Happy St. Patrick! I would like to blog today to commemorate Ireland’s contribution to martial arts with some interesting links, enjoy!
Of course there are Irish catch wrestlers; Karl Gotch often talks about Pops Charnock, the formidable Irish Catch wrestler often overshadowed by another worthy tough Irish wrestler, Billy Riley. Frank Holt is another catch wrestler with Irish ancestry (FYI, also examining the Battle of Irish Faction; someone who has done an excellent job in this area is John Hurley, checking it out.
This year I’m celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day with the release of the new DVD REAL BKB:
Fights of the Irish Travelers. This is a championship match among the Travelers, a group of people who were popularized and romanticized in Brad Pitt’s feature film Snatch.
America’s last strip championship fight, a 75-round marathon was between two tough Irish-Americans, John L. Sullivan and Jake Kilrain, on July 8, 1889 in Richburg, Mississippi. Sullivan, who has dominated nude boxing heavyweight championships for a decade, won this grueling test. He is often considered America’s first true sports celebrity.
September 7, 1892 saw the end of the Sullivan reign when Irish-American James J. Corbett, also known as “Gentleman Jim” beat him to the World Heavyweight Championship in New Orleans. The fight will be held under the Queensbury Rules “, in gloves.
The era of modern boxing was born that day when Corbett demonstrated that scientific boxing could defeat tremendous brute force when he overthrew defending champion Sullivan in the first twenty rounds. Corbett successfully defended the title with a knockout win over Charley Mitchell in third place in 1894. However, three years later Irish-American challenger Bob Fitzsimmons would beat Corbett in the 14th round to become the new World Heavyweight Champion (for more information, see my books The Classical Pugilism and Bare-Knuckle Boxing Companion, Vol 1 and also The Classical Pugilism and Bare-Knuckle Boxing Companion, Vol 2).
Jack Burke, Jim Corbett, Jake Kilrain, John L. Sullivan (this is a large chunk of BKB scholar Elliot J.Gorn), Pops Charnock, Robert Fitzsimmons, Bartley Gorman, Jack Dempsey, Billy Conn, Jem Roche, Gerry Cooney, John C. Heenan, Paddy Ryan, John Morrisey, James J. Braddock, Irish boxer list (for some biographical sketches of the great Irish-American boxers click here).
Today is the day to go to the pub and tip back a beer (for some of you, a root beer) or Irish whiskey and give these tough guys a delicious ‘sláinte’ (this is the equivalent of roasting a ‘cheer’ in Gaelic Irish) to these tough guys. from the island of Ireland!