Joe Louis vs Tommy Farr heavyweight World title original vintage 1937 fight film 12" x 19" poster, 30th August 1937, Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York.
Louis W unanimous decision over 15 rounds
Joe Louis vs Tommy Farr - Highlights
Joseph Louis Barrow, the legendary "Brown Bomber," is considered by many to be the finest heavyweight champion in the history of boxing. He held the World's heavyweight title from June 22, 1937 until June 25, 1948 and made a division-record 25 successful title defences.
Born in Alabama, Louis moved to Detroit as a child and began boxing at the Brewster Recreation Center. In his first amateur bout, Louis was knocked down seven times. But he improved rapidly. He captured the 1934 National AAU light heavyweight crown and turned pro later that year.
Louis won his first 27 fights, 23 by knockout, beating the likes of former heavyweight champions Primo Carnera and Max Baer and contenders Paolino Uzcudun and Natie Brown. But in his 28th fight, Louis met defeat. He faced another former heavyweight champ, Max Schmeling at Yankee Stadium, and was knocked out in the 12th round.
Louis rebounded from the defeat and won seven straight bouts -- including victories over Jack Sharkey and Bob Pastor -- to earn a shot at the heavyweight title. Louis faced champion James J. Braddock on June 22, 1937 in Chicago's Comiskey Park. Although he was dropped early in the bout, Louis rose from the canvas to score an eighth-round knockout. He became the first African American to win the heavyweight title since Jack Johnson in 1908.
Louis possessed an excellent jab and power in both hands. His right cross was as devastating as his left hook. His punches were so compact that some in the media claimed a Joe Louis punch need only to travel six inches to render an opponent unconscious.
After winning the crown, Louis began piling up defences. He dispatched contender after contender with such ease that his opponents were said to make up "The Bum of the Month Club." Along with Louis' success came tremendous popularity. He was widely respected by Americans of all color. He won the title a decade before Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier and later would put his career on hold to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II. Reporter Jimmy Cannon once wrote that, "Louis was a credit to his race ... the human race."
While Louis generated countless highlights, he is widely remembered most for his 1938 rematch with Schmeling. The boxing public admired Louis for risking his crown against a man who, just two years earlier, had knocked him out. But because Schmeling was from Germany, the bout took on a broader meaning. The media inaccurately portrayed Schmeling as a Nazi and painted Louis as a symbol for the rest of the free World. The rematch, also at Yankee Stadium, was over fast as Louis scored a devastating first-round knockout.
In another one of his most memorable bouts, Louis took on light heavyweight champion Billy Conn on June 18, 1941 at the Polo Grounds in New York. Conn, a masterful boxer, was ahead on the scorecards after 12 rounds. But miraculously, Louis scored a 13th-round knockout to save his title. After the war, during which Conn served in the Navy, they met again and Louis scored an eighth-round knockout.
In 1947, Louis was dropped twice by Jersey Joe Walcott but managed to hang onto the title by a controversial split decision. The end was nearing for the great champion and shortly after he knocked Walcott out in a rematch, he announced his retirement.
In 1950, at the age of 36, Louis returned to the ring to challenge heavyweight champion Ezzard Charles but lost a 15-round decision. He fought nine more times over the next year, beating the likes of Lee Savold and Jimmy Bivins but announced his permanent retirement when Rocky Marciano knocked him out on October 26, 1951.
Thomas George Farr (12 March 1913 – 1 March 1986) was one of the most famous Welsh and British boxers of all time. Born in Clydach Vale, Wales and nicknamed "The Tonypandy Terror", he became British and Empire heavyweight champion on 15 March 1937. Prior to 1936, he had boxed in the light heavyweight division in which he was the Welsh champion.
World Title Fight vs Joe Louis
On 30 August 1937, he fought World heavyweight champion Joe Louis at the height of his career at Yankee Stadium, New York City; he gained respect despite losing a controversial points decision after 15 rounds. Louis, one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, had knocked out 8 of his previous 9 opponents and proceeded to knock out his next 7, but was fearlessly attacked and hurt by Farr. The 50,000 crowd booed when Louis was awarded a narrow points decision.
After the Louis fight, Farr was unsuccessful in several contests at Madison Square Garden, New York. He returned to the UK early in 1939, enjoying a run of victories that year. He retired in 1940, but personal tragedies saw him lose his fortune and he ended up bankrupt, having to return to the ring at the age of 36 to make a living. Farr later ran a pub in Brighton, Sussex after retiring, and died on St. David's Day, 1986, aged 72.
A musical based on Farr's career, Contender, was composed by Mal Pope and premiered at the United Nations building in New York, followed by a season at Swansea's Grand Theatre. A theme of the musical is that Farr's lack of success in the USA resulted wholly from his refusal to co-operate with fight-fixing mobsters and bookmakers.