1908-06-01 (158lbs) Tom Thomas w co 4 (20) James Tiger Smith, NSC, Covent Garden, London, England
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 before being toppled over by a hard right in the second round. 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 having been dropped four times from an assortment of blows he was counted out on the 1.08 mark.
Meantime, Tom Lancaster continued his weakened claim, beating Bombardier Davis (w co 8 at The Running Grounds, Durham on 20 June), while Thomas' next contest came against Jack Costello (w co 6 at the Ivor SC, Swansea on 17 October). Earlier thought to be a title fight, it was made at catchweights with no weights given.
Following wins over Bartley Connolly and Tom Dyer, and another lengthy absence, Thomas met Jack Kingsland (w rtd 11 at the Millfield AC, Pontypridd, Wales on 5 October 1909). According to Boxing it was a title defence, but in truth it was a hastily arranged catchweight contest of 20 two-minute rounds with no weights reported. A couple of weeks later, Lancaster beat Fred Wilmott (w co 3 Ginnett's Circus, Newcastle on 19 October) in what was considered to be another defence of his claim.
A matter of days after Lancaster defeated Harry Croxon (w co 6 at the Sporting Club, Elswick, Newcastle on 28 November) in another 'defence', the Sporting Life reported that Thomas should now meet him to settle the English title. However, nothing ever came of it, and by mid-1910 following defeats at the hands of Eddie McGoorty and Jim Sullivan Lancaster retired. With victories over men such as Andrew Jeptha (twice), Frank Craig (thrice), Bartley Connolly, McGoorty and Ted Nelson, he should have been ensured of a crack at the Lonsdale Belt.
Having standardised the weight classes on 11 February 1909, the NSC eventually selected Thomas to meet Charlie Wilson at the Club on 20 December 1909 to decide the vacant British 160lbs title and first middleweight Lord Lonsdale Belt. Although winning by a second-round kayo, Thomas was once again laid low by rheumatism. Further to this, a prospective title defence against Jim Sullivan was set aside.
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. For Thomas there would be just four more fights before he sadly passed away on 13 August 1911 following another rheumatic attack.
Sullivan, who received quite a battering at the hands of Thomas, took six months out before Hugh McIntosh, a leading promoter, matched him against Billy Papke to contest the world title in London.