Boxing History - 1900's

The 1900's


Jan 1 - Kid McCoy inaugurates boxing in the 20th century by KOing Peter Maher in five rounds, Coney Island.

Jan 9 - Terry McGovern, the former bantamweight champion and the last man to win a word title in the 19th century, becomes the first to win a world championship in the 20th century, flooring featherweight champion George Dixon eight times and winning the crown when Dixon is unable to come out for the ninth round, New York.

April 6 - James J. Jeffries, in the first heavyweight title fight of the decade, sets a record that last the entire century. An overweight 235 pounds, Jeff floors 185 pound Jack Finnegan four times with four punches in Detroit. The KO comes at just :55 seconds of the first and only round for the quickest KO in a heavyweight title fight.

May 11 - James J. Jeffries KOs James J. Corbett, 23 rounds, Coney Island to retain the heavyweight title.

August 18 - A benefit for John L. Sullivan , now 41 and nearly broke, held at Madison Square Garden, raises $15,000 for the one-time Champion of Champions with James J. Corbett, Bob Fitzsimmons and heavyweight champ James J. Jeffries all boxing exhibitions, Jeffries against the great John L.

August 24 - Bob Fitzsimmons gets up from a first round knockdown to KO Tom Sharkey in two rounds, Coney Island, avenging a disputed loss on a foul to Sharkey in 1896.

August 30 - James J. Corbett KOs Kid McCoy, five rounds, Madison Square Garden. Rumors surface that McCoy took a dive. The question is never satisfactorily answered. The same day the Horton law, governing boxing in New York since 1896, is repealed by the Lewis Law. Boxing will continue in New York on a club membership basis only until 1911.

Dec 14 - Ex-bareknuckle heavyweight champion Paddy Ryan who lost the title to John L. Sullivan in 1892, dies in Green Island, new York.


Feb 18 - Future light heavyweight champion Paul Berlenbach born in New York City.

March 4 - Middleweight champion Tommy Ryan successfully defends his title KOing Tommy West in the 17th round of a bloody brawl at Southern Athletic Club, Lousiville. In 1892 Ryan, then the Welter champ, had stopped West in 14 rounds, his repeat victory gives Ryan the distinction of being the only fighter to defend two different titles against the same challenger in different centuries.

Oct 28 - With featherweight champion Terry McGovern no longer being able to make the weight division limit of 122 pounds. Abe Attell defeats George Dixon in 15 rounds, St. Louis, to stake a claim to the title and is recognized by The Police Gazette as champion, even though McGovern is universally recognized by the public as champion.

Dec 18 - Joe Walcott (the man Jersey Joe Walcott was named after) KOs Rube Ferns, five rounds, International Athletic Club, Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada, to win welterweight title.


May 12 - Joe Gans KOs Johnny Gorman, three rounds, London, to retain middleweight title.

July 25 - James J. Jeffries KOs Bob Fitzsimmons, eight rounds, San Francisco, to retain heavyweight title.

Sept 7 - Bill Squires KOs Peter Mills, two rounds, Narrabi, Australia. The bout is the last recorded with bare knuckles under London Prize Ring Rules.

Oct 28 - Future heavyweight champion Jack Sharkey is born Joseph Paul Cukoschay in Binghampton, New York.

Dec 26 - Battling Nelson, down seven times, floors Christy Williams 42 times, finally KOing him in 17 rounds, Hot Springs, Ark. The 49 total knockdowns remains and all-time record for a single bout.


Feb 3 - Jack Johnson defeats Ed Martin, 20 rounds, Los Angeles, to win Negro heavyweight title.

July 4 - George Gardner KOs Jack Root, 12 rounds, Ontario, Canada, to win recognition as light heavyweight champion.

Aug 14 - James J. Jeffries KOs James J. Corbett, 10 rounds, San Francisco, to retain heavyweight title.

Nov 25 - Bob Fitzsimmons defeats George Gardner, 20 rounds, San Francisco, to win light heavyweight title. Fitzsimmons, previously middleweight and heavyweight champ, becomes boxing's first triple champ.

Dec 8 - Sam Langford defeats Joe Gans, 15 rounds, Boston, non-title.


Feb 1 - Abe Atell KOs Harry Forges, five rounds, St. Louis, to retain claim to featherweight title.

April 30 - In a fight that welterweight champion Joe Walcott appears to be winning easily, referee Jim (Duck) Sullivan declares the Dixie Kid winner on foul, 20 rounds, San Francisco. Later it was found that Sullivan had bet on Kid. When Kid outgrows division, Walcott reclaims the title.

June 1 - Young Gardner KOs Charley Goldman, 42 rounds, New York, the bout is Goldman's pro debut. In later years Goldman will earn fame as trainer to Rocky Marciano.

Sept 30 - Joe Walcott and Joe Gans fight to a draw, 20 rounds, San Francisco. Despite suffering a broken left elbow, Walcott retains welter title although many at ringside judged Gans the winner.

