Salford Born Arthur Chambers Former 1872 to 1879 Lightweight Champion of America Original Victorian Newspaper Portrait and Article 1866

Salford Born Arthur Chambers Former 1872 to 1879 Lightweight Champion of America Original Victorian Newspaper Portrait and Article 1866

Salford born Arthur Chambers former 1872 to 1879, lightweight champion of America original Victorian newspaper portrait and article, The Illustrated Sporting News single sheet dated August 11,1866. Measures 15 3/4" x 10 3/4"

The article contained within reads:

ARTHUR CHAMBERS, of Salford, who fought a rattling mill this week with J. Brady in the Manchester district, is a well-built young fellow, of about 20 years of age. He stands 5ft, 4 1/4in, high. The fight on Tuesday was at 8st 4lb. Chambers's first appearance in the P.R. was on the 1st October, 1864, when he defeated Arthur Webber, at Mode Wheel, for £4 a-side, in a battle consisting of twenty rounds, and lasting over thirty five minutes. This success so delighted his friends that they set about trying him with higher game, and a match was got up, for £50, with Edward Evans, of Ardwick. Chambers was taken care of by the celebrated Harry Allen, of Birmingham, and the fight came off on Tuesday, the 7th November, 1865, at Hayle Head, and at the close, after fighting 44 rounds, which lasted 1 hour 30 minutes, Chambers was declared the winner. An account of his fight with Brady on Tuesday will be found elsewhere.

(There is also reference to Jem Mace in his ordinary walking every-day dress, who fought with Goss on Monday last)

In 1846/47, just across the hallowed waters of our beloved River Irwell; long before it was given status as a city, Salford gave birth to a thumping great little boxing character. His name was: Arthur Chambers.

Small in stature but large in heart he had a queer but not unpleasant face and was a much loved member of the local community. It was while he was still quite young that his fistic talents became obvious to everyone. Although his official boxing career didn’t really take off proper until 1864 after he had served in and left the romantic domain of the Royal Navy.

His first paid fights; which were actually illegal at the time, were in Manchester and surrounding districts, including two notable wins at Mode Wheel Locks on the Manchester Ship Canal, and a couple of well remembered battle royals at the Fiddlers Ferry crossing point in Cheshire, and he was lucky in some ways even to be allowed to box there because both these sites were infamous as locations for the old bare knuckle brigade and they didn’t like new comers. But someone must have recognized the potential in him and decided to let him gain a bit of experience by fighting there. Success followed success and soon he was fighting nationwide; and regardless of the size or weight difference between him and his opponents he kayoed almost everyone they put in front of him. But by themselves kudos and respect were not reward enough for the money hungry Arthur.

Finding it inconvenient to be poor, and possessing an extremely agile business mind to match his agile body he couldn’t resist (and who could blame him) the lure of more lucrative paydays offered abroad, so he spread his wings and set off across the ocean for America.

He arrived in the states in 1871, in 1872 after only one year of fighting on foreign soil he fought for and won the lightweight championship of America by defeating the notorious dirty fighter Billy Edwards in 26 rounds. The strange thing about this fight was, although they were fighting for the American title both these men were English, Billy came from Birmingham and of course Arthur came from Salford. And if that’s not strange enough for you, the fight actually took place in Canada! He continued with his winning ways until 1877 when he had the middle finger of his left hand amputated. With his boxing career put on hold indefinitely Arthur didn’t give up hope and managed to stay close to the fight game by taking up refereeing. But he still had fire in his belly and this wasn’t enough for him and two years later he was fighting again and back to his winning ways. Within months, and in what is said to be the greatest lightweight title fight of all time, he won the championship again by defeating the notorious Irish clog-dancing battler John H Clark. The fight was an amazing 136 round marathon match which ended with Clark being disqualified.

When, at the turn of the century and after much deliberation Arthur finally decided to hang his gloves up for good, he purchased a bar in Philadelphia and after injecting vast amounts of cash into the project converted part of it into one of the most successful boxing gyms of the day. And still wishing to keep his finger (not the missing one of course) on the trigger of boxing which was going through some major changes at the time, he continued to contribute to the sport by taking up refereeing again; supplemented by some very lucrative match making activities which in turn led him to become the chief financial backer of his good friend, the legendary: John L Sullivan.

So it comes as no surprise (although it should because business wise it is a direct conflict of interests,) to learn that the great John L actually fought in Chambers’ saloon (against Paddy Ryan,) with Chambers acting as the umpire.

Arthur Chambers died in 1923 and thirty one years later in 1954 he was elected into the Ring Boxing Hall of Fame, although another 46 years had to pass before he was finally inducted into the, International Boxing Hall of Fame.

By Lawrence Yearsley (Boxing Scribe) Historian and Author

Lawrence Yearsley is the author of Boxing Bonanza and Boxing Curiosa both very cleverly written pieces of boxing literature, full of interesting facts and stories collected by the author who is himself a former boxer.

Boxing Bonanza
An anthology of short boxing articles from those the author; Lawrence Yearsley submitted to the Manchester Ex-Boxers Association for inclusion in their monthly newsletter. They are all both interesting and informative, and appeal to boxing and non boxing fans alike. The articles range from the old bare knuckle era right up to the present day. As all boxing fans know, the World of boxing is hugely manifold, and so are these articles. They do not adhere to just one theme and cover a variety of subjects from the origin of the term, ‘Boxing Fan,’ to the low-down on historic boxing venues.

Condition very good (fragile antique newspaper, would look fantastic in period frame)

Price: £85

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Arthur Chambers was a very tough and capable fighter, known for his endurance, and ability to outlast his opponents. Born in Salford, Lancashire, England, on December 6, 1846, and had a fighting career that lasted from 1864 to 1879. Chambers moved to America in 1871 with his wife and daughter, and on September 4, 1872, he won the Lightweight Championship of America when he beat Billy Edwards on a foul, in the 26th round. He retired for two years in 1877, after having a middle finger amputated, but then returned in 1879 to reclaim his American Lightweight championship, after he knocked out John Clark in the 136th round, after an epic contest.

After 1879, Chambers toured America boxing exhibitions, and managed a saloon in Philadelphia called the “Champions Rest.” The saloon, which stood at Ridge Avenue and Wood Street, in the city’s 13th ward, was open from 1875 to 1896, when it was closed down due to Chambers not having a liquor licence.

In his final years, Chambers became estranged from his wife and daughter and lived alone, not far from where his saloon had been. He died on April 8, 1923, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Like many fighters of his time, Arthur Chambers record is incomplete, but his verified record is 12(8 KOs)-1-4, though he most likely had many more fights.

Addition Information
1868 Arthur Chambers vs Ned Evans
This bout was scheduled but not held;
Evans did not show; Chambers received forfeit.

Arthur Chambers Lightweight Championship of America Title Fights:

*Billy Edwards, 1872, September 4, Squirrel Island, Canada (Some sources report "Walpole Island, Canada") Won 26 rounds.

*George Seddons, 1873, August 3, Long Island, New York. Won 39 rounds.

*John Clark, 1879, March 27, Chippewa Falls, Canada.
Some sources report "Black Creek, near Chippewa Falls, Canada". Some sources report 3/29/79.

Won KO round 136