View Full Version : Harry Broome and Harry Orme

11-27-2011, 08:47 AM
Champion When the Game had fallen Into
Evil ways, Defended His Title in a Manner
Worthy of the Golden Days of the Prize Ring

Having won the championship and the belt from Gaunt on. a foul, Bendigo evaded the challenge of William Perry, "the Tipton Slasher,'' a powerful and dangerous but unscientific fighter, and retired from the ring in 1850. Perry thereupon claimed the championship. "The Slasher," though he had been defeated on a foul, in 1842, by Charles Freeman, a seven foot giant and the first white American to enter the lists in England, undoubtedly stood at the head of the sport at the time of Bendigo's retirement. He did not hold the title long, however, losing to Harry Broome on a foul in 1851.

Broome, after holding the championship for two years, was matched to meet Harry Orme, who, next to "the Slasher," was regarded as the hardiest fighter of the day. Their meeting was notable in a period when the game had fallen upon evil ways, when the traditions of the ancient heroes were forgotten and when talk, rowdyism and fouls were the order.

THE throng that gathered discreetly at the Shoreditch station of the Eastern Counties Railway on the morning of April 18. 1853, was one to warm the heart of old time followers of pugilism. The proud title of champion of England was once more at issue, and those who had the matter in hand had determined that the affair should be conducted with a dignity and decorum well nigh forgotten in connection with such events. The immediate result was that distinguished patronage had been revived, that the cudgel bands bad been kept at a distance and that only those genuinely interestedin upholding clean sport were to have an opportunity to participate.

The special train had been chartered for "an excursion of one hundred miles or thereabouts,'' a provision that served as a warrant against intrusion of any kind, for the ultimate destination was known to no one. The sixteen carriages were filled to capacity when the start was made at half-past eight, and a list of the passengers would have read like a ringside roster in the days of "Tom" Cribb. At Bishop Stortford a brief stop was made while Harry Orme, the challenger, with his attendants, climbed aboard, and at Elsenham, Broome, the champion, joined the
party. At Ely. further on, a pilot who had been sent ahead to investigate, reported that a large, unruly crowd had flocked to Millenhall In expectation of seeing the fight, and that constables were ready at Lakenheath. The train ran past both these stations and stopped at a secluded spot where interruption was impossible.

The ring keepers of the pugilistic association proceeded to take and rope off inner and outer rings in an open field, and by a quarter past one everything was In readiness. Tickets were sold to the privileged section and the general spectators grouped themselves in an orderly manner around the outside. Some two thousand persons were present. Orme was the first to toss his hat into the ring, and be was shortly followed by Broome. The challenger was attended by "Tom" Sayers and "Jack" Grant; the champion by "Bill" Hayman. , and his brother, John Broome, who was to be his second. The men shook hands with the greatest good feeling before stripping, and the crowd cheered them heartily. The handkerchiefs, gages of battle, wore then tied to the stakes, blue and white spots for Broome; green, with white rings, for Orme.

The Men Are Marvels.

The appearance of the respective combatants was eagerly observed as they stepped forward to the scratch in the twenty-four foot enclosure. Barely had the prize ring seen more resolute, more manly or more promising material. Then men were of an age— twenty-seven years—and in strength, grace and condition there seemed little to choose between them. Broome, a Birmingham boy, had shown himself a fast and scientific boxer, a remarkable general and an honest opponent during his rapid rise to highest honors. His best qualities had ever boon heavy hitting and an ability to nurse his strength. At no time had he stained his record by questionable methods or cowardly tactics. He was live feet ten inches In height and weighed 17" pounds It was said by his friends that business troubles had interfered seriously with his training and that in consequence he was several pounds over his best fighting weight. The surplus was noticeable, but did not extend to flabbiness. and he stood up rugged, clean limbed, solid and fit for bard work.

The challenger, Orme, was a Londoner by birth and had appeared but three times before the present meeting as an aspirant to pugilistic fame, winning each fight. His name was as clean as Broome's. Suspicion had never tainted him and he was known for an earnest, straightforward, even tempered fighter who never did less than his best. Five feet eight Inches In height, he weighed 162 pounds, but the apparent discrepancy between the two in favor of Broome was offset by Orme's massive frame and wonderful muscular development. His skin was
dark, almost a mahogany in color, and his round, handsome head was set upon a powerful neck. As a gladiator his best points were indomitable courage and the ability to land a terrific right hander. The betting was from 6 and 7 to 4 to 2 to 1 on the champion.

