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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ned O'Baldwin

1863-10-24 Bell's Life In London, And Sporting Chronicle (London, UK) (page 7)

The long-pending match, for £50 a side, between Andrew Marsden of Nottingham and O'Baldwin (Tom Cooper's Big-un) of Birmingham was decided on Wednesday on the borders of Buckinghamshire, where the fight between Dan Morris and Smith (brother of the Regent-street Pet) took place some years back. The match was imagined to be one of more than ordinary interest from the circumstance of its being expected to furnish a fresh candidate for the Champion's Belt. Of this, however, more anon. It had been originally fixed to come off on Cesarewitch day, but was deferred in consequence of that event. Neither of the men had ever before placed his standard in the fistic field, and, consequently, expectation was on the tiptoe as to whether the issue would bring an infusion of new blood and a "coming man" for our British boxing trophy.

Marsden was bred up on the banks of the Trent with the Caunts, the Bendigos, and the Harry Poulsons--so that the soil from which he sprung may at all events be considered good enough. He is a magnificently-framed man, 6ft 1½ in in altitude, with a fine prominent chest, well-developed muscular shoulders and proportionately good loins, an eye as piercing and as bright as an eaglet's, and a pleasing countenance, indicating the essence of natural robust health. He is 26 years old, and weighed 13st 10lb the day previous at his training quarters, the Five Bells, Finchley. If anything, he was a shade too big, as some of his upper muscles lacked the necessary firmness and tension. Baldwin is the same colossal specimen of humanity that Nat Langham (one of the "Oxford Martyrs") advertised might be seen at his drum, the Mitre, St Martin's-lane, as a future candidate for the Championship. He was born in Lismore, County Waterford, and is a young giant of 23 years old, stands 6ft 7in, and pulled down the beam on the eve of the present meeting at 14st 3lb. Unlike his antagonist, he looked tall, lanky, and unwieldy, and as if he had overgrown his strength and wanted the bone and sinews of a Saxon heritage to make up for the scanty living amidst the bogs of ould Ireland. He has a sinister look, deep-sunken optics, and a lose and lounging gait, lolling his long arms about in most ungainly fashion. After being put through the mill at Nat Langham's and proving a chopping block for Jem Dillon, Job Cobley, Bob Webb, and the rest of the Mitre troupe, he was given up as a rank weed in the garden of pugilism. Not so thought Mr Cooper, of Birmingham, who kindly took him in hand, replenished the old, tattered grey frieze habilaments, and put him into training with Ben Garrington, a Birmingham ped, at The Dog, Whittington Heath, Lichfield. He took up quarters in town at W. Richardson's, Blue Anchor, Church-street, Shoreditch; while Marsden held his levees at Bob Travers's, Sun and Thirteen Cantons, Castle-street, Leicestersquare. When the ring had been formed, 6 to 4 was laid out on the Nottinghamshire representative, who laid an even tenner with his antagonist.


Round 1. The men entered the ring at ten minutes past nine o'clock. Marsden's colours were a white ground and light blue border; purple and orange stripe for Erin-go-Bragh. On crossing hands both began to spar, but Baldwin betrayed no proper notion of his work; he moved dully, and strongly contrasted in action to the springy alertness and rapid passes made by Marsden, who moved gaily and confidently as he measured his towering adversary, and waited for a moment or so for an opening. This right speedily came, for the Irishman's left being out of distance, Marsden dashed in with a terrific spank on the mark, which resounded again all over the ring, and must sadly have interfered with Baldwin's digestive organs. Without further waiting, Andrew delivered his right with stinging severity on the left glistener, inflicting a deep gash, and the claret began to flow freely. The blow completely settled the business, for Baldwin gave way to it, and fell like an unwieldly lump of lead to the ground near Andrew's corner. On being carried to his own it was quite clear that he had no desire to persevere.

