1917-03-12 Jimmy Wilde w rtd 4 (20) George Clark, NSC, Covent Garden, London, England - WORLD

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1917-03-12 Jimmy Wilde w rtd 4 (20) George Clark, NSC, Covent Garden, London, England - WORLD. Referee: J. H. Douglas. In defending his 112lb title claims, while winning a Lonsdale Belt outright, Wilde (102) did as he pleased with the unfortunate Clark (112) and once the fourth round was underway decided it was to be an early night. Punches to head and body from both hands soon had Clark on the floor and, on rising, he was downed twice more before his corner had seen enough and threw the towel in to save their man from further punishment.

Meantime, in America, Johnny Rosner claimed the American title when defeating the Young Zulu Kid by disqualification inside seven rounds on 28 September at the Vanderbilt AC, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, and there was renewed interest in the States to find a worthy challenger to meet Wilde for the title.

Below the 112lbs limit there were still men claiming the British title and on 18 October, Tal Jones beat Billy Padden on a third-round disqualification at The Stadium, Liverpool to claim the 100lbs championship. A few days later at the NSC, on 22 October, Dick Heasman, weighing 100lbs, scored a 15-round points win over Tommy Davis, who scaled 99lbs, to counter claim the title at that weight. There continued to be plenty of activity at 100lbs and Jones extended his claim at the weight when beating Padden on points over 20 rounds at The Stadium, Liverpool on 22 November. Then, on 4 February 1918, Heasman outpointed Jones over 15 rounds at the NSC.

Although the NSC did not officially recognise any weight below 112lbs and therefore gave this fight no title billing, with the match made at 100lbs Heasman proved himself the best man at the weight, bar Wilde. The two men came together at the NSC on 29 April 1918 in a match made at 102lbs with Wilde (100½) defending his claim at the weight. While not billed as involving Wilde’s 112lb flyweight titles it was generally recognised that had he lost he would have almost certainly forfeited them. It was not much of a fight as Heasman (102) was down three times in the first round and despite coming up smartly for the second he was soon dropped again from a hail of blows that rained in on him from all angles. Although getting up at ‘eight’, his attempts to fight on were futile and after 58 seconds he signalled his retirement and the towel was thrown in.

From thereon, due to Wilde’s total domination at all weights between 98 and 112lbs and leading authorities failing to recognise even smaller men, the paperweight classes faded into obscurity despite there being a couple of American claimants at 106lbs in the 1920s, Jockey Joe Dillon in 1921 and Al Robinson in 1929, and persisting in Wales up until around 1929.

The following year Young Montreal took over Rosner’s American title claim when outpointing the latter over 12 rounds at the National AC, Providence, Rhode Island on 10 April 1919. Despite it being recognised as an American title fight, and with neither man tipping the beam set at 112lbs, Montreal quickly decided to campaign among the bantams.

Meanwhile, towards the end of 1919, Wilde made plans to make a tour of America, winning newspaper decisions over Jackie Sharkey and Johnny Babe Asher, and scoring inside-the-distance victories over Mike Ertle and Mickey Russell, all bantams, before being awarded a press verdict after taking on Patsy Wallace over six rounds at 112lbs at the National AC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 3 March 1920.

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