John Michael Basham was born in Newport in 1890 and came to Wrexham in 1912 as a recruit to the Royal Welch Fusiliers.
He was stationed at the Barracks in Wrexham for many years and attained the rank of sergeant. However it was for his boxing career that he became famous with the Wrexham public and he became known as "The Happy Warrior". Several of his bouts were held at the Barracks or the Drill Hall in Poyser Street.
In 1914 he defeated Johnny Summers for the Welterweight title which he held until 1920. In 1916 Johnny became the first Welterweight Champion to win the newly installed Lonsdale Belt and shortly afterwards he won the European Championship. He later moved up to Middle Weight where he also became European Champion winning the title in 1921. Whilst in Wrexham he lived with his family in Whitegate Road, close to the Barracks and he was managed by Alderman William Dodman. During his career he had 91 professional fights, winning 68 and drew 6. He died in 1947.