Round 2.--The Irish giant was forced up very reluctantly, and looked everywhere for a loophole to escape. After a feint Marsden got nicely within range, let fly a smasher with his right direct from the shoulder, and toppled down Tom Cooper's Big-un and "all his greatness" in a most unmistakable manner. When the cumbrous Hibernian had been carried to his corner he looked most pitiably at his seconds, and seemed to be begging for leave to cut it.

3. When again forced up Baldwin retreated, as he saw Marsden coming, to one of the middle stakes, and never made the slightest attempt to act on the defensive. Marsden tried to rouse him by a dinger with the left in the ribs. The charm most signally failed; paraphrasing the old nursery rhyme,

"Not all the king's horses and all the king's men
 Could get Baldwin and Andrew together again."

Marsden, determined to put an end to the burlesque, now accomplished his maiden coup d’├ętat by such an energetic delivery with his right on the old sore on the left pepper that the Irishman rolled heavily to the green sward in a thorough state of helplessness, and the sponge was thrown up for him in token of defeat.


Unfortunately this affair, which only lasted three and a half minutes, afforded no opportunity of testing the skill, lasting powers, or endurance of the Nottinghamshire aspirant. He appears to be a hard, telling hitter with both hands, and deported himself, for a mere novice, in a most promising manner. His pretensions, however, are yet shrouded in mystery, and it may be that they will be called into question ere the dawn of another season. As to O'Baldwin, it is evident he was born to be a lamp-lighter, and the sooner he obtains an appointment in that calling the better. He should never have been permitted to enter the P. R., for any office in which he is utterly unfit. He has not even substance enough to be split into two stakes for the inner ring. The money is to be handed to Marsden at Bob Travers's, Sun and Thirteen Cantons, Castle-street, on Thursday evening.

1866-02-25 Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper (London, UK) (page 5)

A prize fight that was looked forward to by the sporting world with a great deal of interest came off on Monday under the difficulties that usually attend this class of gathering. The interest manifested in this meeting arose from the fact of the belligerents being men of larger stature than any two men that ever entered the ring--the one, Edward O'Baldwin, standing six feet seven inches high; and the other, George Iles, six feet one and a half inch. O'Baldwin, who is twenty-three years of age, was born at Lismore, in the county of Waterford, and weighed 14st. 7lb.; he fought in 1863 with Andrew Marsden, Nottinham man, by whom he was easily defeated. Iles was born at Bristol, and in his 26th year. His weight was 12st. He contended in 1863 with Joe Wormald, and was beaten after a most determined fight of two hours and six minutes. It will thus be seen that there is exactly 5½ inches difference in the height of these men, and in their weights a difference of 2st. 7lbs. Notwithstanding this disparity however in favour of O'Baldwin it was generally thought, from the fact of his having been so easily thrashed by Marsden, that Iles was the better man of the two, possessing more science and powers of endurance. But the result on Monday's contest has not alone entirely changed opinion as to the abilities of O'Baldwin, but has earned for him the sobriquet of the "coming man for the belt." With the view, then, of witnessing a contest similar (so far as the disparity in the statures of the belligerents was concerned) to that which earned for the deceased Tom Sayers such universal admiration) a goodly sprinkling of gentlemen, and a very large number of their attendant followers, met, pursuant to the "tip," at Waterloo station a little before six o'clock in the morning, and "booked for Fleetpond" by the 6:15 train. The men were backed for a great deal of money--nominally they were to fight for 50l. a side. Eventually the ring was set up about a mile from Weybridge, and the toss for corners being won by O'Baldwin, he selected the eastern corner, with his back to the sun, which gave him also the advantage of higher ground.

