1901-03-11 (122lbs) Will Curley w disq 7 (20) Sammy Kelly, Ginnett’s Circus, Newcastle, England

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1901-03-11 (122lbs) Will Curley w disq 7 (20) Sammy Kelly, Ginnett’s Circus, Newcastle, England. Referee: Edward Humphreys. Although there was no championship billing, with both men inside 122lbs Curley’s world title claim at the weight was at stake. Curley started well and was already inflicting heavy punishment to head and body by the second round. He was also lucky to get away with a right to the head after Kelly had slipped to his knees, the referee uninterested in the latter’s claims of a foul. Three times in the third and twice in the fourth Kelly sank to his knees looking for a foul, but the referee ignored calls from the local police to stop it while warning the American to get up and fight. With Curley going for the knockout, Kelly again went down once in the fifth and twice in the sixth before being disqualified in the seventh after being dropped heavily and falling down without being hit on another four occasions.

By early 1902 Curley had moved up among the 126lbs men.