1952-01-26 Vic Toweel w pts 15 Peter Keenan, Rand Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa - WORLD

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1952-01-26 Vic Toweel w pts 15 Peter Keenan, Rand Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa - WORLD. Referee: Cyril Baynes. Keenan (117½) was expected to be the champion’s stiffest test to date, but he went the same way as the others when losing by a unanimous decision. The little Scot was unable to cope with the aggressive Toweel (116¾), who swarmed all over him from the start and walked through the punches to land blows from every conceivable angle. Cut over the left eye, Keenan was dropped four times, in what was reported as a one-sided battle, but held out until the final bell.

After taking time out to defend his South African featherweight title against Tony Lombard on 24 March, it was announced in early May that Toweel would be defending the title against Jimmy Carruthers, ranked at number two in The Ring magazine, on 4 October in Johannesburg.

Keenan was still Toweel’s leading challenger according to the magazine, but after losing his European title to Jean Sneyers on a fifth-round knockout at Firhill Park, Glasgow, Scotland on 21 May, the latter took over his world number-one ranking. However, exactly a month later Sneyers lost to Gaetano Annaloro and with increasing weight problems he was forced to relinquish the European title and move up a division. Sneyers had now been ranked number one in two weight classes without ever getting a crack at the world title.

Meantime, Toweel took in three more non-title bouts, against two Paris-based Frenchmen, Theo Medina and Georges Mousse (twice), before preparing for the Australian southpaw who arrived early in order to acclimatise. Unfortunately, only days before the fight was due to take place Toweel was found to be suffering from double vision and was ordered by the doctors that he should rest for a month at least.

With the fight now re-scheduled, Carruthers, who had already been in South Africa for six weeks, would just have to wait. A quarter-finalist in the 1948 Olympic Games, where he withdrew through injury, Carruthers had an awkward style to fathom, and with a powerful punch in both hands he was unbeaten in 14 bouts.