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The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia -- English Bare Knuckle Champion
(the "Black Diamond")
BORN December 26 1800; DIED April 3 1884; HEIGHT.. 5-10 WEIGHT 175 lbs BACKERS Sir Bellingham Graham, Mr. Hayne
Ward was a natural boxer with great ability; He was fast, strong, tough and game but dishonest; He was suspected of taking part in two fixed fights
Jem was inducted into the Ring Boxing Hall of Fame in 1963 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1995
It is not clear as to why the International Boxing Hall of Fame Hall elected Jem Ward in 1995. He took a dive in two of his early fights and was probably involved in one otherfixed fight. Ward's last fight (a 77-minute victory over Simon Byrne), was described by Gilbert Odd as "a disgraceful affair."
The contemporary view of that fight was expressed in verse which commemorated Byrne's 1833 loss to Deaf Burke:
On Thursday, May the 30th day, brave Simon took the ring.
Backed by Jem Ward the champion, likewise by gallant Spring,
to fight Burke two hundred pounds, a man of courage bold,
To stop reports that with Ward the battle he had sold.
In addition, Ward was not exactly a man of his word. Ward had agreed to turn over his championship belt to the winner of the Byrne-Burke fight, but when his fighter lost, (Byrne died following the fight), Ward reneged on his promise and kept the belt.
On a separate note, the Press Kit distributed by the Hall claims that Ward was the first fighter to be presented with a championship belt. This is incorrect -- Tom Cribb had been presented with a belt in 1822.
© 1998 The Cyber Boxing Zone1816 May 6 George Robinson Stepney Fields, Eng (45:00) W Jun 18 Bill Wall Limehouse Fields, Eng (2:00:00) W 1817 Jul 27 George Webb Limehouse Fields, Eng (3:00) W 1 1819 Feb 12 Jack Murray Shadwell Fields, Eng (45:00) W Jul 4 Nick Murphy Barking, Eng (35:00) W 1820 Sep 29 Mike Hayes Isle of Dogs, Eng (40:00) W Oct 20 Jack Delaney Bow Common, Eng (30:00) W 1822 Jun 12 Dick Acton Moulsey Hurst, Eng (14:30) W 6 Sep 10 Jem Burke Harpenden, Eng (7:00) W 7 Oct 22 Bill Abbott Moulsey Hurst, Eng L 22 1823 Feb 4 Ned Baldwin Wimbledon, Eng (19:00) W 20 Jul 4 Joe Rickens Lansdown, Eng (15:00) W 8 Aug 20 John Johnson Shirley Common, Eng (18:00) W 8 Nov 11 Josh Hudson Moulsey Hurst, Eng (36:00) L 15 1824 Jun 21 Phil Sampson Colnbrook, Eng (50:00) W 25 Dec 28 Phil Sampson Park Lodge, Eng (37:30) W 27 1825 Jul 19 Tom Cannon Warwick, Eng (10:00) W 10 -Championship of England 1826 Jun 30 Phil Sampson Norwich, Eng W 10 1827 Jan 2 Peter Crawley Royston, Eng (26:00) L 11 -Championship of England Jan 4 -Crawley retired from the ring and refusd to meet Ward in another Championship fight; Ward reclaimed the Championship of England when Crawley abdicated 1828 May 27 Jack Carter Shepperton Range, Eng (32:00) W 17 -Championship of England 1829 Mar 29 Simon Byrne SCH -This bout was scheduled but not held; Ward refused to fight and forfeited the Championship of England 1831 Jul 12 Simon Byrne Willeycutt, Eng (1:17:00) W 33 -Championship of England 1832 Jun 25 -Ward announced his retirement from the ring
Record courtesy of Jan Skotnicki, Historian, International Boxing Research Organization
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