1925-08-22 Fidel LaBarba w pts 10 Frankie Genaro, Ascot Park Arena, Los Angeles, California, USA - NBA/CALIFORNIA

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1925-08-22 Fidel LaBarba w pts 10 Frankie Genaro, Ascot Park Arena, Los Angeles, California, USA - NBA/CALIFORNIA. Referee: Harry Ertle. Initially using hit and run tactics to exasperate Genaro (111¾), the 19-year-old LaBarba (111¾) went on to outbox, outgeneral, outmanoeuvre and outpunch his rival to walk away with the referee’s decision, his work to the body being especially impressive. The onrushing Genaro consistently ran on to punches and in the final round was glad to hear the bell after he was subjected to a battery of left hooks to both body and jaw.

Although the fight was billed for the American title as well as the vacant world championship, it went unrecognised as such in Britain and Europe because their top men, specifically Elky Clark, had been ignored. And, while the NYSAC initially supported Genaro’s claim, due to it not being contested over a greater distance they also gave the winner scant support. Regardless, in a battle of former Olympic champions, LaBarba became the first to win a professional world title.

Undoubtedly, the NYSAC would liked to have matched Clark, who was claiming the European title after outpointing Michel Montreuil over 20 rounds at Hengler’s Circus, Glasgow, Scotland on 31 January, against LaBarba in a match that would have given the championship an international flavour. However, Clark, who was suffering a spot of ill health at the time, had a British and European title defence lined up against Kid Socks, while LaBarba, not yet 21, would not be old enough to fight over the championship distance in New York until October 1926, at least.

Following a win over Clever Sencio (w pts 10 at the Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California) on 20 January 1926 at 115lbs, the Filipino’s management team began negotiations for a shot at the title, but the best they could get was another overweight contest on 31 March 1926 at the Olympic Auditorium, Sencio once again losing on points over ten rounds. Next time out, at the Auditorium, Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 19 April, Sencio, still looking to fight for the championship, was beaten by Bud Taylor in a ten-round no-decision affair and passed away following the contest, while LaBarba would defend against Georgie Rivers.