DCC moves forward with plans for city ‘Spider’ tribute

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Derry City Council is forging ahead with its plans to commemorate the late, great father-and-son ‘Spider’ Kelly boxing dynasty.

The local authority has applied for permission to erect a memorial to Billy ‘Spider’ Kelly, who passed away four years ago, and his father Jimmy ‘Spider’ Kelly, at the top of Waterloo Street.

The Council has applied for permission to erect a granite plinth (with plaque) and two granite planters between The Rocking Chair bar and Fahan Street.

Billy uniquely emulated his father’s 1930s triumphs by winning the Empire featherweight title in 1954 and the British title in 1955.
‘Spider’ senior had defeated Benny Caplan for the latter title in 1938.

Jimmy fought across several weight classes - flyweight to lightweight - for over two decades. Of 169 contests, he won 121, lost 35 and drew 12.

After repeating his father’s success Billy’s defeat to Scot Charlie Hill in 1956 provoked a full scale riot in the King’s Hall. Irate boxing fans hurled seats and stools into the ring. Those living in the area were sent notice of the Council’s intentions over the past two weeks.

The younger ‘Spider’ fought throughout the 1950s and into the early 1960s at both featherweight and lightweight, Of his 81 contests, he won 54, lost 23 and drew four.