1956-01-18 Sandy Saddler w rsc 13 (15) Flash Elorde, Cow Palace, San Francisco, California, USA - WORLD

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1956-01-18 Sandy Saddler w rsc 13 (15) Flash Elorde, Cow Palace, San Francisco, California, USA - WORLD. Referee: Ray Flores. Fighting mainly at close quarters in the early stages, Saddler (126) went to the front as his challenger seemed unable to fathom out what his next move was. However, Elorde (125) came alive in the sixth when he decided to fight his way out of the clinches and push Saddler to the ropes, this tactic holding him in good stead until he was cut over the left eye in the eighth. Fighting from a southpaw stance Elorde gave it everything in a supreme effort to turn the fight his way, but at 0.59 of the 13th the ringside doctor, having inspected his eye damage on three earlier occasions, advised the referee that he should call it off.

Saddler’s last appearance in the ring came on 14 April when he was outpointed by Larry Boardman in a non-title fight over ten rounds at The Garden, Boston, Massachusetts. Saddler eventually relinquished the belt when retiring as the undefeated champion in January 1957, having suffered serious eye damage.

Earlier, Fred Galiana had been given The Ring magazine’s number-one spot when taking the European title from Ray Famechon (w rtd 6 at the Sports Palace, Paris, France on 3 November 1955). Although Galiana made a successful defence of the title when beating Jules Touan he was displaced by Hogan Kid Bassey at the top of the ratings after losing to Duilio Loi in July 1956.

For the first time in boxing history a World Championship Committee was set up to organise a series of eliminators. It was agreed that Cherif Hamia, who had recently won the vacant European title after outpointing Jean Sneyers over 15 rounds at the Sports Palace, Paris on 21 January 1957, would fight the winner of Bassey v Miguel Berrios. Berrios had already eliminated Carmelo Costa from the tournament (w pts 12 at Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York on 22 March 1957), but was unable to advance any further when outpointed over 12 rounds by the Nigerian at the Capitol Arena, Washington DC on 27 April 1957.

Since arriving in England at the end of 1951, Bassey had posted wins over Tommy Proffitt (twice), Bobby Boland, Luis Romero (twice), Sammy McCarthy, Sneyers (twice), Percy Lewis (twice) and Aldo Pravisani, and won the British Empire title from Billy Spider Kelly. Although he had 11 defeats on his record the steadily improving Bassey was right up there as a solid little box-fighter.

Apart from walking into a right-hand punch and getting knocked out early on in his career, Hamia was a classy, sharp-punching fighter who had won 30 out of 33 contests, having beaten Jacques Bataille, Aldo Pravisani, Jacques Dumnesnil, Francis Bonnardel, Manolo Garcia, Mohammed Chickaoui, Rudi Langer, Amleto Falcinelli, Robert Cohen, Costa, Ike Chestnut, Berrios and Bobby Bell in the process. He was also noted for his hand and foot speed.