The Fight Between Tom Sayers And Tom Paddock Championship of England Famous Fights Past and Present Newspaper

The Fight Between Tom Sayers And Tom Paddock Championship of England Famous Fights Past and Present Newspaper

The fight between Tom Sayers and Tom Paddock Championship of England, Famous Fights Past and Present Newspaper (16 pages) Vol II - No. 79.

16th June 1858, Canvey Island, Essex, England.
On 16 June 1858, Sayers took on and beat the experienced fighter Tom Paddock on Canvey Island. In the 21st round, Sayers, noting that exhausted Paddock could hardly see and was incapable of defending himself, shook his opponent by the hand and led him back to his corner, prompting Paddock's seconds to "throw up the sponge".


*The Story of the Interesting Battle between Tom Sayers and Tom Paddock.

*The Determined Battle between Paddington Jones and Isaac Bittoon.

*Slashing Fight between Ben Bendoff and Jack Smith, the Paddington Doctor.


*Grand and Stirring Battle Between Alec Keene and Jack Grant.


*Was Jem Mace a Coward?


*Our Portrait Gallery of Present Day Pugilists.
Barney Scannell ("The French Count").

Famous Fights-Past and Present was a weekly sporting newspaper published out of London, England, from March 4, 1901 to 1904, and edited by Harold Furniss. There were a total of 156 issues of a "Police Budget" edition of the newspaper, 16 pages in each. There was also the Shurey's Edition which had 24 pages, with contents reordered.

The newspaper covered the history of bare knuckle boxing, with rare inclusions of gloved fights. It also had a regular section on leading gloved boxers of early 20th century, called "Our portrait gallery of present day pugilists."

Although Harold Furniss is listed as the editor, he couldn't have been the author of the majority of the articles (Furniss was born in 1856, while the lead author mentioned that he had been nineteen years old in 1853). Based on research by John Adcock in Yesterday's Papers, one of the authors was Joseph Frank Bradley, later the editor of The Mirror of Life and Boxing World. Bradley was born in September 1857, so he doesn't fit the details given out by the lead author. Another contributor was W. Willmott Dixon (author of several books, under the pen name Thormanby). He was born on December 17, 1843, so his age doesn't fit the age of the lead author either. In March 1907, the Sporting Life mentioned J. W. Butler as being connected with the Famous Fights.

Many of the stories had previously appeared (albeit shorter and without drawings) in The Illustrated Police Budget, another London weekly newspaper, under the title of "Records of the ring. By an Old-time Sportsman." The last issue of the Famous Fights contained an announcement that the prize fights recollections would be continued in the Illustrated Police Budget, starting with Bishop Sharpe-Bob Hall bout.

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Thomas Sayers, also known as Tom Sayers (25 May 1826 - 8 November 1865), was an English pugilist. During his career as a bare knuckle fighter, at the time illegal, he was only once defeated. At 5 feet 8 inches in height with a fighting weight of under 11 stone, he was the first boxer to be declared the World Heavyweight Champion.

His fighting career lasted from 1849 until 1860, when a match billed as the contest for the "World Championship" ended in disarray. An unprecedented public collection funded his comfortable retirement, but he died only five years later at age 39.

Early Life
Sayers was born in a one bedroom cottage in the deprived slum district of Pimlico, Brighton, the youngest of the five children of James and Maria Sayers. Some listings state the father as 'William Sayers'. James (or William) Sayers was a travelling cobbler. Thomas received a brief education when he entered Middle Street School, Brighton, aged nine years in 1836, though he would remain illiterate all his life. Aged 13, he left home to become an apprentice bricklayer in London where he worked on the new London and North Western Railway Stations of King's Cross and St Pancras.

Sayers' first fight was against an Irish bricklayer colleague, a grudge match caused by the Irishman's dislike of Sayers' jokes.

The night-time fight on Wandsworth Common lasted 2 hours 20 minutes, after which the young Sayers felled the 6'3" Irishman. Sayers chose to fight barefoot, which gave him an advantage in the muddy conditions. His defeated opponent was carried away unconscious to a doctor, who later called the police. To escape arrest, Sayers fled back to Sussex.

His reputation as a fighter was now established. A succession of clandestine boxing matches were subsequently arranged, the outcome of which were heavily wagered upon. At this time he continued with his day job also; he is known to have worked on the London Road Viaduct, which was completed in 1846.

Sayers met a 21-year-old divorcee, Sarah Powell, around 1842. The couple quickly had two children, Thomas and Sarah.

Sayers was devoted to his illegitimate children, but his relationship with Sarah Powell was to cause him distress.

Boxing Career
Tom's serious career as a prizefighter dates from 1849, following which he won battle after battle, his single defeat being at the hands of Nat Langham in October 1853 in his first attempt to become the "Champion of England", in this case middleweight. Langham won the match by concentrating on injuring Sayers's eyes. Despite the match lasting 61 rounds, averaging 90 seconds each, Sayers's undefeated reputation was lost, even though it was much reported at the time that he was suffering the after-effects of a virus. In financial difficulties, he was forced to travel the country in search of any opponent. He was never to be defeated again.

It was during this period of penury that his wife, Sarah Powell, began a relationship with another man. This man is listed as Alfred Aldridge (a hanson-cab driver) by some listings and James Aldridge (a croupier) by others. She continued the affair by blackmailing Sayers, threatening to announce to the World that he had not married her until after the birth of their children.