The men were extremely wary as they fell away from the handclasp, especially Orme, who was. sensible of the serious problem before him. Broome took the initiative in the sparring and led off with several feints, trying to draw Orme into action. They rattled and swung at safe distance for some minutes in the usual exhibition of fast and light play. Repeated applause greeted clever work on both sides as they advanced and retreated in turn, each testing the other's guard and method, tapping for weak spots and forging slowly into the pace of battle.

The champion made repeated attempts to draw his man into close quarters, but Orme smiled and shook his head, jumping agilely away from temptation and content to allow Broome to introduce the heavy firing. Broome, to lure him, scratched his ear in humorous perplexity, and Orme responded to the challenge gayly, leaping in with a snappy right drive that Broome neatly turned aside. Broome came back strong with right and left, but Orme though well within distance, parried easily. They mixed it now with all good will, swinging and stopping in scientific manner. Orme drove right and left at the body, but Broome was not there.

After a pause in which they eyed each other like men who have just become acquainted, they clashed again with increasing speed, sparring and occasionally shooting over a solid blow Broome was apparently fond of his left, and bored in with it consistently, Orme stopping with great coolness and precision The champion still seemed eager to take the command, and on finding his distance threw himself behind left and right drives. The first was parried, but the next got home prettily to the side of Orme s head. Orme had a good opening, slammed in a terrific hook
to the ribs and rushed, driving hard and taking a tap to the forehead He was not to be stopped, and the champion closed with him. After a sharp struggle they fell together. The round had lasted eight minutes, and served to show the remarkable fitness of Orme. which had been somewhat in question. His supporters cheered him wildly as he retreated to his second's knee.

Each Is Cautious.

The men advanced briskly for the second round, and repeated their cautious play, sparring for safety and the lead. Broome shifted suddenly and slammed a wicked left, but Orme was nimble on his feet and dodged a-way from It The champion resolved upon mischief and went after his opponent In a businesslike manner, feinting at the body and pounding through again with his left. Orme stopped skilfully, but Broome still came on, milling aggressively and finally jamming In a third left hander that got home heavily over the challenger's left eye and sent him
staggering Into a corner.

The blow put Orme’s fighting spirit up and he waded In with flailing arms forcing Broome back foot and straining every nerve to make an adequate return. The champion now gave the first Intimation that his extra weight might prove a handicap. He was compelled to foot it desperately to keep away from Orme's tremendous right swings, and, finding himself outmaneuvered, swerved suddenly to one side, turned his back and ran into the opposite corner, where he had time to prepare for the onslaught The challenger came on without pause and threatened
damage with his right, when Broome, hard pressed, ducked under a swing and came to grips. Orme was in no mood for wrestling and brought the round to an end by slipping through his adversary's arms to the ground.

Broome was ready to go upon the offensive at the opening of the third round and led off hard with his left, taking Orme a trifle by surprise and planting neatly on the challenger's mouth. Orme seemed in no way put out and whirled to action, driving right and left without breaking Broome's guard. There was a swift rally in the centre of the ring, with hard but ineffectual slugging on both sides. Then Orme slid through a driving blow that got home over Broome's left eye, but took a receipt in full from the champion, who planted a heavy swing to Orme's right eye. Broome had the best of the exchange and Orme bethought him that caution was indicated, backing away. The champion followed hard and Orme made a stand. They mixed it with short arm jolts to the body, when Broome closed and, catching his opponent at a disadvantage, tupped him and fell on top.

Broome tried to draw his man out with feints when they clashed for the fourth round, and after some sparring led him in pursuit, Orme rattling with both fists at head and body. The champion backed away warily until he found his opening, then rushed back with a wicked swing-that sliced Orme on the left brow, drawing first crimson. As before the check spurred Orme to greater efforts, and he now demonstrated fully that he was of championship caliber .he continued his advance, parrying with a judgment and ability that made him impregnable and slashing in with repeated right band swings to the ribs. These blows were his most effective ammunition, and three times in rapid succession he found his man, causing the champion great distress. Broome held his ground pluckily and devoted all his attention to the head, finally getting through taps to the right eye and the mouth. Orme, led into a high guard by these tactics, followed out eagerly, and, lowering his head, put himself behind a driving right plunge. This gave the champion a magnificent opportunity, and his tactics foreshadowed those adopted nearly half a century afterward by Fitzsimmons at Carson City –when he defeated Corbett. Although the terms "shift" and "solar plexus blow" were unknown in Qrme’s parlance. Broome now exemplified them in their modern meaning. Stepping aside and forward on his left foot as Orme's drive shot past his ear. he brought his right in with a smashing blow to the body that met Orme in full . It was a terrific hit. and Orme tottered away. bent double with pain, slowly sinking to the ground. A great shout from Broome's backers greeted the fall.

