The family of the great Willy Collins have shared new photos of the huge monument they erected in memory of the man who became known as ‘The King of Sheffield’.
The incredibly large headstone in Shiregreen Cemetery, Sheffield features a 37-tonne monument and features two marble statues of the bare-handed boxer, carved from the finest Carrara marble imported from Italy. Other features include four flag poles, Bible scenes and even a solar-powered jukebox that plays some of Willy’s favorite tunes.
Willy Collins, better known to many as ‘Big Willy’ Collins, tragically died in July 2020 while on holiday in Mallorca aged just 49. Willy was the patriarch of the famous Collins family of Ireland and had developed a huge fan following and reputation from his skills as a bare knuckle boxer.
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The new memorial is the result of a 20-month effort led by his wife, Kathleen Collins, to honor his memory and provide those who loved him a place to come and pay their respects. LED lights also illuminate the headstone, which is under 24-hour CCTV surveillance to ensure it remains untouched by vandals.
While the headstone isn’t the most conventional choice, it does provide a real lifeline to the countless who are still mourning the loss of the ‘King of Sheffield’. Speaking about the unveiling of the headstone on March 17, Willy’s wife, Kathleen, said: “The sun has risen for my love and I’m sure he would be a proud man today to see what your children have done for you.
She added that her “heart is broken” and that she was so happy that she was able to unveil it on St. Patrick’s Day because she knew how much he loved to celebrate it. Following the shocking news of his death, countless people around the world have reached out to the family to pay their respects, including Tyson Fury, Kell Brook, Billy Joe Saunders, Shayne Ward and Michael Bolton.
To this day, his legacy continues to inspire many young fighters around the world.