1951-03-14 Johnny Bratton w pts 15 Charley Fusari, The Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, USA - NBA

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1951-03-14 Johnny Bratton w pts 15 Charlie Fusari, The Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, USA - NBA. Referee: Tommy Gilmore. Scorecards: 77-73, 78-72, 74-76. Contesting the vacant NBA title, Bratton (146¼) was the first to show when cutting Fusari (146¼) over the left eye in the first round and opening up with vicious two-handed attacks to push the latter back. Thus it came as no surprise when he dropped Fusari for ‘four’ after smashing in a heavy right to the jaw in the fourth. In the seventh Fusari’s eye damage worsened and gave cause for concern from thereon, and although he was gradually putting that to one side he was sent crashing by a savage left hook followed by a right cross in the tenth and barely made it up in time. After the tenth it became apparent that Bratton, who was certainly the bigger puncher of the two, was now carrying an injury to his right arm and he boxed the remainder of the contest with the sole use of his left hand. Never one to miss an opportunity, Fusari came right back into the fight when winning three and drawing two of the final five sessions, but it wasn’t enough and Bratton’s earlier good work, as far as two of the judges were concerned, entitled him to the verdict.

With Bratton due to meet Kid Gavilan to decide the title, the American plan was then to match the winner of that fight with Eddie Thomas, the British, British Empire and European champion, some three months later. This was followed by the BBBoC writing immediately to the NBA and NYSAC stating that they would not countenance Thomas being included in any eliminators and demanded that he be given a straight crack at the vacant title.

Meanwhile, Robinson insisted that he was still champion and would be defending his title in London against Thomas in July. Unfortunately for Thomas that became academic when he lost his European title to Charles Humez at the Coney Beach Arena, Porthcawl, Wales on 13 June and Robinson stayed among the middles.