Oct 31 - Joe Gans wins on foul over Jimmy Britt, five rounds, San Francisco, to retain lightweight title. A month later Gans, saying he no longer can make the weight, gives up the title.

Nov 29 - Battling Nelson stops Young Corbett II, 10 rounds, San Francisco.


March 28 - Marvin Hart takes disputed 20 round decision from Jack Johnson, San Francisco.

May 2 - While appearing onstage as "Davy Crockett:, heavyweight champion James J. Jeffries announces his retirement from boxing.

July 3 - Marvin Hart, saved by bell ending round seven, KOs former light heavy champ Jack Root, 12 rounds, Reno, to claim vacant heavyweight title.

Sept 28 - Future heavyweight champion Max Schmeling born in Brandenburg, Germany.

Nov 25 - Joe Jeanette defeats Jack Johnson on foul, two rounds, Philadelphia. the loss will be Johnson's last until 1915.

Dec 20 - Philadelphia's Jack O'Brien stops Bob Fitzsimmons, 14 rounds, San Francisco, to win light heavyweight title.


Feb 23 - Tommy Burns defeats Marvin Hart, 20 rounds, Los Angeles, to win heavyweight title.

March 14 - Jack Johnson defeats Joe Jeannette, 15 rounds, Baltimore.

April 26 - Jack Johnson defeats Sam Langford, 15 rounds, Chelsea, Mass. Langford outweighed by Johnson 185 to 158, gets off the deck twice to give Johnson one of the toughest fights of his career.

June 7 - Future heavyweight champion James J. Braddock is born in New York City.

Sept 3 - Joe Gans defeats Battling Nelson on foul, 42 rounds, Goldfield, Nevada, to regain lightweight title. The bout represents Tex Rickard's promotional debut.

Oct 26 - Future heavyweight champion Primo Carnera is born in Sequals, Italy.

Nov 28 - Tommy Burns draws with Philadelphia jack O'Brien, 20 rounds, Los Angeles, to retain heavyweight title.


Jan 1 - Joe Gans KOs Kid Herman eight rounds, Nevada, to retain lightweight title.

April 23 - Mike (Twin) Sullivan defeats Honey Mellody, 20 rounds, Los Angeles. Despite being over the weight limit, Sullivan claims welterweight title

Sept 2 - In one of boxing's epics, Stanley Ketchel, floored in the 27th and badly battered, comes back to floor Joe Thomas three times before finally knocking him out, 32 rounds, Colma, California.

Sept 7 - In the only 45 round bout to go the distance, middleweights Montana Jack Sullivan and Nat Dewey fight to a draw, Crawford, Neb.

Nov 12 - Sam Langford defeats Young Peter Jackson, 20 rounds, Los Angeles.


Jan 1 - In one of the greatest battles in that division's history. Abe Attell defends his featherweight title in 25 round draw with Owen Moran, Colma, Calif.

March 31 - Abe Attell and Battling Nelson battle to a draw, 15 rounds, San Francisco.

July 4 - Battling Nelson KOs Joe Gans, 17 rounds, colma, Calif, to win lightweight title

Sept 1 - Tommy Burns KOs Bill Lang, 6 rounds, Melbourne. The knockout is Burns' eight consecutive in heavyweight title defense, a record tied by Larry Holmes in 1981 but still unbroken.

Nov 1 - George Carpentier, just 14 years old, fights in his first recorded pro bout winning on foul over Ed Salmon, 13 rounds, Mais-Laffitte, France.

Dec 21 - Sam Langford KOs Fireman Jim Flynn, one round, San Francisco.

Dec 26 - Jack Johnson becomes first African-American to win the heavyweight title when he stops Tommy Burns, 14 rounds, Sydney.


Feb 11 - Future heavyweight champion Max Baer is born, Omaha, Neb

March 26 - Stanley Ketchel fights 10 rounds, no decision with Philadelphia Jack O'Brien., new York. At the final bell, O'Brien is out cold, his head resting in the resin box in his own corner.

April 17 - In the longest fight of the 20th century, Joe Jeannette and Sam McVey, two veteran black heavyweights, battle to finish in Paris. Jeannette wins when McVey is unable to come out for round 50.

June 19 - Monte Attell KOs Frankie Neil, 18 rounds, Colma, Calif. to win vacant bantamweight title. Monte's older brother is featherweight champion Abe Attell, making the Attells the first brothers to hold boxing titles at the same time.

Oct 16 - Jack Johnson, floored in 12th round by Stanley Ketchel, gets up, then flattens the middleweight champion to retain his heavyweight title, Colma, Calif. Afterwards, Ketchel's two front teeth are found embedded in Johnson's right glove.

Dec 27 - Bill Lang KOs Bob Fitzsimmons, 12 rounds, Sydney, to retain Australian heavyweight title. The 46 year old Fitzsimmons had been winning the fight when Lang, baldy cut over the left eye, rallied for the KO.