And while Jarrell Miller is now on the world stage, becoming the first Belizean to fight for the world heavyweight title, he's not the first Belizean to be a world class boxer, and to fight at Madison Square Garden. That was Ludwig Lightning Lightburn, and he did it in the 1950's. Lightburn was a world class prizefighter - a light welterweight who was a top ranked title contender.

In 2009, Jules Vasquez spoke with a few relatives to find out about one of the greatest Belizean sportsmen you may have never heard of:..

Announcer on Fight Tape:
'And his opponent from British Honduras, wearing black trunks with white stripes and at 138 and a half pounds Ludwig Lightburn."

Jules Vasquez Reporting
Who is Ludwig Lightburn? A Belize City boy born British Honduras 1934, May 20th. But who is this man, this prizefighter, the only British Honduran to ever do battle in Madison Square Garden? Here his right jab connects across the nose of Algerian Hocine Khlafi, in a ninth March 1956 bout at Madison Square Garden. Lightburn - 21 years old at the time - won the fight, a unanimous decision.

It was his third appearance in the Garden - he would have nine in his career. His cousins Clinton and James Lightburn came to our studios to reminiscence about their cousin. James who is three years older grew up with Ludwig, or as he calls him, Ludrick. He tells us that this famed prizefighter learned how to box from his older sister.

James Lightburn, Cousin
"I know him as when his uncle used to train him and his sister because it is Ludrick and his Horstense. Hortense used to train Ludrick because she was the older girl and it started with their father. So the father used to put the two of them to box each other."

He was undefeated in Belize and at the age of 16 went unto Mexico where he started his international career, his record: 4 wins and 3 losses in 6 months. From there, it was unto the United States where by 1953 at just 19 years old only his second fight in the States, he was fighting at Madison Square Garden - here he is seen in preflight checks with Cuban opponent Orlando Zulueta before an August 1956 rematch which Lightburn won in a unanimous decision.

Jules Vasquez,
"Were you all amazed that your cousin who you used to see fight right here, Palace in Belize City…"

Clinton Pulu Lightburn, Cousin
"No it was the Lightburn yard right at the back of Holy Redeemer by the canal side."

Jules Vasquez,
"...is now fighting at Madison Square Garden?"

James Lightburn,
"We were surprised. I am telling you the truth. We were surprised and we were happy about it."

His promoter Kid Broaster would inform his family in Belize when he was fighting.

James Lightburn,
"Kid Broaster would notify the public when he was going to fight so everybody had known exactly what month or what date."

They listened to the fights on Armed Forces radio.

James Lightburn,
"Everybody deh round the radio, everybody is listening to the fight because when they lightening Lightburn how he is moving and so and how he is defending himself, you know the feeling we had."

Clinton Pulu Lightburn,
"At that time one out of every one hundred person had a radio which could have ketch Armed Forces. So that was a big event because in the yard of everybody who had a radio, it was like a fete the go on and drink and eat and heng out and party to listen to the fight."

James Lightburn,
"And then from then we used to hear how they call him the Lightening Lightburn. So anytime we heard the Lightening Lightburn, we know Ludrick will fight and when we listened, bam, Ludrick win this one. Ludrick could fight again and win the other one."

They weren't all wins. In his career he lost 12 bouts. This rare video shows him on the left side of your screen - then ranked the number nine contender in one of those losses fighting fifth ranked Kenny Lane in Miami on September 19, 1956.

Announcer:
"Ludwig Lightburn is the favourite here against Kenny Lane. One of his recent improvements has been better use of that right hand, not only to jab with it which he always could do but he has developed it into a pretty good work… Lightburn, the faster and more clever boxer of the two…two right hands to the stomach of Kenny Lane."

These cousins say they know why he lost this and other fights.

James Lightburn,
"My grandfather used to say but this bwoy is fighting too fast. He is fighting too close. He fought his fight too close. The bruising..."

Clinton Pulu Lightburn,
"The body nuh have time to recover."

Indeed his record shows that in his prime years, 1953, 54 and 55, he fought 26 fights, that's an average of one fight every five weeks.

Genovese, they were the ones running the boxing industry and what they did, instead of give Ludrick a crack after the lightweight championship, because he was the best lightweight in the world, they used him to pad their welter weights record."

Ludwig Lightburn retired in 1961 at the age of 26 with an eye injury. Cousin Jimmy recalls that years later when he came home for his father's funeral, his eyesight was poor.

James Lightburn,
"When he came to Belize the last time..."

Jules Vasquez,
"When was that?"

James Lightburn,
"To see his father's burial."

James Lightburn,
"Because he used to stumble because he walked with us and he then he told me I am seeing so good as once."

Lightburn was never a world champion, but he was a contender, a world class prizefighter, who fought on the greatest stage in the world in nationally televised bouts. But in Belize, he is hardly known and little recognized.

Clinton Pulu Lightburn,
"It has been overlooked but I don't think purposely. It is just that we don't 08:26 have a lot of our history documented when it comes to our athletes. As far as I am concerned, he is our greatest athlete in the history of Belize whe born and grow and develop in a di home style."

The 75 year old Lightburn lives in New Jersey where in 2008 he was inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame.

That story first aired in 2009, and since then Lightburn has been honoured with a Member of the British Empire medal. He's 84 now and still lives in New Jersey.

Channel 7