O'Baldwin, in his white flannel drawers, tastefully trimmed with light blue ribbon, was the first to advance to the centre of the ring. His great height and long reach necessarily gave him the appearance of a very formidable opponent; but, with these exceptions, he appeared to be in anything but what is called "good condition." He is by no means a muscular man; on the contrary, his arms are remarkably thin. Not so with Iles, who a moment afterwards advanced to meet his antagonist. He is altogether a thick-set man, and, judging from his appearance, appeared to be in a condition to endure any thrashing he might meet with. Notwithstanding this, however, the betting, if anything, was rather in favour of O'Baldwin. Having shaken hands they opened the contest by carefully sparring and eyeing each other for nearly two minutes, when Iles made a feint, and attempted to "deliver" his left hand, but instantly retreated towards his corner, and almost at the same time he sprang forward, making a second feint, and then tried by rather dexterous feinting to turn his opponent's face to the sun. In this he partly succeeded, and availed himself of the opportunity to deliver a very sharp blow on his chest, leaving the red impression of his knuckles. The first blow was greeted by the backers of Iles with loud cheers, mingled with ironical remarks about O'Baldwin, who, however, totally regardless of the jeers, maintained his guard for fully two minutes, and then delivered his left hand, but Iles guarded a terrific blow that would have struck him to the ground. The sparring was continued, and a few sharp blows were rapidly exchanged for some time, but ultimately Iles struck out with his left hand, and gave his antagonist a rather heavy blow in the face, drawing the "first blood." About this moment a cry of "The police!" was raised, which appeared to stimulate the men to more determined action; but the referee instantly called upon them to desist, and the ropes were struck. This, the first and only round, lasted seven minutes. The whole party then returned to London, and thence down by the London, Tilbury, and Southend railway some twenty miles, where they, after crossing the Thames, resumed and succeeded in finishing the contest without interruption.

Everything having for the second time been proclaimed "ready," O'Baldwin was again the first to advance to the centre, but was quickly encountered by Iles. They at once put themselves into action, resuming their cautious sparring with expressions of the utmost determination. After walking round the ring two or three times O'Baldwin struck Iles a terrific blow on the right ribs. This evidently caused Iles some uneasiness, as he slowly retreated with the evident object of recovering himself, but in an instant afterwards he advanced and aimed a terrific blow at O'Baldwin's head, but with an activity that would characterise a ten-stone man he bent his head forward and received it upon his right shoulder. Again they resumed their sparring, following each other round the ring several times. This continued for fully ten minutes, when one of the sponge-holders declared his inability to wipe away the blood, there being at this time scarcely a mark upon either of the men. Still the sparring continued, each man watching his opportunity for delivering a blow. But from the disposition manifested by Iles, O'Baldwin found it difficult to close. He kept leading him round the ring--now returning towards his corner--now advancing and making feints, that served only to exasperate his second, who by all the "gentle persuasion" possible implored him to "go in and finish him." Iles was perfectly indifferent to this persuasion, as he was also to the ironical remarks lavished upon him by the O'Baldwin's backers. They persisted "that the six footer was of no use; that "he was merely a mechanic and ought to have stuck to his hammer." In the midst of the hubbub which these and counter-shouts created, O'Baldwin struck Iles with his left hand on the face with sufficient violence to completely rip his lip open and cover his face with blood. Iles sharply returned the blow, striking O'Baldwin on the cheek, drawing blood. They then struck sharply at each other, succeeding in landing their aims with telling effect. This hurried exchange of blows was brought to a momentary close by O'Baldwin striking Iles right in the face, completely knocking him off his legs, but, recovering himself with smart activity, he struck O'Baldwin a blow on the chest that echoed with a sickly thud round the ring. This appeared somewhat to arouse the temper of O'Baldwin, who followed Iles closely round the ring, striking him every now and then terrific blows directly in the face and nose and mouth, and ultimately it was difficult to discern a single feature of Iles, whose face and chest were literally covered with blood, and who was ultimately knocked into the ropes with fearful violence, which brought the second round to a close after 34½ minutes.

