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Thursday, December 13, 2012

1891-12-13 Tommy Ryan W-KO14 Frank Howson [skating rink, near Chicago, IL, USA]

1891-12-14 The Chicago Daily Tribune (Chicago, IL) (page 7)
After a Clever Fourteen-Round Struggle the Latter Succumbs.

Tom Ryan still remains firmly entrenched in his position as welterweight champion of the United States. He and Frank Houson, the English welterweight, fought early yesterday morning at a point near Chicago and Ryan won in the fourteenth round by knocking out Houson.

The men fought for a purse of $1,000, 75 per cent to the winner and 25 to the loser. The affair was admirably conducted. The special train of five coaches that had been chartered was advertised to leave the Union Depot promptly at midnight Saturday and it was only a few minutes after that when it pulled out, with the coaches filled to overflowing with sports of all grades and sizes. The usual crowd of deadheads who force their way on trains of the kind was missing and the gathering, while a noisy one at times, was always good natured. The journey to the battleground was made without incident. Everybody on the train seemed the proud possessor of a bottle, the emptying of which seemed a matter of conscience to him. As a result before the train drew up at its destination many of the spectators were mellow. It was 2:30 when the train pulled up at its destination. An old skating rink had been hired for the fight. It was only fifty yards distance from the railroad tracks, and when the crowd was under cover it was found that all arrangements for the fight were complete. A ring had been built in the center of the hall and around it two or three rows of benches had been placed. These were quickly appropriated and those not fortunate enough to secure places on them got standing positions of vantage. There was not much delay, and before 3 o'clock the men were in the ring. The manager of the fight cautioned the spectators against making any unnecessary noise and then announced that George Siler had been selected as referee and Malachi Hogan as timekeeper.

Houson was the fist to appear. He was clad in full flesh-colored tights with black stockings. Harry Gilmore and Tommy White looked after him. Ryan wore red trunks. He was handled by Henry Baker, Manning of Buffalo, and Bill Richards. Two-ounce gloves was put on and the men who were to fight to a finish under Queensbury rules were ready.

Round 1--As the men stepped to the center Houson was seen to have a slight advantage in height and reach, but Ryan seemed stronger, more compact, and better conditioned. Houson was the first to lead, but missed, and some pretty work at long range followed. In fact, it was remarkable that most of the fighting was at long range and clinches were few. The fighting was fair all the time, and not a foul was made or claimed during the contest. Ryan led with the left and landed lightly on Houson's chest, receiving a cross-counter in return that did little damage. Houson rushed in and rapid exchanges followed, with honors even, and the round closed with the men sparring at long range.

Round 2--Houson forced the fighting and, swinging his right, landed heavily on Ryan's jaw, jarring the champion, who retaliated with a vicious lefthand jab on the ribs that made Houson wince. The latter, however, continued to force the fighting. He found Ryan's face with his right and got away without a return. This angered the champion and he rushed in, rapid exchanges at close range following, Ryan having slightly the better of it. Houson's blows lacked force and it was evident even this early that he would be beaten by his inability to punish.

Round 3--The work, which had been fast up to this, now grew slower. Both men were cautious, Ryan taking the offensive. He swung his right and landed on Houson's left eye, slightly discoloring it, and followed his advantage with a vicious lefthand jab on the ribs. The round closed with the men well away from each other.

Round 4--The work was fast and furious. Ryan again took the offensive and rushed his man to the ropes, where there was some rapid infighting, the champion having the best of it. Houson clinched, and at the breakaway Ryan again rushed in and the round closed with the men at close quarters.

Ryan Continues to Force the Fighting.

Round 5--Ryan continued to force the fighting. His first rush carried Houson to the ropes and he rained blows on him, Houson clinching to avoid further punishment. At the breakaway Ryan followed his advantage and the round closed with heavy fighting in Houson's corner.

Round 6--Houson's left eye was badly discolored and Ryan continued to play on it with his right. The fighting was all at long range.

Round 7--Both men were still strong. Ryan crossed over into Houson's corner at the call of time and the fighting was all there. The exchanges were even, but Houson's inability to punish grew more apparent as the fight progressed.

Round 8--Houson rallied and forced the fighting, but Ryan had easily the better of the infighting. Houson's face began to puff up, while Ryan was practically unmarked.

