1946-04-29 Tippy Larkin w pts 12 Willie Joyce, The Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, USA - NBA/NY

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1946-04-29 Tippy Larkin w pts 12 Willie Joyce, The Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, USA - NBA/NY. Referee: Johnny Martin. Sponsored by the Massachusetts Boxing Commission who provided the belt, and supported by the NBA and NYSAC, the weight class made another comeback with Larkin (139½) and Joyce (138¼) contesting the vacant title. Fought at a terrific pace, both men started well, but when Larkin was dropped three times for counts of ‘eight’ in the third round it looked like it was all over. Realising that he had been taking too many risks Larkin went back to his boxing, stabbing the all-action Joyce (138¼) to the head with stinging lefts and smashing in short rights to the jaw, while the latter was unable to repeat his exploits of the third round. Coming into the 11th it was still anybody’s fight, but with Larkin impressing the judges more he was the one who picked up the unanimous decision.

According to press reports, Larkin was contracted to defend the title in California against Cleo Shans on 12 August. However, for whatever reason, when that fell through he was matched to meet Joyce in a return contest.