Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Come Out Fighting!

I had to do a little investigating after reading the first article below. The Improved Order of Redmen was a social organization that was originally based on the Sons of Liberty of Boston Tea Party fame. By this time, they seem more like any other fraternal group of the time, a place for men to get together and smoke cigars and curse. I also had to look up the term buck and wing dance. It was a predecessor of tap dancing, and seems to have come from both African-American and Irish sources. The dancing, singing - and bell solo! - are an interesting addition to boxing matches. Unfortunately, the article fails to say where the bouts were held. I wonder if those Duffy brothers were the predecessors of the Duffy family that was in Jamaica Plain in the 1960s. The second bouts interested me because it was held at the St Thomas Aquinas Grammar School hall. I remember fights in the schoolyard, but none in the hall.

Boston Daily Globe March 14, 1912

Good Boxing At Smoke Talk.

Fred Duffy Shows a Lot of Speed at Jamaica Plain.

A series of fast exhibition bouts were put on by Pawnee Tribe, I.O.R.M., before a crowd of 300 at a smoke talk in Jamaica Plain last evening. The first one was between James Emery and Neil Lynch, both of the Medford A.C. The Flanagan twins, Bill and Tom, of South Boston, followed with a swift exhibition. Some good work was seen between Johnny Duffy, the 105-pound amateur champion of Greater Boston, and George Lang, both of the Jamaica Plain A.A.

A good showing was made by the Acme A.A. of Jamaica Plain, which staged bouts between M. Heiser and Jack O'Brien, Barney Schneider and John Sherman, and John Drey and Billy Sullivan. Mark Spencer of Boston and Wilbur Hawkins of Jamaica Plain put up a snappy exhibition.

The star bout of the evening was between Fred Duffy of Jamaica Plain, the 135-pound champion of New England, and his brother, Henry Duffy. Fred's fast work and science convinced his friends that he is a "comer" in the pugilistic world.

John Sayce entertained with a bell solo and George O'Brien of the Forest Hills A.A. contributed several songs. A buck and wing dance was given by George Pritchard of the Forest Hills A.A. Billy Coleman and William Sweeney gave vocal selections.

Boston Daily Globe January 20, 1920

Amateur Boxers Contend In Bouts At Jamaica Plain

The hall of Leo XIII School, Jamaica Plain was filled with boxing fans last evening to see the amateur bouts, directed by Francis J. Horgan of St Thomas C.A. The feature bout was the 115-pound semifinal between Joe Cavanaugh of Cambridge and Jack Chanty of Somerville, won by the former.

Cavanaugh's hand was injured so badly that it prevented him from entering the final with Jim Johnson of Jamaica Plain, who was awarded the decision by default. There were 15 bouts in all. The finals:

115-pound Class, Jim Johnson, Jamaica Plain, decision over Joe Cavanaugh, Cambridge, on default.

125-pound Class - Pat Kelley, decision over Young Linehan of South End, who quit in first round.

135-pound Class - Chester Finn, Jamaica Plain, decision over Tommy Gannon, South Boston.

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