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Saturday, March 26, 2011

1884-03-26 Charley Mitchell D-PTS4 Jake Kilrain [Institute Fair Building, Boston, MA, USA]

1884-03-27 Boston Daily Advertiser (Boston, MA) (page 8)

A crowd of about 5000, including representatives from all classes of society, gathered in the Institute Building last evening to witness the sparring match between Charles Mitchell, the champion heavy weight of England, and John Kilrain of this city, the champion middle weight of New England. Previous to this match the gloves were put on first between Johnny Murphy and Joe Clark, both of this city, in which the latter came off best, also between Tom Bates of London and John Connolly of Boston, in which the latter had the advantage. In the rounds between young McManus of Lowell and Mike Dyer of this city some lively work was done, the latter apparently showing the most skill. In the contests between Billy Frazer of Boston and Denny Costigan of Providence, and between Charley Norton of Newark, N. J., and young Nixey of London, the former in both instances were entitled to the honors. The rounds between Mitchell and Kilrain were fought with gloves which were but an apology for soft gloves, and some very lively work was done on both sides, Kilrain having the advantage. Among those present were Aldermen McDonald, Nugent, Whitten, Leighton and Pray, and Councilmen Lee, Fraser, Blume and Killduff, and many members of the Crib and Somerset clubs.

1884-03-27 Boston Morning Journal (Boston, MA) (page 3)
Boxing Witnessed by 5000 Men.

About 5000 men, representing the extremes of Boston's social life, assembled last evening in the upper hall of the Institute Fair Building to witness a series of boxing contests. The wind-up, and that which was the principal attraction, was a battle between Charles Mitchell, the heavy-weight champion of England, and John Kilrain, the middle-weight champion of New England. The sympathies of the audience were evidently with the American. The first round they both were cautious, feeling each other out; the second round the Englishman got rather the worst of it, the friends of Kilrain shouting themselves hoarse; the third round was tame, and the fourth was not much better; Kilrain fell once, and it was decidedly a drawn battle, and a tame affair to what had been expected.

1884-03-27 The Boston Daily Globe (Boston, MA) (page 1)
Kilrain and Mitchell Spar to a Draw.
All of Boston's Sporting Men on Hand, with Many from Out of Town.
Battles of the Gloves by Many Scientific Boxers.
"Show your tickets, gentlemen, and tear off your coupons!" piped the boy in uniform who was perched over the narrow entrance to the hall of the Institute building last night to the pushing, jostling crowd that thronged in to witness the debut of Boston's second heavy weight, Jake Kilrain. The burly policemen in the meantime bellowed in their melodious bass, "Now, easy, gentlemen, don't crowd; you'll get in quicker if you'll just go light." The crowd, however, was unreasonable, like most crowds, and refused to listen to the admonitions of the guardians of the peace, but elbowed and crowded each other to their hearts' content. Once in the hall, all confusion ceased as the crowd melted away, and some made their way to the reserved seats, while others took up their positions in those portions of the vast hall that afforded the best view of the stage. It is safe to estimate the size of the audience at 5000. All classes were represented in the throng, and as the stream of humanity poured in one could see a venerable alderman or a respected member of the Common Council, or maybe one of Boston's most solid and eminent business or professional men jostling and joking with an impecunious man of the town, whose ticket cost him half his worldly wealth.

The stage was placed against one side of the hall, and was raised about four feet from the floor, and measured about twenty-four feet square. Around three sides the reserved seats, numbering in the neighborhood of 2000, and costing the fortunate possessors $2 each, were ranged, while the space behind was used by those who had simple admission tickets.

The interest of the evening was of course centred in the contest between John Kilrain and Charles Mitchell. Mitchell is known to everybody as the man who gave Sullivan the hardest fight that he has yet had, and as the knocker out of every other man with whom he has fought. Kilrain, although possessing considerable of a local reputation, has never been pitted before against a man of acknowledged strength and skill as a heavy-weight. He has sparred quite a number of times in private exhibitions, and he always acquitted himself with credit.

As to the result of the trial there can be but ne verdict. If Mitchell sparred to win, and to down his man, Kilrain is a phenomenal sparrer and fighter. The honors, to say the least, were easy, and if Kilrain didn't get the best of the fight neither did Mitchell. No blood was spilled on either side, and, although Kilrain went down once, it certainly didn't appear like a knock-down, since Kilrain came up smiling and not the least bit groggy. Indeed, both men at the end of the so-called assault-at-arms were perfectly fresh and uninjured. It was a very pretty exhibition of sparring, and both men showed themselves to be clever fighters, although Mitchell displayed none of that dash and hard hitting that was to be expected from his previous record. Mitchell and Madden, it is said, receive one-third of the gross receipts, which probably amounted to at least $6000, making their share $2000. The remaining two-third was divided among James Keenan, Kilrain and the other gentlemen under whose auspices the exhibition was given.

The Introductory Bouts.

