1888-05-10 (105lbs) George Dixon drew 9 (7) Tommy Spider Kelly, Athenian Club, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

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10 May (105lbs) George Dixon drew 9 (7) Tommy Spider Kelly, Athenian Club, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. According to the Boston Post this was just a seven rounder that was allowed to run to nine because of the interest and was not stopped by the police as intimated in some reports. The Boston Daily Globe reported that in the opening two rounds Kelly did all the leading, punching Dixon around the ring. From the third onwards Dixon made the fight, but was often bothered by Kelly’s fast stepping tactics that allowed him to dodge and block blows that could have done him damage. Kelly said afterwards that he had hurt both of his hands in the early stages. With the judges unable to decide a winner after seven rounds, the boys were asked to do another two but still the judges could not split them and a draw was announced. However, The Ring Record Book tells us that, following what he considered to be a ninth-round win for Dixon (105) over Kelly (104¾), his manager, Tom O’Rourke, continued to claim the American 105lbs title for his charge. Despite his manager’s enterprise there is no evidence that Dixon ever defended his claim before moving up in weight.

On 19 April 1889, the Philadelphia Item reported that Tommy Russell had defeated Kelly for the American 105lbs title, but no clarification of that result has come to light as yet. Another unsubstantiated defeat for Kelly, on points over ten rounds, supposedly came on 5 June 1889 against Chappie Moran.