Did you Know?

On April 17, 1909 in Paris, France Joe Jeannette and Sam McVey met in a bout that lasted three-and-a-half-hours, and 49 rounds, which is possibly one of the longest boxing matches of the twentieth century. McVey made a good start knocking down Jeannette 27 times. Jeannette eventually took control and put McVey down 19 times and after the 49th round McVey was unable to come off his stool and Jeannette was declared the winner.

Dennis Adams never lost his Empire flyweight championship in the ring. Adams lost the title on May 31, 1961 when South Africa became a republic outside the British Commonwealth and her boxers were then no longer eligible to hold Commonwealth titles.

Roberto Duran turned professional at the age of sixteen in February 1968 and had his last fight in July 2001. He won world titles in four weight classes and finished with a record of 103 wins, 70 inside the distance and 16 losses.

World bantamweight champion Vic Toweel holds the record for the most number of knock downs in a world title fight. On December 2, 1950 at the Wembley Stadium in Johannesburg, challenger Danny O’Sullivan from England was dropped 20 times with 14 counts before referee Ted Benjamin stopped the fight in the tenth round.

The international heavyweight title fight between South African heavyweight champion Johnny Ralph and world light heavyweight champion Freddie Mills of England at the Wembley Stadium, Johannesburg on November 6, 1948 attracted a crowd in the region of 40 000 and a record paid gate of R85 000.

South Africa’s first two Olympic gold medal winners – Clarence Walker and Willie Smith and the first three world professional champions, Willie Smith, Vic Toweel and Arnold Taylor were all bantamweights.

At the age of 16 Gerald Dreyer won five amateur titles in eight weeks including the senior Transvaal lightweight championship - and this despite his tender age and the fact that he was only a fraction over the featherweight limit. A year later he won the national senior lightweight title and subsequently went on to win a gold medal in the lightweight class at the Olympic Games in London in 1948. As a professional he would win the South African lightweight and British Empire welterweight titles.

Max Gornik, an Australian of limited ability is best remembered for the unusual result of his fight with Charlie Smith in the Johannesburg City Hall on January 15, 1927. The fight started late in the evening and the boxers were in the 14th round when the clock struck midnight. Board of Control member Ludwig Japhet pointed out to Tiny Dean that they would be infringing the Sunday Observance Act if the bout continued. “The clock’s fast” Dean argued. But unfortunately for him the Post Office clock could be heard chiming in the distance and Japhet refused to budge. The bout was stopped and although Smith was ahead on points, the result was announced as a 14-round draw.