1887-12-13 (154lbs) Nonpareil Jack Dempsey w rtd 45 (finish) Johnny Reagan, Manhasset, Long Island Sound, New York, USA
1887-12-13 (154lbs) Nonpareil Jack Dempsey w rtd 45 (finish) Johnny Reagan, Manhasset, Long Island Sound, New York, USA. Referee: Frank Stevenson. Fought in two rings under London Prize Ring Rules – the first session lasting 18 minutes, the second 55 minutes – due to the rising tide flooding the ring the first time round, the New York Herald claimed it to be the first ‘proper’ middleweight title fight in America for 20 years. Articled for both men to be inside 154lbs ringside, and using heavy driving gloves, when the fight restarted Dempsey closed the majority of rounds that followed by throwing Reagan and falling on him with as much force as he could muster. After taking much punishment from these tactics as well as having his head held and pummelled, Reagan often dropped on one knee to avoid what was coming. It could not go on like it was and when Reagan had taken a further battering in the 45th round his seconds threw up the sponge, Dempsey being awarded an American 154lbs championship belt.
Following the fight, real efforts were made to match him in England with the Englishman, Toff Wall, and when Dempsey refused to travel because of family commitments Wall said he could not go to America either as he was frightened of the water.
Still on the subject of English fighters scaling 154lbs, Alec Burns (who outpointed Jim Burchill over four rounds on 8 December 1888 at the Royal Aquarium Theatre, Westminster, London) and Burchell (who outpointed Arthur Bobbett over five rounds on 16 March 1889 at the Royal Agricultural Hall, Islington, London) both won championship competitions.
In the 10 July edition of the Sporting Life it was reported that Bill Chesterfield Goode should be recognised as the English 154lbs champion, while in January 1890 Alf Ball stated that he was claiming the title as no one had accepted his challenge at the weight.