Jones in his final fight in 2008, allowing the Welsh Wizard to retire from the sport with an incredible 100 per cent record in 46 fights over 18 years.

Calzaghe has added the legend '46-0' beneath his signature on the glove, in a nod to his remarkable record.

Former super-middleweight world champion Richie, who still lives in Telford, said it was a very rare item commemorating the classic 2008 clash of the titans at Madison Square Garden.

Joe Calzaghe in action against Roy Jones Junior in Calzaghe's final fight at Madison Square Gardens in 2008

Richie, who grew up in the Woodside area of the town, has raised thousands to help cancer patients over the past four years in memory of his father Len.

Liam, now seven, was diagnosed with Burkitt’s leukaemia in December, 2016, just weeks after his fifth birthday.

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Two days later, Liam was transferred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, spending Christmas – and the next four months – receiving treatment.

During his treatment, while his immune system was affected, Liam contracted a virus, which resulted in Liam suffering a brain injury which has left him unable to speak and needing a wheelchair.

Liam spent three months in rehabilitation in Surrey, before finally returning home to his family in Much Wenlock in October, 2017.

His father Andy said any money raised would be used to help with Liam’s therapy.

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Liam Finazzi, seven, with father Andy, mother Kerry and brother Callum

“The NHS provides one session of physio a week, but we’re paying for extra physio, speech and cognitive therapies, which cost £90 a day,” he said.

“It was very difficult because before he got leukaemia he was a perfectly fit and healthy boy.”

Richie said: “Liam is just like Joe Calzaghe in that he is a fighter through and through and a true champion to everyone helping him.”

“I asked Joe to sign the glove to help out and he was only to glad to do so.

“The glove is very special because Joe’s last ever fight was at Madison Square Garden New York against legendary Roy Jones Junior in 2008, which he won.

“Both of them have signed it which makes it very unique. I haven’t seen one with both signatures on it but I know it’s genuine as it was me who got them to sign it.”

Richie has been holding regular charity auctions to support cancer charities and sufferers since the death of his father Len from the disease four years ago.

Joe Calzaghe celebrates his final victory over Roy Jones Junior in 2008

Calzaghe, now 47, effectively ended Richie’s professional boxing career when he snatched his WBO super-middleweight title from him at a fight in Sheffield in December 2000, and the two have remained firm friends ever since.

In 2008 he moved up to the light-heavyweight class, first claiming The Ring title by defeating Bernard Hopkins by a split decision, and he then retained the title when he took on Jones in November that year.

It would be Calzaghe’s last fight as he retired in 2009.

The glove will be auctioned at Halls’ auction house in Bowmen Way, Battlefield, on October 2, starting at 10am, and it can be viewed either the day before or on the day of the sale.

People unable to attend in person can place an absentee bid by telephoning 01743 450700 before the auction, indicating the maximum amount they are prepared to bid. The auctioneer will then be able to bid on your behalf.

Alternatively, it is possible to bid live over the internet, by registering on the-saleroom.com/halls – it is advisable to do this at least a day before the auction takes place.

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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