Sayers was anxious to avoid his children being labelled with what in Victorian times was a stigma, and complied with her wishes, and allowed the affair to continue unhindered.

Sayers eventually achieved the Heavyweight title of England in 1857, defeating William Perry, the Tipton Slasher in a re-organised bout on the Thames estuary. He became the last holder of the title before the introduction of the Queensberry Rules in 1867. However, as boxing at this time was illegal and incomparable with later legalized boxing, the legitimacy of Sayers' use of the title is open to debate.

Sayers was the first English boxer to fight an international match for the nominated 'world title' when he fought American John C. Heenan, "The Benicia Boy", at Farnborough, Hampshire on 17 April 1860. This would be to ignore the claims of a former fight in 1815 between the English champion Tom Cribb and the American Tom Molineux. The American was both taller and 3 stone heavier than Sayers. The match lasted for 37 rounds and 2 hours 20 minutes, but was brought to an untimely close when the Police intervened and the fight-crowd scattered. Early in the fight Sayers right arm was broken, or his right shoulder dislocated, depending on which report is believed.

Either way he fought much of the fight one handed. According to Lord Redesdale, who witnessed the fight, Sayers fought back and inflicted damaging blows on Heenan. Heenan, clearly tiring, was rescued by the American party who broke into the ring. The Police, who had been watching from a distance without attempting to interfere, then broke up what had become an unruly riot. Lord Redesdale in his Memories said: '...five more minutes would have given Tom Sayers a glorious victory'. The contest was subsequently declared a draw. Sayers received a special Silver Championship Belt to commemorate the fight, but was persuaded by friends and patrons to retire. Other accounts, based on eye witness reports give a slightly different version of the match, suggesting police had been trying to battle through the crowd for sometime before the referee declared a draw. However, in spite of the match being officially a draw, Heenan was later acclaimed as the "World Boxing Champion".

Sayers and Heenan became close friends after the fight, touring the country together and staging theatrical re-enactments of their famed fight.In reality, however, Sayers' boxing days were over. Such was his popularity that a public subscription was made for his benefit which raised £3000, given to him on condition he retire from the ring. This vast sum of money, by the standards of the day, was collected in such places as the House of Commons and the Stock Exchange. The collection was tangible evidence of the aristocratic patrons of a sport that was, at that time, illegal. Such leading figures of the British establishment as the Earl of Derby were undoubtedly among Sayers' patrons, who had wagered heavily on the outcome of his fights. Throughout his fighting career, all Sayers' fights took place following "underground" advertising in isolated fields away from the gaze of the authorities.

The year after Sayers's retirement, the "Anti-prize Fight Act of 1861" was passed, which criminalised anyone who even conveyed a member of the public to a fight. The Act virtually eliminated bare-knuckle fighting in England.

Tomb of Thomas Sayers in Highgate Cemetery, with his hound.

Following his retirement, Sayers bought a house in Camden Town where he lived with his sister. He became a familiar figure driving his carriage through the local streets, accompanied by his large bull mastiff, "Lion", a present from his patron Lord Derby. He also shared with Lord Derby a love of horse racing and attended many race meetings with friends such as the artist George Armfield Smith. However, Sayers, uneducated and illiterate, soon succumbed to the temptations that idleness and money can provide. This included investing heavily in a circus that attempted to tour England and Paris. The project was a disaster and Sayers lost most of his money. He began to lead a dissipated life which wrecked his health. Five years after his retirement, he died of diabetes and tuberculosis at the age of 39. Such was his fame that his burial at Highgate Cemetery was attended by ten thousand people. His friends again subscribed for the erection of a large tomb, bearing a statue of his beloved dog.

What remained of his fortune was inherited by his estranged and faithless wife, whom Sayers had never repudiated. By this time, she had three more children by her lover. Sarah won the legal battle for Tom's estate and had her two children with Tom effectively 'cut-off', contrary to Tom's final wishes.

Sayers was elected to the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1954.

He was depicted in the 1944 film Champagne Charlie.

Tom Paddock, born Thomas Paddock (c. 1822, Redditch – 30 June 1863) also known as the Redditch Needlepointer was a champion English bare knuckle boxer in the early Victorian era.[1]

Tom was baptised on 25 August 1822 in Redditch, Worcestershire, England, the son of George Paddock and Elizabeth (née Morris). Brought up on a farm, he was noted to have developed a size and endurance that lasted him well in his career as a boxer.

His professional career in boxing started in 1844; at the time he was just under six feet tall and weighed twelve stone. Between then and 1850 he was largely undefeated in the boxing ring, and gained a reputation not only for his courage but for his foul tactics and uncontrollable temper. It was William Thompson of Nottingham who spoilt his clean record in 1850 in Mildenhall, Suffolk.

In 1851 a fight against Harry Poulson in Belper ended in a riot when both men were jailed. Both served ten months hard labour.

Three years later Paddock challenged both Harry Broome and Bill Perry to a Heavyweight Championship of England bout but both turned it down. Paddock then claimed himself as the Heavyweight Champion of England by default, though this was not generally recognised until 1856 following fifty one rounds in the ring against Harry Broome in Manningtree. However his victory was short lived; he lost the title later the same year to Bill Perry. He twice attempted to regain the title, but was unsuccessful.

Paddock's last fight took place in 1860 against Sam Hurst, for the championship of England. He died of heart disease on 30 June 1863 in Marylebone.