He came up pluckily in the third round, amidst the cries of "Take him away; O'Baldwin will kill him." He first of all sought to obtain the rest which "time" would not admit by keeping his adversary at bay. O'Baldwin, however, seemed at this time simply to show what his science and physical powers were, and, watching his opportunity, he sent his left hand forward, and struck Iles on the left eye with such violence that fairly closed it up. Iles still maintained his ground, and by a series of feints managed to lead his adversary directly before the sun. But O'Baldwin, evidently aware of this, followed him up very closely, and, losing no time, struck a blow on his nose that seemed to shake his entire frame. This was succeeded by more sparring; but O'Baldwin, after a few minutes, caught his adversary an awful blow on the left eye, and he fell into the ropes perfectly helpless. He was carried to his corner, and not answering to "time" O'Baldwin was proclaimed the victor, after fighting three rounds in fifty-seven minutes. The moment the victory was proclaimed the victor sprang clearly over the ropes perfectly unpunished, while Iles was being tended by his seconds in his corner.--Morning Herald.

1866-09-30 Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper (London, UK) (page 12)
Disgraceful Scene at a Prize Fight.--A fight between a man named O'Baldwin, who, in pugilistic circles, is known as the "Irish giant," and a Nottingham man named Marsden, for 100l. a side, took place on Tuesday, on the borders of Hungtingdonshire. After fighting for some time the advantage rested with O'Baldwin; but the ropes and stakes were then pulled up, and the Nottingham partisans rushed into the ring, declaring that their man had been foully used. At this moment the greatest excitement and hubbub prevailed, whereupon the referee left his seat. On arriving in London, he gave his decision in favour of O'Baldwin.

The P. R. Championship.--A match has been made between the giant, O'Baldwin, and a man to be named by Jem Mace, to fight for the belt and 200l. a side. The men staked 5l. a side, and are to meet at Bell's Life office on Thursday next, between twelve and two, to draw up articles, when Mace must be prepared to name his man. O'Baldwin informs Joe Wormald that should Mace back out of this match, Joe shall have the next chance, according to his challenge, for 200l. or 500l. a side.

1867-04-29 The Edinburgh Evening Courant (Edinburgh, UK) (page 3)
The Fight for the Championship--A Disappointment--The fight between Wormald and O'Baldwin for £100 and the belt was to have come off on Saturday morning but did not. A special train was prepared to start from the South Eastern Railway Station at London Bridge and did start with a large number of passengers. Wormald went down by it, after a very narrow escape from the police. His antagonist (O'Baldwin) however, after driving up to the station, had his horse turned in another direction, and it was understood that he was to join the special somewhere down the line. This, however, either from accident or intentionally he did not do, and the fight has not taken place. The Sporting Life in a special edition published on Saturday afternoon says--Immediately after the return a meeting was held at the office of the stakeholder and it is a foregone conclusion that Wormald will be awarded the stakes--£100--the bets being void. As in the case of Sayers and Heenan, the championship and belt will remain in abeyance as according to the conditions there must be a battle fought and won for its possession. It is added in a postscript--Just as we are going to press he learn that O'Baldwin missed his train at London Bridge and went to Clapham whence he hooked to Farnborough.

1867-05-03 The Edinburgh Evening Courant (Edinburgh, UK) (page 3)
The Dispute for the Championship--The decision of Mr. Smith, the gentleman appointed as referee in the fight that was to have taken place on Saturday morning between O'Baldwin and Wormald has given great dissatisfaction alike to O'Baldwin and his backers. They maintain that O'Baldwin meant fighting and that the meeting between him and his antagonist was solely the result of accident, but finding that they could not get the decision rescinded the backers of O'Baldwin served the proprietor of the paper (Bell's Life) with a writ to reimburse their £200. The legal effort, however, proved equally ineffectual in eliciting a satisfactory response, and it was consequently resolved to make an appeal to the belt holder to rescind the decision of the referee. The meeting was held yesterday afternoon at Bell's Life office, and O'Baldwin was represented by gentlemen patrons of the ring, who showed cause by the bye-laws, that the referee's decision was a wrong one. A long discussion took place and it was finally agreed that the statement should be conveyed to the stakeholder who was not present, and so the matter remains in status quo.