Round 9--Houson swung with his right and landed heavily on Ryan's neck, staggering him. He followed up his advantage and put the champion on the defensive during the rest of the round.

Round 10--Houson again started to rush matters, but Ryan met him half way and feinting with the left swung his right and landing on Houson's puffed eye broke the skin. The blood trickled down and first blood was claimed by and allowed to Ryan. He rushed Houson to the ropes and punished him severely. The round ended with Ryan easily the stronger.

Round 11--Ryan continued to play for Houson's injured eye and finding it at will kept a steady stream of blood flowing on the Englishman's chest and dripping to the floor. Ryan rushed his man to the ropes, but generously drew back and was rewarded with the spectators' applause.

Round 12--Ryan started in to finish his man and fought him all over the ring, landing time and again on Houson's swollen face. The latter stood his punishment gamely, however, and rallied towards the close of the round.

Round 13--Houson's face looked like a piece of beef, while Ryan, although tired, was unmarked. He was content to husband his resources and the fighting was not fast. Houson, however, was steadily growing weaker.

Round 14--Ryan waited patiently for a chance to land the knock-out blow, and it was given before many seconds' fighting. He feinted with the left and seeing his opening swung the right, landing on the point of Houson's jaw. The latter went down in a heap and was counted out. He recovered in a few minutes.

The return trip was quickly made and the party landed here in time for breakfast.

1891-12-14 The Chicago Herald (Chicago, IL) (page 6)
The Englishman Proves a Hard Fighter and Gives the Champion the Battle of His Life, but Is Fairly Whipped by the Chicagoan.
Tommy Ryan landed a knock-out blow on the peak of Frank Howson's left jaw before the fourteenth round was two minutes old. The clever English boxer keeled over on his face on the blood-stained floor. As he lurched forward he fell on Ryan, who stepped aside. Howson threw up his hands convulsively, spun around the floor upon his shoulder, groped blindly for a second or two and then became unconscious. Ten seconds passed and Timekeeper Malachi Hogan yelled "time," and the Ryan-Howson fight, which was fought early Sunday morning for $1,000 was over. Ryan had fought the battle of his life and won it after a most stubborn contest by a square knock-out blow. The round had opened with a rush. Howson, with his left eye closed and his nose laid open, did not appear groggy, but he was nevertheless on his last legs. Ryan fought like a hurricane. He punched the Englishman in his bread basket and rushed him into a corner. Tommy's right landed twice lightly on the Sheffield man's face. Howson tried to stop him and was about to land a blow on Tommy's head. He was slow in execution and left his guard open for an instant. Ryan, who had been watching and waiting for just such an opportunity, drove his left with terrific short arm force into Howson's jaw. His gory two-ounce mitt slammed into the sympathetic nerve with a jar, and the man who had hustled him as no antagonist had ever done before fell to the floor.

It was the cleverest and best managed fight that has taken place in this vicinity for a long time. Not only were the men well matched but the arrangements were perfect and the crowd, as such crowds go, quiet and orderly. There were no interruptions, and from the moment time was called--at 3:28--the fight went on without a break. The principals and their admirers left the city shortly after 1 o'clock. There were three coaches of them, and the fight took place in a roller rink 100 miles out of town. The twenty-four-foot ring was pitched on the second floor of a frame building on the principal business street of a prosperous village. The run was made without accident, and then came a fight and scramble up a long pair of dusky, dark stairs.

The Mayor Welcomes the Boys.

Two lamps swung from the ceiling. Sports from the village and an adjoining town swelled the attendance to perhaps 350. The mayor of the place was there. He was introduced to the crowd. "Speech, speech," yelled a score of voices. The mayor twisted his long, black mustache, and said: "This may be very late or very early for a speech. I was awakened by a man who told me to come here. This is, as far as I can see, an orderly crowd. But, as mayor, I must do my duty. I forbid this fight to go on." There were cheers and cat calls. "He has done his duty," said the manager blandly. Then the little mayor climbed over the ropes and disappeared in the crowd, but not from the hall. About the same time a man cheaply dressed approached a group of sports who were passing around a pint flask. "Gimme me a drink, boys?" he asked. "Not much," replied one of the gang. "I am deputy sheriff," said the man, displaying his badge. He got his drink. Ben Mowatt swung his clubs, and after he had gathered up a shower of silver Referee George Siler skipped into the ring. Howson shied his castor into the inclosure at 3:15 and Ryan followed three minutes later. Harry Gilmore and Tommy White stood behind the Englishman, and Billy Manning, of Buffalo, and Henry Baker, of Chicago, did the honors for Ryan. Malachi Hogan and Charles Calhoun were the timekeepers. Just before the fight George Clark offered to bet $500 to $300 that Ryan would win in twenty rounds, but had no takers. Odds were freely offered on Ryan. At 3:26 the men shook hands and two minutes later the scrap began.

