1921-03-17 Johnny Wilson w pts 15 Mike O’Dowd, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD

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1921-03-17 Johnny Wilson w pts 15 Mike O'Dowd, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD. Referee: Johnny McAvoy. Although the decision was split, in at least ten of the 15 rounds Wilson (158) battered O’Dowd (159¼) around the ring, ripping home blows to head and body with uppercuts and stiff southpaw right hooks. While O’Dowd, gashed over the right eye in the 11th and above the left in the 13th, plugged away his attacks became more futile the longer it went on, especially with the flow of blood almost blinding him. There were no knockdowns, but several times the challenger complained of low blows to little avail as Wilson went about his work. The general consensus at ringside was that Wilson should have been disqualified.

On 25 May, Wilson was deemed by the press to have outscored Joe Chip over ten rounds at the Roller Palace Rink, Detroit, Michigan. Risking his title when allowing Chip to make 158lbs in what had earlier been reported as a championship match, the ten-pounds heavier Wilson gave his rival a severe thrashing. The tough Chip had no answers to the steady beating, being hit hard and often, but he survived to the final bell where he looked a sorry sight.

Two fights later, on 27 July, at Dunn Field, Cleveland, Ohio, Wilson ran into trouble against Bryan Downey. After the contest came to an end when the referee disqualified Downey (154), the Cleveland Boxing Commission refused to accept the decision, declaring Downey the winner by a kayo. This action was eventually supported by the Ohio Boxing Commission on 23 August, who awarded Downey champion status. The referee, Jimmy Gardner, who had been brought in to protect Wilson (165), claimed he had disqualified Downey for attempting to hit the champion while he was down, but Wilson had already been decked three times and appeared well beaten at the finish.

On the ‘black’ title front, a billed championship contest saw Panama Joe Gans beat Tiger Flowers (w co 6 at The Auditorium, Atlanta, Georgia on 8 August), while other fights where he put his title claim at risk came against Kid Alberts (w rsc 10 in Detroit, Michigan on 6 June 1921), Carl Hertz (w co 6 at The Armory, Jersey City, New Jersey on 15 August 1921) and Alex Gibbons (w pts 12 at the Commonwealth SC, Manhattan, NYC, New York on 27 August 1921).