1898-05-06 James J. Jeffries w pts 20 Tom Sharkey, Mechanics’ Pavilion, San Francisco, California, USA
1898-05-06 James J. Jeffries w pts 20 Tom Sharkey, Mechanics’ Pavilion, San Francisco, California, USA. Referee: Alex Greggins. With just ten contests under his belt Jeffries showed great maturity when handling the rough, tough Sharkey with some ease in the opening four rounds. Although some sessions were slow Jeffries landed well to force Sharkey to the ropes, while the latter often fell short with his best efforts. Dropped by a right to the ear in the 11th Sharkey was then hit repeatedly, being in some distress on occasion. Both men were tired from the 17th onwards, but both fought viciously to the final bell, with Jeffries cheered to the rafters on the decision.
Although taking over Sharkey’s title claim Jeffries stated that he would be looking to make a match with Peter Maher before trying to get it on with Bob Fitzsimmons. That aside, on 25 July, in most of the newspapers of the day it was reported that Jeffries was one of several men now claiming the heavyweight title.
Having agreed to fight two ten-round contests at the Lenox AC, Manhattan, NYC, New York on 5 August Jeffries easily outpointed Bob Armstrong, but was unable to meet Steve O’Donnell after breaking his left arm on the former ‘black’ champion’s head.
Subsequently, following several months out of the ring, Jeffries, who was now being acclaimed by many as the unbeaten heavyweight champion, signed to meet the returning Fitzsimmons on 30 March 1899.