Ryan wore red trunks and Howson white tights. Over the Englishman's chest was spread a porous plaster. He weighed 136 and Ryan 140 pounds. Tommy was in fine fettle and danced around like a sprite. During the entire battle he forced the fighting, except in a few rounds where Howson unwound his right and landed stingers on his face, neck and chest. Ryan was the more cautious. The blows did not mar his beauty, but they shook him up terribly. Sporting men who have seen all of Ryan's fights were of the opinion that he had the closest call in his career. Howson lost strength by the continual play and action of his shoulder and arm muscles, while Ryan was cool and collected as a chunk of ice and made no useless moves. Ryan received more ugly whacks and thumps from the Englishman than Danny Needham was able to get in on him in his long fight at St. Paul. Howson had few if any friends at the start, but he stood punishment nobly and came to the scratch smiling every time. Had he used his right more liberally the result might have been different.

First Blood for Tommy Ryan.

Round the first was characterized by countering and dodging and closed with furious infighting, the honors being about even. In the second Ryan nearly forced Howson over the ropes and both fell sprawling on the floor. Howson stopped some clever blows and got in twice on Ryan's neck in the third. Tommy rushed the Englishman to the ropes in the fourth, and as he was about to keel over picked him up. Howson repaid Ryan's generosity by a vicious short-arm jab in the face.

In the fifth round Howson took the bit in his teeth and a splendid fistic exhibition resulted, the round closing with the odds slightly in his favor. It was now evident that Ryan had no snap. Howson was contesting every inch of the ground. It was here that he began to do business with his strong right arm, and once or twice he had Tommy on the run. Howson was content most of the time, though, to let the other fellow force the fighting. The sixth was a standoff and in the seventh fast infighting was followed by a clinch and a tumble on the floor, Howson getting in the last blow on Ryan's jaw. Ryan rushed things in the eighth, landing some pretty thumps, and began to attack his opponent's wind.

The ninth was tame, but in the tenth Ryan drew first blood by a corking right-arm poke under the left eye and followed it up with a ribroaster and two or three whacks in the face and jaw. The round ended decidedly in his favor. Those who had wagered that Ryan would win in ten rounds lost their bets, but it was evident that Ryan had his man whipped and that a few rounds more would settle the fight. Ryan found the gaping hole under the eye again, and also laid open a section of the Sheffield man's nose. A short time before Howson's mitt had rattled his teeth like castanets, and one had broken squarely off and fell to the floor. Ryan determined to avenge the loss of his molar and hammered and banged Howson in the fast-closing eye, nose, and chest. The Englishman for the first time acted like a man seasick, and was so blinded by blood that he could not ward off his opponent's telling blows.

Ryan sought and found Howson's eye in the twelfth, and also tapped his claret-box. Tommy's mitts looked like huge carnation pinks, and Howson's face was so bloody that Ryan's blows slipped off almost harmlessly. He closed on Howson's jaw first with his right and then with his left, and a shoulder blow sent both to grass. Howson got in his first upper-cut, and Ryan's head began to buzz. Tommy got mad and rushed in long and short arm lunges, and Howson became groggy and reeled like a drunken man. He was as good as whipped, but he pluckily would not give up the fight. There was more hammering in the thirteenth, and Ryan pulled the curtain down over Howson's left peeper. He also whanged him on the neck and jaw, and again tapped his claret-box. Then came the fourteenth and decisive round, with the terrific knock-out blow that settled the fight. The Chicago sports returned to town just as the church bells were calling the faithful. Ryan showed no signs of punishment, and there was not a scratch to indicate that he had engaged in a fight.

