1939-05-25 Henry Armstrong w pts 15 Ernie Roderick, The Arena, Harringay, London, England - WORLD

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1939-05-25 Henry Armstrong w pts 15 Ernie Roderick, The Arena, Harringay, London, England - WORLD. Referee: Wilfred Smith. Apart from the opening round which Roderick (145¾) won by dint of good left-hand work, the champion began to control the action thereafter when getting to close quarters where he surprisingly threw few bodyline shots for fear of a disqualification. With many thinking that Armstrong (135) would falter sooner or later, having set an exacting pace, they were ultimately proved wrong as the American kept going round after round, churning out lefts and rights to both head and body at speed. If anything, he even upped the pace at times. To the British champion’s credit he was always trying to fight back, taking Armstrong’s best punches without dropping, even when being hit full bloodedly on the jaw. In the final third of the fight Roderick’s left eye, which was already cut, began to close, but he kept up his game resistance right through to the final bell when Armstrong deservedly took the referee’s decision.

On 22 August, at the Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NYC, New York, Armstrong was outpointed over 15 rounds by Lou Ambers when making a defence of his 135lbs lightweight title. Following the fight there was much talk of the latter having also won the welterweight championship at the same time. In explaining the situation, Nat Fleischer, of The Ring magazine, stated: "Talk about Ambers having won two titles is nonsense. If the boys had been fighting for the welter crown and Ambers had scaled within the lightweight limit and had been returned the winner then there would be no doubt about both crowns belonging to him".

Meantime, having beaten Fritzie Zivic and Jimmy Leto, Charley Burley was number one in The Ring magazine ratings, but by December he had moved on, leaving the way clear for Zivic. Although Zivic would get his chance at a later date, he lost his top rating to Milt Aron, who knocked him out in the eighth round at The Coliseum, Chicago, Illinois on 27 December. Aron seemed to be a real comer, but after beating Eddie Brink and Bep van Klaveren he lost to Emil Calcagni, and although getting immediate revenge he soon dropped down the ratings.