1923-08-31 Harry Greb w pts 15 Johnny Wilson, Polo Grounds, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD

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1923-08-31 Harry Greb w pts 15 Johnny Wilson, Polo Grounds, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD. Referee: Jack O’Sullivan. Most reports state that Greb (158) won 13 of the 15 rounds on offer and that the southpaw champion appeared bewildered at times as his opponent came in from all angles and kept punching. There was also plenty of the rough stuff, with Greb guilty of butting and thumbing in the clinches, while Wilson (158) was not adverse to sending in the occasional low blow. What was clear, however, was that Greb was the superior fighter of the two and at the final bell Wilson was badly marked, his left eye closed, his mouth slashed open and there were lumps under his right eye. ‘The Human Windmill’ as Greb was known, had promised to take the title and was as good as his word, never being at risk, but although making Wilson suffer he could not put him down despite hitting him with every punch in the book. The verdict was unanimous.

Regarding the unofficial ‘black’ title, Panama Joe Gans put up his claim against Whitey Black (w co 8 at Jake Carey’s Club, Rochester, New York on 22 October) in what would be his last successful defence. A good look at his record shows that he been avoided by the majority of top men while at his peak, but at least one of his victims, Tiger Flowers, would go on to become the first fully recognised coloured champion for the weight class.

On 3 December 1923, despite Greb weighing in at 161lbs for his fight at the Motor Square Garden, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania against Bryan Downey (158½), it went ahead as a billed championship contest, with the champion winning on points over ten rounds. However, this would not be the last time that Greb abused his commitments at 160lbs.