1899-09-18 (158lbs) Tommy Ryan w rsc 10 (25) Frank Craig, Coney Island AC, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA

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1899-09-18 (158lbs) Tommy Ryan w rsc 10 (25) Frank Craig, Coney Island AC, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA. Referee: George Siler. The New York Herald stated that both men, candidates for middleweight honours, were to meet at 158lbs. Despite rumours that Craig would come in over the weight the fight went ahead, the ‘Coffee Cooler’ starting well before having Ryan down in the second round from a right swing to the ear. By the fifth, Ryan, who was dictating the pace, was beginning to land heavy rights under Craig’s heart that saw him eventually weaken. In the ninth Craig was dropped three times and appeared to be quitting before coming out for the tenth. Ryan lost no time in going after Craig, slamming away with both hands until putting him down with a right to the head. Although Craig got up at the count of ‘nine’ he was all over the place, and with 30 seconds of the session still remaining the referee rescued him.

In the aftermath, Ryan, who was also claiming the title up to 154lbs, challenged Charles Kid McCoy at that weight knowing full well that his rival would have difficulty in making it. McCoy, not surprisingly declined the offer, stating that 158lbs was now the real middleweight limit and that he still recognised Bob Fitzsimmons as champion, not Ryan.

On 29 May 1900, at Tattersall’s Arena, Chicago, Illinois, Ryan took on McCoy in a six-round contest where both men were inside 158lbs, thus risking their title claims at the weight. Having raised McCoy’s hand at the final bell, the referee, Malachy Hogan, was overruled when it came to light that the contract had stated that if both men were on their feet at the end of the contest a draw would be given.

Following this one, Ryan (150) won the six-round points decision over Young Mahoney (146) at the Dearborn AC, Chicago on 29 June 1900, before another short-distance fight saw him outpoint Kid Carter (158) over six rounds at Tattersall’s Arena, Chicago on 27 November 1900.