1922-09-18 Jock Malone w pts 12 Bryan Downey, Fairmont Arena, Columbus, Ohio, USA - OHIO

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1922-09-18 Jock Malone w pts 12 Bryan Downey, Fairmont Arena, Columbus, Ohio, USA - OHIO. Referee: Sammy Trott. Following the fight, which was made at 160lbs, the Ohio State Journal claimed that Malone was the real middleweight champion as far as Ohio and several other States were concerned. The contest itself saw Downey, moving like a lightweight, take the opening four rounds, but from then on it was all Malone as the body punches took effect. When Downey tried to get back into it he was boxed off soundly. It was only in the last two rounds when liniment from the champion’s body found its way into Malone’s eyes that any turnaround seemed possible. However, Malone gamely kept going to land a well-earned decision from the referee, being awarded a diamond-studded belt on the promise that he would defend his title claim in Ohio within 90 days.

Afterwards, Downey’s manager was suspended for 60 days when found guilty of placing liniment on Downey during the fight. It is difficult to know just when the Ohio Boxing Commission decided not to recognise Malone as champion, but after the Downey fight and a three-round no-contest against Johnny Karr at the Mechanics’ Building, Boston, Massachusetts on 13 October, he met with a sixth-round disqualification defeat at the hands of Bob Sage in a no-decision contest at 160lbs at the Roller Rink, Detroit, Michigan on 16 October.

There is no doubt that a lot of people still continued to see Malone as a champion, and he went on to beat a whole posse of good men at 160lbs or less in 1922, such as Navy Rostan (w co 4 at the George Oswego Arena, East Chicago, Indiana on 27 October), Johnny Shea (w co 5 at the Broadway Auditorium, Buffalo, New York on 6 November) and Augie Ratner (nd-w pts 10 at Danceland, Detroit, Michigan on 10 November), before taking a 12-round press decision at 158lbs off Bryan Downey at the Jefferson SC, Louisville, Kentucky on 5 December.

In 1923 Malone went on fight Johnny Klesch (w rsc 6 at the George Oswego Arena on 26 February) at 158lbs, prior to knocking out Mike O'Dowd in the first round at The Auditorium, St Paul, Minnesota on 16 March. Despite the Chicago Tribune reporting him to be the holder of the Ohio version of the title, the fight was not billed for the championship, and even when Malone, who had lost two ten-round press decisions (on 17 April and 4 May at The Auditorium, St Paul) to Bermondsey Billy Wells, came back to The Coliseum, Columbus, Ohio on 24 July to meet Anthony Downey, Bryan’s younger brother, the fight was not given title billing. Nevertheless, the Columbus Ohio State Journal reported that Malone was putting up the belt in a fight where both men weighed well inside 158lbs. After Malone won on points over 12 rounds he then went on to outscore Frank Carbone over ten rounds at the Riverside Arena, Covington, Kentucky on 6 August before beating Tilly Herman by a third-round disqualification at Noble’s Arena, Aurora, Illinois on 17 August. All of these matches were made at 158lbs or less, but following Harry Greb’s win over Johnny Wilson on 31 August Malone was seen as a challenger rather than a claimant.