The challenger needed all the grooming his attendants could give him in the interval. To some it seemed as if nothing could enable him to come to the scratch again, but they were counting without the man's nerve and sound condition. When time was called he rose from his brother's knee and walked forward slowly but steadily. The last clip to the , right eye in the third round had almost closed it and he showed that he had suffered. Broome, however, was not without marks of conflict as he came forward. Orme's body smashes had cut and welted his flesh,
which was plainly soft. Both were feeling the heat of the sun.

Orme Is Savage.

If Broome's backers expected to see Orme fight shy and shun conclusions after the punishment he had received they were disappointed. The challenger's blood was up and he was determined to overcome the lead which Broome had taken. He led off for the fifth round, and the champion dodged away escaping a nasty right drive. Orme pressed on and Broome swept his left to the damaged right eye. He tried to repeat, but Orme stopped the blow and whirled in with one, two to the body. They exchanged harmless swings out of distance, they clashed more fiercely. Broome ripped a right to the side of the head and left to the eye once more, and Orme pounded steadily at the ribs, doing considerable execution and varying suddenly with a flush hit to the mouth that drove the champion away.

They paused and breathed a moment, when Broome went again upon the warpath. He smashed right to head and left to the much hammered eye and skillfully got away without a return, stopping Orme's well aimed drives. He tried the trick again, but Orme parried, feinted and swung in safety, retreating when Broome continued to press on. This was not at all what Orme had planned, and, rallying suddenly, he charged, smashing through a telling haymaker to the ribs and getting away skillfully . The blow taught Broome caution and sapped him visibly. This was the point where Orme began to show his one weakness in the game. Instead of following his advantage and speeding the pace while his adversary faltered, he was content to spar along in search of another opening. Had he pressed an aggressive campaign at this point, as he was physically capable of doing, it was believed by the experts present that Broome could never have rallied. The long distance maneuvering which intervened here gave the champion a chance to recover strength and wind. Orme seemed never to take the offensive except in-retaliation. After some wary feinting and circling Broome pluckily crept in to close quarters again and slid through a pretty tap to Orme's eye, repeating the message almost immediately Orme came back with another hummer to the ribs, and they mixed it wildly, taking and giving in a rough exchange. Broome had steadied wonderfully, and with lightning swiftness shot left to mouth and left and right to either cheek, drawing claret Orme rushed to deliver payment, and Broome, unable to trip the measure, swerved out of his course as before and ran into a corner, where he could prepare to repel the charge.

The challenger came on. and Broome cleverly shifting, met him with a heavy left to the face. Orme was shaken, but countered to the body and drove Broome away. The champion, fighting desperately, slashed once more to the face and under cover of the blow dodged and ran into the opposite corner. Orme was still alter him and Broome stood up for a terrific rally in which he peppered the face time and again while Orme ripped repeatedly to the ribs. Neither would yield, and they fought each other literally TO a standstill. Broome" had much the worst of the interview and drew off. blowing. Orme still failed to profit by opportunity and stood with lowered hands until Broome was ready to resume.

The champion began again -with a rap to the face, but failed to recover in time. Orme came back with a terrific left drive that caught Broome fairly on the nose, slammed to the ribs, brushed aside Broome's volleyed left and right and ripped a slasher to the left eyebrow, inflicting a deep, perpendicular cut. Broome was almost blinded and drew off. blinking and Rubbing his eyes Again Orme. with rare generosity,refused to accept the advantage and waited Broome was presently able to proceed and went at his man Courageously. They mixed it at short arm, Then Orme suddenly slipped on the turf and went down, bringing to a close a sixteen minute round, one of the longest and most severe ever recorded in a championship contest. Orme had plainly had the best of it and was cheered to the echo.

