1951-07-18 Jersey Joe Walcott w co 7 (15) Ezzard Charles, Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA - NY/NBA

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1951-07-18 Jersey Joe Walcott w co 7 (15) Ezzard Charles, Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA - NY/NBA. Referee: Buck McTiernan. At the age of 37½, Walcott (194) became the oldest man to win a title at any weight for the first time and the oldest heavyweight champion up to that time when knocking out Charles (182) inside 55 seconds of the seventh round. Walcott’s main tactic was to throw right hands over the top of the left lead, followed by a left hook, and in the third he rocked Charles with a couple of cracking rights before having the latter bleeding from cuts around the face after left hooks had got home in the fourth. At this stage of the fight Walcott was getting on top and in the seventh he exploded a left hook to Charles’ jaw that sent him down, flat on his face, to be counted out. Although Charles desperately tried to get to his feet at the count of ‘nine’, he failed and tumbled on to his back in a neutral corner.

At this moment in time the British Boxing Board of Control saw Joe Louis as the champion, but following wins over Cesar Brion and Jimmy Bivins and a defeat at the hands of Rocky Marciano (l rsc 8 on 26 October at Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York), the BBBoC fell into line with the rest of the world. For Louis it was the end of the line and he finally called it a day, thus bring the curtain down on a wonderful 17-year career.

While all this was going on, Clarence Henry had continued his rise up the rankings and at the end of the year was rated by The Ring magazine behind Charles and Marciano, having beaten John Holman, Rusty Payne, Turkey Thompson, Omelio Agramonte (twice), Jimmy Bivins and Bob Baker. In 33 contests Henry had lost just two before reversing them, but after defeating Bob Satterfield he lost to Harold Johnson and then Archie Moore before taking a year away from boxing.

Instead of being a fighting champion, Walcott was prepared to put the championship into cold storage while taking time out for a year. At the heart of the matter was the fact that Walcott had contractually agreed to give Charles a return within 60 days if he won, but was now saying that he would fight Charles in June 1952 and not before. Not sure whether Walcott’s plans were to ignore Charles and take a fight against Marciano or Harry Matthews, the NYSAC issued him with an ultimatum that he accepted the Charles return and file his acceptance by 15 February 1952 or face being stripped. Cocking a snook at the NBA and NYSAC, Walcott challenged them to strip him if they felt that strongly about it. Needless to say that did not happen and at the end of March the fight was made for Philadelphia at the beginning of June.