1908-06-01 (158lbs) Tom Thomas w co 4 (20) James Tiger Smith, NSC, Covent Garden, London, England

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1908-06-01 (158lbs) Tom Thomas w co 4 (20) James Tiger Smith, NSC, Covent Garden, London, England. Referee: Eugene Corri. Billed for the English 158lbs title, at the start of the contest Thomas (157) seemed to be nonplussed by his opponent’s tactics and in the second round he was toppled over by a hard right. By the third, however, Thomas had worked Smith (154) out, sending the latter down with a right that landed squarely on the jaw. Coming out for the fourth it was apparent straight away that Smith had not fully recovered and after he had been dropped four times from an assortment of blows he was counted out on the 1.08 mark.

After falling into line with the NSC’s standardising of weight classes on 11 February 1909, Thomas then met Charlie Wilson at the same venue on 20 December 1909 to decide the vacant British 160lbs title and first middleweight Lord Lonsdale Belt. Although winning by a second-round kayo and being thought of as a world title hope, Thomas was once again laid low by rheumatism and a prospective title defence against Jim Sullivan was set aside until June 1910 before being postponed.

Fit again, Thomas recorded four quick wins over decent opposition prior to the Sullivan fight being fixed for 14 November at the NSC. Made at 160lbs, Sullivan took over the British title after a 20-round points win, but for Thomas there would be just four more fights before he sadly passed away on 13 August 1911 following another rheumatic attack.

Having become British champion, Sullivan, who received quite a battering in doing so, took six months out before Hugh McIntosh, a leading promoter, matched him to contest the world title in London against Billy Papke.