The fight lasted exactly fifty-four minutes. And now W. S. Layton wants a go with Tommy Ryan. He writes that he will fight Ryan at 140 pounds before any club for a purse, 75 per cent of the gate to go to the winner and 25 to the loser. He defeated Reddy Gallagher in seventeen rounds at Lima, Ohio; knocked out Joe Tansey in Birmingham, Ala., and fought Frank Griffin in Roanoke, knocking him out in two rounds. Layton is now in Roanoke, Va.

1891-12-14 The Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, IL) (page 7)
The Englishman Goes Down Before the American.
Scientific Fighting for Fourteen Hotly Contested Rounds.
Superior Generalship, Force, and Judgment Win the Battle.

Tommy Ryan is still the champion welterweight of the world. He stands an unbroken record of victories. Yesterday morning he added Frank Howson, of Sheffield, England, to the list of his victims. The fight was, from a professional and scientific standpoint, a beauty.

Howson is admittedly one of the cleverest men who ever stepped into the ring, and Ryan was his match in this respect. It was a very scientific battle. Parries, ducks, and counters were too thick to cause comment after the first three rounds. Howson was quick as a cat and very shifty on his feet. He lost through his inability to hit hard, though he hit often. Ryan did some great work with his left, and showed altogether the best generalship.

It was nearly 12:30 yesterday morning when the special train, carrying the contestants and nearly 300 spectators at $5 apiece, left the Union Depot. In a few minutes after crossing the line the train stopped and the crowd followed the leaders to a skating rink, where the ring was pitched and all preparations were made. All arrangements were complete and the crowd was happy.


on all sides on Ryan at odds varying from $100 to $75 to $100 to $50. But little was placed. Even money was laid that Ryan would win in ten rounds; with slight odds that he would win in fifteen rounds.

In a few minutes everything was ready and the contest was announced to be for points for $1,000 and the championship. George Siler was chosen referee and took charge of the stakes. Harry Gilmore, ex-champion light-weight, and Tommy White, the feather-weight, acted as Howson's seconds, while Jim Manning, of Buffalo, and Henry Baker, champion heavy-weight of Michigan, did like service for Ryan. Queensberry rules governed.

Ben Mowatt opened the "athletic entertainment" with a clever exhibition of club swinging and juggling, for which he was rewarded with a shower of silver.

A minute later Howson and his seconds stepped into the ring. Howson was to have had another match a few weeks ago, but it fell through. He kept on training, and overtraining seemed to handicap him, as he looked thin. His weight was 136½.


by Ryan, looking fresh and springy. Soon both were stripped. Howson's long reach was then apparent, but he did not look as well muscled as his opponent. With him it was only to win by superior skill, a hard thing to do with Ryan as his opponent.

At 3:24 Malachy Hogan, official timer, called "Get ready; time," and the contestants sprang from their corners like cats. A handshake and sparring for an opening began. Both were cautious. Ryan laid well back, while Howson stood rather more erect. Soon followed such a flashing of ducks and dodging as is seldom witnessed. It was no slugging match. It was frequent comment that Howson had been underrated and would make Ryan fight. The contest by rounds was as follows:

First Round--Ryan led with his right, but Howson escaped by an inside parry. Ryan led twice, but failed to land hard, while Howson got in a right-hander on Ryan's neck that jarred him for a moment. Smiling he came up and close infighting ensued, Ryan getting in a left-hand upper cut. Howson showed his great defense in two lightning ducks. Honors even on call of time.

Second Round--A feint, and then Howson led and failed, but caught Ryan's left on the cheek. Ryan led, but caught one on the ribs while Howson ducked. The blow was soon returned by a hard left-hander that jarred the Englishman for a minute. He felt another just as time was called. Howson seemed winded as he took his seat.

Third Round--Clever sparring began this round, but Ryan soon began to get in his left in short-arm work. Howson managed to work his right on Ryan's cheek, but in return caught it with both hands. A little more sparring, a left-hander by Ryan, and then a minute's rest.

Fourth Round--Ryan got a little the best of this round. He was fresh and light as a fairy. He led lightly and on Howson's return got in two corkers left and right handed. The Englishman got in but one blow, a good right-hander, but took another one of Ryan's stock of left-handers. Soon after Ryan did his right-and-left act again, closing the round in his favor.

