Category:Featherweight Division

From Barry Hugman's History of Championship Boxing
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The division started life in the early 1860s when the first man to claim the bare-knuckle championship appears to have been Dick Hollywood, although the initial sign of positive action came when England's George Seddons beat America’s Tommy Kelly for the title in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA on 7 October 1868. Shortly afterwards, Kelly laid claim to the title when Seddons found he could no longer make the weight, and by the late 1870s Long Tom Ryan also found some form of recognition as a bare-knuckle champion

As gloved fighting under Marquess of Queensberry Rules (MoQ Rules) got underway in Britain during the early 1870s, mainly in the form of championship competitions and claims, it was not until March 1886 that there was a distance fight at the weight of any consequence. Listed below, is the activity at every two pounds between January 1872 and March 1886, taking in all weights between 116lbs and 126lbs which became recognised as belonging to the featherweight class in Britain

116 to 118lbs: This weight class is first heard of in 1879 when Cocky Joyce challenged George Dove to decide the English title, and although they were booked to meet somewhere in London on 11 February 1880 there is nothing in print to say they did. Other men who claimed the English 118lbs title included Harry Solomon (who outpointed Charlie Cheese over three rounds at the St Andrew’s Hall, Westminster, London on 3 January 1885), Sam Blakelock (who walked over Harry Williams at the Bridge House Tavern, Islington, London on 19 January 1885), Dave Burke (who outpointed Owen Hannon over three rounds at the St Andrew’s Hall on 4 February 1885) and Fred Johnson (who outpointed Bill Baxter over three rounds at the St Andrew’s Hall on 20 January 1886)

118 to 120lbs: The first ever glove fight at the weight saw Young Hundreds outpoint Little Alec Lawson over three rounds (at the Spencers Arms Public House, Soho, London) on 23 January 1872. This was followed by Lawson (March 1872), Arthur Chambers (September 1872), George Cunningham (May 1875), Pat Perry (April 1876) and Punch Dowsett (March 1877) claiming to be the English champion at the weight. Then came Bill Hook and Fred Johnson who drew over four rounds at the Blue Anchor Public House, Shoreditch, London on 6 November 1884. Hook then outpointed Johnson over four rounds in another championship competition at the Post Office, Mile End, London on 16 December 1884 before gaining the three-round points decision over Owen Hannon at the St Andrew’s Hall, Westminster, London on 12 January 1885. On 29 September 1885, it was claimed that Tom Sterck was again challenging the world at 120lbs, having had no responses to two earlier challenges

120 to 122lbs: Little Alec Lawson, who claimed to be the best in the world at 122lbs on 10 February 1872, was the first man associated with the weight class. He was followed by George Cunningham (who challenged the world on 16 March 1878), Jem Laxton (who outpointed Harry Solomon over three rounds at the Lillie Bridge Grounds, Chelsea, London on 30 July 1883) and Reuben Baxter (12 May 1884)

122 to 124lbs: The weight class had first come to notice when Pat Perry challenged the world on 15 August 1877, an action that was followed by Billy Hawkes (June 1979), Owen Hannon (December 1884) and Dave Burke (July 1885) doing likewise

124 to 126lbs: The English 126lbs title was first claimed by Young Hundreds (who outpointed Jem Cody over five rounds at Professor Alf Austin’s Bloomfield Street Rooms, London Wall on 20 December 1872). He was followed by Punch Dowsett (who won championship competitions when outpointing Dave Cable over three rounds at the Running Grounds, Hackney Wick, London on 26 July 1875 and Bill Steadman over three rounds at the High Street Hall, Hoxton, London on 22 October 1877). Other men to win championship competitions included Jim Steadman (November 1877), Jem Laxton (January 1979) and Harry Mead (who outpointed Harry Solomon over three rounds at the Five Inkhorns Public House, Shoreditch, London on 30 March 1879). Laxton won another championship competition (outpointing Jim Steadman over three rounds at the Royal Agricultural Hall, Islington, London on 15 April 1979) before challenging the world on 29 September. Additional men to challenge the world were Funny Cook (October 1879), Jem Carney (November 1879), Punch Callow (February 1880), Billy Hawkes (November 1880), Ted Jones (October 1881), Laxton (who again outpointed Jim Steadman over three rounds, this time at the Blue Anchor Public House, Shoreditch, London on 15 March 1882), Con Donovan (January 1883) and Bill Hook (who outpointed Bill Baxter over four rounds at the Blue Anchor Public House on 12 November 1883). When it was printed in the Sporting Life on 2 April 1884 that Hook was calling himself the 126lbs English champion an indignant Mead (having beaten Hook twice) also claimed the title, being followed by Denny Cronin and Jack Williams (September 1884)

Weight Band/Amendments

116lbs to 126lbs (March 1886 to August 1888)

114lbs to 126lbs (With Cal McCarthy coming to the fore in America, by the end of August 1888 the 114/115lbs weight class was considered by many of those running boxing in America as belonging to the featherweights)

116lbs to 126lbs (By the end of 1891, 114/115lbs was once again seen as belonging to the bantamweight class by the majority of Americans)

116lbs to 128lbs (On 27 August 1895, George Dixon extended his featherweight claim to 128lbs)

116lbs to 130lbs (At the end of 1902, Young Corbett, the recognised featherweight champion in America who was increasing in weight, decided to defend the world title at weights up to 130lbs, receiving fair support in doing so)

118lbs to 130lbs (On 5 October 1903, the NSC recognised a bout between Joe Bowker and Bill King as involving the English bantamweight championship at 118lbs)

118lbs to 126lbs (Following Young Corbett’s defeat at the hands of Jimmy Britt on 25 March 1904, 128 and 130lbs should not be seen as belonging to the featherweight class. On 11 February 1909, the NSC formally introduced the eight named weight classes, with the bantamweight class limit being 118lbs and the featherweight class limit set at 126lbs, thus ending English champions at every two pounds)

122lbs to 126lbs (On 3 April 1976, the World Boxing Council introduced the 122lbs weight class)

Pages in category ‘Featherweight Division’

The following 827 pages are in this category, out of 827 total.


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