At 8.20 o'clock Patsey Sheppard and Billy Mahoney, who were jointly masters of ceremonies, stepped upon the stage. Johnny Murphy, a doughty little red-headed chap, and Joe Clark followed them, and, after being introduced, opened the entertainment with three really clever rounds. Tom Bates, the Englishman, and John Connelly were next introduced, and then young McManus and Mikey Dyer indulged in light sparring. Billy Frazer of the Hub made an elegant showing with Denny Costigan of Providence, and Charley Norton of Newark, N. J., and young Nixey of London followed, Norton especially giving a fine exhibition of scientific boxing.

Patsey Sheppard and Billy Madden, who were down on the bill, did not, to the disappointment of many of the auditors, put on the mittens; but as they were to act as seconds for Kilrain and Mitchell respectively, in the four rounds that followed, and could not possibly do so without inflicting a very tedious waiting spell upon the audience, it was deemed for the best that they should not do so.

A long wait, however, did follow, which was broken by Arthur Chambers stepping upon the stage, accompanied by William Sheriff, the Prussian. Billy Mahoney introduced both men to the audience and announced that Mr. Chambers would back the Prussian to fight Mitchell to a finish with gloves for $1000. The audience received the gentlemen and the statement with great applause. Then another aspirant clambered over the ropes and was introduced as Bendor of London, anxious to fight Charles Godfrey, the colored boxer, or Florrie Barnett.

The Coming of the Giants.

Another brief interval and Madden, with bottles, sponges, towels and other necessary adjuncts to a battle, was noticed making his way through the crowd. Following him was Mitchell, and at the sight of the latter applause rout the air. Charley Norton brought up the rear. When Mitchell stepped upon the stage it was 9.25 o'clock. A few minutes elapsed, when an uproar started, announcing the coming of Kilrain. He was preceded by Patsey Sheppard and followed by little Tom McCarty. W. E. Hardy, who was to act as time-keeper, then mounted the stage.

After tossing for choice of gloves, Kilrain selected a two-ounce pair, which Mitchell's friends had brought on. The mittens being donned, and, the men introduced, time was called, and, as both men stepped to the centre of the ring, a breathless silence prevailed. Mitchell's physical form was on the whole superior to that of Kilrain, although the latter showed plainly that nothing had been left undone to bring him to the scratch in the finest shape.

The men eyed each other for five seconds, when Kilrain led with his left, landing lightly upon Mitchell's right cheek. A few more seconds of eyeing one another ensued, when Mitchell feinted with his left and sent a terrific right-hander for Jake's stomach, but that part of the Bostonian's body was two feet away fortunately. The men were wary, and the audience gazed with the expectation that at the next lead one or the other must go to the floor. A little more preliminary work and with a rush they came together. The clinch lasted but a few seconds, but while it did last it demonstrated either that neither man wanted to punish the other or that they were both afraid. While Mitchell was thinking what tactics to resort to that harmless left of Jake again caught on, and time was called.

Neither man showed exhaustion or any effects of punishment upon the opening of the second round. Thus far Mitchell, excepting the one straight right-hander aimed at Kilrain's stomach, and the bit of sparring indulged in by him during the clinch in the first round, had done no work that would entitle him to be considered an extraordinary man. The many who were awaiting an exhibition of his skill were losing faith in him when he let go his right hand. It went over Jake's left shoulder, as did another a few seconds later. The men closed, Mitchell forcing Kilrain to the ropes. They remained clinched four or five seconds, neither showing a disposition to break, and both apparently pounding each other with all their strength, but when they separated a smile o'erspread both of their faces. A lively little tilt ensued, and it was getting pretty warm, with honors easy, when time was called.

The third round was most interesting, that is, the men worked harder, for as soon as time was called Mitchell made a rush at Kilrain and sent a right-hander flying over the latter's head. He got in a very good left-hander, and grazed Jack's bread-basket with his right. Jake opened with the left and Mitchell struck him a body blow, or at least it so appeared, that sent Jake to the floor. Mitchell smiled as Jake came to the front again. The round was a rattling give and take from this rally to its close. The audience cheered wildly meanwhile.

The fourth round was a rattling go-as-you-please, come-again-tomorrow sort of an affair. Every time the men closed, and they closed scarcely less than a dozen times, the audience fairly howled, and as Kilrain, who naturally had the largest number of friends, landed either his right or left, the audience shrieked at him to follow Mitchell up. This enthusiasm reached its climax when, after a clinch, Kilrain struck the right jaw of the Englishman with his left forcibly enough to stagger him. The audience, to a man, stood up, many of them in their chairs, and urged Jake on. He did not, however, and it seemed difficult for Mitchell to suppress his laughter. The round finished a moment or two later with the men clinched, and Jake Kilrain's name and fame as a boxer made.

At the close of the fight both men were as fresh as when they commenced, and the only evidence of a blow being struck was a slight bruise upon Mitchell's right cheek.

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