Fifth Round--For a moment it was a footrace, but as Howson got one below his ribs he sat down on the ropes. Getting up, he came back to get a right, and then a left. Ryan made a swing, but missed, giving Howson a good chance for a La Blanche pivot, which he failed to use. Ryan closed the round after a little sparring with three good blows, having decidedly the best of it.

Sixth Round--Both did good work, but it was evident that Howson was working with his nerve, not his strength. He led off with a left-hander, landing, and followed with a right-hander on Ryan's ribs. Each got in a couple of blows, and sparring followed. As usual, Ryan ended the round in his favor, getting in a good left-hander on Howson's left eye.

Seventh Round--Howson began to show his hard work and breathed hard, but Ryan was fresh. The Englishman got in some light ones, but in return got a hard right-hander and several left-handers.

Eighth Round--Ryan followed up his advantage, and a quick succession of short arm lefts on Howson's game eye began the round. Howson did a couple of good stops and got in a right hand body blow, but went to his seat with several rights and lefts that jarred him.

Ninth Round--Howson rallied again, getting in a left and then a right-hand rib-roaster. Ryan was resting, and let the Englishman waste a good deal of nervous energy in getting in a couple more left and right-hand blows on Ryan's hardy body. Tom was apparently going to do business in the next round.

Tenth Round--Howson evidently thought Ryan was quitting in the last round, and, cheered by his friends, sailed in. But Ryan was on hand. A left, a hard right-hand cross-counter, and a right and left on Howson's ribs made the Englishman cautious. Tom began to urge matters, and cut Howson's cheek for first blood. Howson's great work on his feet saved him some, but it began to be evident that he was not in the fight any more.

Eleventh Round--Ryan followed his advantage and did about all the punishing. He kept hacking at Howson's damaged left eye and worked in his left frequently. Howson kept on the run and was soon forced on the ropes. Ryan backed away and let him come up again when he might have settled it right there.

Twelfth Round--Ryan began business with a body blow, but Howson paid him back with his best blow, a right-hand swing on the ribs. It was only a flash in the pan, for fighting with both hands, Ryan was rapidly finishing him. Twice he drove Howson to the ropes with right and left-handers, the latter seeking only to avoid punishment. He was groggy, and moved with no force. On the call of time he staggered to his seat.

Thirteenth Round--Ryan had his man beaten, but kept at that left eye. He worked in right and left almost at will, simply playing with his man. One hard right-hander on the chin made the Britisher shudder, but as revenge swung his right on Tommy's ribs again. It was weak. When they took their seats Howson had been punished severely and couldn't see out of his left eye, and blood from a cut on his chin ran down over the porous plaster on his breast. He was about done for.

Fourteenth Round--Howson vainly tried to rally and advanced. Ryan began a wind-up series of right and left handers, doing about as he pleased. A couple of right and lefts jarred the Englishman. Ryan feinted with the right, and as Howson turned his face slowly to dodge, Ryan let him have a left-hand swing on the jaw. Howson's eye rolled up, he gasped, sunk to the floor, rolled over and slept.

Howson was not rendered insensible but was so jarred that he couldn't get up or get to his corner. Hard work on him for five minutes brought him around, but he was badly used up.

In the third round betting began to change and Joe Ullman offered $100 to $10 without a taker. Another bet of $300 that Ryan would win in 15 rounds went begging. All kinds of odds were offered thereafter, but no money could be placed except on the result at ten rounds. A little money even was placed that Howson would stay the ten rounds.

The battle was remarkable for its fairness. Not a call of foul was made, not an unfair advantage was taken. Not an angry word was passed between the principals. It was a scientific fight, and the best man won. The common consent was that Howson can beat the best 135-pound man. He is not a hard hitter, but has a good right-hand body blow. Ryan did not use his well-known hard blows with any frequency, doing all his hard work in the last half minute. At the close not a mark appeared on him. The crowd saw a good contest and straggled homeward at about 7:30 o'clock in the morning.

Ryan's next battle will be in California with Danny Needham, whom he whipped in seventy-six rounds for the championship.

Jack Wilkes, the St. Louis welter-weight, was at the ring side, and came prepared to meet the winner for $500 a side.

Wilkes, in a very business-like manner, made a proposition to enter into a contest with Ryan. The latter's manager could not accept the offer because a contemplated return match with Danny Needham in San Francisco, negotiations for which are now pending.