1877-10-29 Tom Allen w rtd 7 (finish) Tompkin Gilbert, Saddlers Wells Theatre, Clerkenwell, London, England

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1877-10-29 Tom Allen w rtd 7 (finish) Tompkin Gilbert, Saddlers Wells Theatre, Clerkenwell, London, England. Referee: Robert Watson. Billed for the gloved championship under MoQ Rules, it somehow got confused with London Prize Ring Rules with several rounds ending short and lasting just over 16 minutes. Although the articles called for the meeting to be contested in gloves it was apparent that the gloves used had no padding and were more in keeping with knuckle dusters.

The fight itself saw Gilbert (175), a novice, badly beaten by the far more experienced Allen (168) who claimed the English title on winning. That was what it said in Bells Life, which reported on boxing generally, but in the Lincolnshire Chronicle a far different account of what took place was reported. The paper went on to state that after Gilbert unsuccessfully tried to ‘throw’ Allen, the latter picked him up, raised him on a level with his head and dashed him with great force on the wooden stage, the thud resounding throughout the building. At this point Gilbert’s seconds claimed a foul, and after much consultation with the referee on the articles the claim was upheld, although it was not publicly made known in order to prevent a disturbance. The truth of the matter was that Gilbert had been outclassed throughout, being knocked down at least four times and badly cut, and had been the one who instigated the ‘throwing’ session. On the basis of that the initial result stood amongst those involved in the sport.