1941-01-17 Fritzie Zivic w rsc 12 (15) Henry Armstrong, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - NY

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1941-01-17 Fritzie Zivic w rsc 12 (15) Henry Armstrong, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - NY. Referee: Arthur Donovan. Looking to regain his old title, Armstrong (140½) was on the receiving end in all rounds but the third through to the 11th as Zivic (145¾) repeatedly stabbed his fists into the former’s eyes, sent in right uppercuts to the jaw and targeted the body. Armstrong was soon cut over the left eye, then the right before both eyes started to close due to Zivic constantly working the face without let-up. Round after round Armstrong took a battering and at the start of the 11th he was given one final chance to turn things around by a referee who did not want to see him knocked out. For two minutes of that session, Armstrong stirred the memories as he stormed all over Zivic, pounding blows into head and body, but the power had gone and after 52 seconds of the 12th the third man pulled the fighter known as ‘Homicide Hank’ out of the fray when he was recklessly walking into an accurate bombardment and unable to defend himself.

Following on from his win over Armstrong, Zivic’s next four contests were above the weight and after three wins he came a cropper on points over ten rounds against Mike Kaplan at The Garden, Boston, Massachusetts on 18 April. Having got himself to the rank of number one contender in The Ring ratings, Kaplan immediately challenged Zivic to put the title up against him, only to be told that the latter’s next few outings were already contracted. Zivic would be meeting Tony Marteliano, Phil Furr (which ultimately failed to take place) and Al Bummy Davis in non-title fights before making a defence against Freddie Cochrane on 26 May.

However, things did not go to plan. After beating Marteliano in a real humdinger, Zivic was forced to have an operation on his right forearm and things got put back. When fit again, Zivic stopped Davis in the tenth round at the Polo Grounds, Manhattan, NYC on 2 July and then outpointed Johnny Barbara over 12 rounds at The Garden, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 12 July prior to meeting Cochrane, who was not even rated in the top ten. The red-headed Cochrane had lost no fewer than 25 times in his nine years as a pro, but was on a run of nine consecutive victories coming into the fight since losing to Kaplan. For Kaplan, however, there were just seven more fights prior to him retiring in 1942 and enlisting in the Army.