1907-02-19 Jack Johnson w co 1 (20) Peter Felix, Gaiety Athletic Hall, Sydney, Australia

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1907-02-19 Jack Johnson w co 1 (20) Peter Felix, Gaiety Athletic Hall, Sydney, Australia. Referee: Mr Beckett. Johnson successfully defended his ‘black’ title when despatching Felix at 2.20 of round one, dropping the man from St Croix twice before finishing him off with a right uppercut to the jaw.

Further to this, Johnson knocked out Bill Lang and Bob Fitzsimmons and took in another couple of six-round fights before meeting Fireman Jim Flynn in what was seen as an eliminating contest to decide Tommy Burns’ next opponent. Taking place in California at the Mission Street Arena, Colma, San Francisco, and scheduled for 45 rounds, Johnson won easily, knocking Flynn out in 11 rounds on 2 November. The promoter, Jim Coffroth, then made plans to bring Burns home to defend his title against Johnson, but had no joy as the champion decided to stay in Europe.

After taking in a three-round exhibition contest against Joe Jeannette at the beginning of January 1908, Johnson stopped off for another exhibition in Montreal, Canada before sailing for England to force a fight with Burns. When arriving in England Johnson found to his dismay that Burns had moved on to Australia. Deciding to make the best of his trip, and having stopped Britain’s Ben Taylor inside eight rounds at the Cosmo(politan) Club, Plymouth on 31 July 1908, two days later Johnson was matched to meet Mike Schreck over 20 rounds at the NSC, Covent Garden, London on 19 October in what would be a billed world title bout. At this point, Johnson was claiming the title as Burns had refused to meet him under reasonable conditions. Unfortunately, Schreck was unable to get himself in condition in the allotted time and the fight was called off, prior to it being announced on 12 September that Johnson had signed to meet Burns in Australia over 20 rounds sometime in December. With that agreed, Johnson set sail from London on 18 September.