Each Man to His Limit.

There was little to choose between the two Harrys when they came puffing to the scratch for the sixth round Both were greatly disfigured, battered, welted and distressed for wind, but still eager and ready for trouble. Broome tapped to the face and Orme missed a vicious right swing, taking one on the mouth but stopping Its double neatly. Orme then rushed when Broome reopened his damaged eyebrow and cheeked him with a straight lunge to the mouth. Again Orme charged and Broome got home a third claret drawing smash to the mouth. The challenger, balked at every point and covered with crimson, was all for mixing it. but Broome closed, threw him and landed on top, ending a round which was his all the way

It was right now to the limit of each man's endurance Broome knew that his opponent would make Every effort to cancel the lost round, and discounted Orme's eagerness by opening the seventh round himself with admirable dash and spirit. He led off heavily with his left, but Orme parried scientifically, also stopping right and left drives that followed. The challenger whipped over a smacking hit to the left eye and unlimbered to square the account, taking the initiative and forcing Broome to break ground before his impetuous advance. He swung to the body, but was reckless, and the champion, ever alert slammed to the left eye with good effect. This checked Orme and they stood knee to knee for a rally the like of which had not yet been seen during the battle. Guarding was forgotten In the pile driver give and take the common purpose being to land a crushing blow at any cost. Orme got home to the face and took a receipt in kind jammed to the ribs and winced under a smash to his bad eye. Neither had the advantage in this hammer and tongs exchange, but each altered his adversary's appearance considerably. Orme playing for the body, with an occasional swing to the head. Each concentrated his attention upon the others frontispiece. The interview was to severe to last and they finally closed, falling together.

The cheering from about the ring was now continuous .Odds had fallen to even money, and the best of the judges could make no forecast. Such fighting swept away all calculation, unprecedented as it was within the memory of the generation.. Broome, after opening the eighth round with cautions sparring, recommenced with a ripper to the right cheek. Orme got to the body, and the champion planted both fists on face and ear. They milled fiercely for several minutes, when Orme once more took the upper hand and drove his man away with tremendous rib searchers Broome, cornered, once more turned his back and ran, but Orme was at his heels, rocked him right and left, and finally gave him a smash flush to the nose that sent him reeling to fall at the other end of the ring. It was the first knockdown blow and was received with great applause.

The champion was plainly in distress when he came to the centre again. His body was beaten. to a pulp and his left eye was closing. Orme was in little better case, but neither seemed to be a with less strong or willing for all the punishment. Broome waded in manfully for the ninth round .and whipped out for the face, Orme parrying and coming-back at the body. They exchanged counter hits, when Broome got right and left to either cheek heavily, closed and threw his man handily. The champion was the leader again in the tenth round and both got to work in
sledge hammer style, finally closing at the ropes. Broome hung about the other's neck until Orme hit him off with terrific body jolts. They mixed fiercely in the centre, both doing execution, until Orme slipped and fell.

Orme Still Strong.

It was Broome to the charge again in the eleventh, which he opened with a rattling hit to the jaw. Orme came back strong, and in the mutual attempt to force the pace some tremendous fighting ensued. At this stage of the contest both were landing their hardest, and the desperate spurt lasted until they fell into a clinch from sheer exhaustion. Each was hammered out of human semblance, and Broome's body was a mass of wounds. So far the battle had been a steady crescendo and the limit had now been reached "When they joined for the twelfth round both showed signs of: weariness.

Orme led off and on the second attempt hooked heavily to the ribs, Broome wincing from the pain, but countering courageously to the jaw. Orme feigned a retreat, but was ready as the champion pressed on and slammed neatly to the face. Broome laid open a fresh cut under Orme's left eye, and after some rapid milling Orme fell. The next two rounds showed the same hard fighting, without advantage to either, both exhibiting marvelous strength and stamina.

They came to the centre slowly for the fifteenth round and stood a moment, when Broome drove off Orme's attack with the left to the face. Orme then sent his right crashing to the ribs, taking four rapid taps to the face. Irritated, the challenger rushed and struck a glancing blow to the ribs. His own Impetus carried him full against a beautiful uppercut which Broome sent sweeping in to the body. It was a decisive blow, and Orme wilted, falling In a heap, while the champion's supporters hailed him as the victor. Their verdict was premature, however, for the game challenger, though greatly shaken, was able to walk to his corner.

