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The boxer who married 9 times


A leading boxer married nine times. And two others once drew over 70 rounds, took a two-week break and resumed fighting.

And then there was the boxer who knocked his opponent down 32 times – and lost the fight.

Yes, seriously. These are some of the strange-but-true facts that make boxing such a fascinating sport. And there are many of them; trivial bits of information, oddities and strange facts that one does not always find in books and on websites.

Let’s take a look at some of them:

The one who married nine times was Charles Kid McCoy, a former welterweight and middleweight who was the first world champion to visit South Africa. He knocked out Billy Doherty in the ninth round in Johannesburg on December 26 1886 and claimed the SA middleweight title.

Charles Freeman and William Perry fought 70 rounds (1 hour 24 minutes) in Sawbridgeworth, England, on December 6, 1842. The result was announced as a draw and they resumed fighting 14 days later. Perry, known as the “Tipton Slasher,” lost on a foul in the 38th round for going down without being hit. A statue of Perry was unveiled in Tipton, England, on May 3 1893, near the Fountain Inn public house, which was once his headquarters. Freeman weighed 125 kg and was 2.09 m tall.

Sam McVey knocked Joe Jeanette down 32 times in a fight in Paris. But Jeanette won when he knocked McVey out in the 49th round.

Bob Fitzsimmons, who won the world middleweight and heavyweight titles and then the light-heavyweight title, knocked Joe Grimm down 17 times without knocking him out.

Primo Carnera went down 12 times in his fight with Max Baer and Luis Firpo took seven counts in a fight against Jack Dempsey.

On April 17 1860, English champion Tom Sayers fought John Carmel Heenan, the American champion, at Farnborough in England in a bare-knuckle fight that lasted 2 hours and 20 minutes. It was declared a draw when the crowd invaded the ring when Heenan seemed to be winning.

Jack Broughton, known as the Father of English Boxing, introduced the first set of rules in 1743. He was champion from 1729 until 1750. In 1838 a list of London Prize rules was introduced based on those drafted by Broughton. The rules were revised in 1853 and was replaced by the Marquess of Queensberry rules.

John Morrisey won the American heavyweight championship in 1858. After retiring, he became extremely wealthy by operating a chain of gambling houses and also served two terms as a member of the United States Congress.

The last time a heavyweight contest was scheduled for 20 rounds was when Joe Louis fought Abe Simon in Detroit on March 21 1941. Louis knocked Simon out in the 13th round.

Louis made the most defences of the world heavyweight title – 25 – despite spending more than a third of his 12-year reign in the US Army. He won the title when he knocked out James J Braddock in the ninth round at the Comiskey Park in Chicago. He retired as undefeated heavyweight champion of the world on March 1 1949.

Dempsey won 25 of his 79 fights on first-round knockouts. Louis recorded only ten first-round knockouts in 66 fights.

Rocky Marciano had the best record of all heavyweight champions, scoring 43 knockouts in 49 fights. Gene Tunney was defeated only once in 83 fights. Louis lost only three times.

Bob Fitzsimmons, born in Cornwall on May 26 1863, had the longest career of any heavyweight champion. He began boxing as an amateur at the age of 17 and had his last fight at the age of 50 in 1914.

Gene Tunney was the first heavyweight champion to be paid a million dollars for a fight. It was for his second fight with Jack Dempsey on September 22 1927 at Soldiers Field, Chicago. The fight attracted 104 393 spectators and the referee was Dave Barry.

Mario D’Agata, who won the world bantamweight title when he stopped Robert Cohen in the seventh round in Rome on June 29 1956, is the only deaf mute to have won a world title.

Ken Norton was awarded the WBC heavyweight championship by decree when Leon Spinks refused to defend the title against him, because he preferred to face Muhammad Ali in a return bout. Thus Norton became the only heavyweight champion in history never to win a championship fight. He twice lost to Muhammad Ali in title bouts and lost the WBC belt in his first defence when Larry Holmes outpointed him.

Ezzard Charles had 122 fights, the most by a world heavyweight and light-heavyweight champion. Maxie Rosenbloom had 299 fights, the same number as middleweight champion Harry Greb.

Bantamweight champion Jim Barry (USA) who fought from 1891 to 1899 retired undefeated throughout his entire career winning 70 fights and five draws.

American lightweight champion Jack McAuliffe, whose boxed from 1884 to 1896, also remained undefeated, with 52 wins and 9 draws.

John Tate held the WBA heavyweight belt for only 163 days. Leon Spinks held the WBC heavyweight belt for 212 days and Marvin Hart held the undisputed heavyweight title for 235 days.

Victor Young Perez, who was born in Tunisia, was the first man from Africa to win a world flyweight title. He knocked out Frankie Genaro in the second round in Paris on October 26 1931 to win the NBA-IBU flyweight title.

Henry Armstrong defended his world welterweight title five times in one month in October 1939. He stopped Al Manfredo in the fourth round) and Howard Scott in the second), knocked out Ritchie Fontaine in the third, beat Jimmy Garrison on points over ten rounds and stopped Bobby Pacho in the fourth.

Benny Leonard, the world lightweight champion from 1917 to 1925, had 213 recorded bouts, but boxed in an era when about 115 bouts that went the distance were recorded as no-decision results.


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