It was evident that Broome had turned the tide when the men clashed for the sixteenth round. Orme was wild, and his determined rush only brought him within reach of Broome's punishing swings. As they closed Orme did some heavy drubbing about the body, but Broome threw him. The next five sessions were brief and Orme was thrown each time. He was now all but blind from Broome's constant peppering. The champion still had one good eye, and though terribly marked was slowly improving his lead.

Orme rallied once more for the twenty-second round and led off with a rush. Broome ripped a stinger to the left cheek, but Orme drove him until he closed ft save himself. They staggered against the ropes, where Broome hung about his man's neck in an attempt to drag him down. Orme made the most of the chance, using Broome for a bag, doubling him up and knocking him away with tremendous jolts.The champion erred here and gave away chances becoming to close quarters, since Orme's aim was bad at long range. They exchanged battering blows in the
centre of the ring, Broome carving the face and Orme getting in well on the body and once to the left eye. The champion retreated craftily, and when Orme rushed up smashed him on the head. Both fell, much distressed, and lay on the turf under the care of their attendants until time was called.

Orme led the dance again at the twenty-third round. Broome checked him severely with right and left to mouth and nose, but Orme returned savagely to the ribs with his reliable right and when Broome came back with a rattling volley at the head slugged him on the law, knocking him clear across the railing, to fall in his own corner. The surprising reverse was hailed with delight by Orme's backers. The challenger showed here that he was far from beaten so far as courage and strength went. His only handicap was his blindness. which was now almost complete, and which placed him practically at the mercy of his antagonist Had he been able to keep his sight, in the opinion of good judges, he would have outworn the champion from this round on.

End of the Contest.

Orme tried to feel his way into the next round, but Broome ducked away from him, waiting for an opening The challenger came on and shot out right and left getting the second home prettily to Broome’s eye and tapping the crimson. Broome cross-countered to the nose and Orme stood helplessly while the champion coolly walked to his corner.; swabbed his eye with a sponge and came back again. He stepped up to his man confidently, lashed out to the face and while Orme was falling repeated the blow. Orme tried a charge in the next session and slammed
Broome over the head, at which the champion immediately Closed and through him.

The challenger was now proving himself the gamest of the game. He came boring into the twenty-sixth round and could not be stopped by smash after smash to the face Getting- into distance where he could feel his man. he put himself behind a magnificent drive to the body and they mixed it to a standstill. By mutual consent they interrupted a long mill to be swabbed by their seconds and after clashing again with renewed, vigor they closed and went down together. Orme got in another haymaker to the ribs in the next session and Broome. In skipping away from him, went down.

The challencer also lauded a blow in the twenty-seventh Round but he could no longer direct his efforts and Broome was all over him, further slicing his battered face Still Orme fought on, though his strength was going fast under terrible punishment, and attempted another rush in the twenty-ninth round.

Broome guarded, but the desperate Orme was not to be denied his consolation, and reaped through once more and for the lust time to the body. The champion, none too steady himself, missed an uppercut. but got in with his left to the eye and followed it with a staggering smash straight to the face that slid over Orme's feeble guard and sent him to measure his length.

Orme's attendants were willing to toss up the sponge. but he would not hear of it. He went weaving into the thirtieth round, wild and groggy, leading with a right drive that Broome stopped, laughing the while. Once more he charged, helpless but defiant. Broome stepped quietly aside and delivered right and left hard to the face. Orme dropped. His seconds urged him to quit, but again he refused, though It seemed impossible that be could make another effort. He remained outstretched on the ground until time was called, when he rose painfully to his feet.

Cries of admiration and pity came from the throng as the brave fighter, beaten In body but not in spirit, came tottering to the scratch for the thirty-first round. He reached out a hand until he touched Broome's arm, then strove manfully to strike a blow. The champion easily evaded him and had every chance to do an Injury, but was merciful. Stepping up, he tapped Orme lightly and the challenger fell, helpless and on the
verge of insensibility. "Tom" Sayers -waited no longer for permission, but tossed up the sponge and Harry Broome was once more proclaimed champion of England, amid shouts that were as much a tribute to the vanquished as to the conqueror.

The battle had lasted two hours and eighteen minutes of clean, honest fighting such as the prize ring had seldom seen.