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The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia -- American Bare Knuckle Champion

Joe Coburn
(Joseph Henry Coburn)

BORN   July 29 1835; Middletown County, Armagh, Ireland
DIED    December 6 1890; New York, New York
HEIGHT 5-9 1/4
WEIGHT 154-190  lbs
Coburn was an intelligent, crafty battler who was quick and agile; His footwork was good and he hit with two fast hands

From the Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle (June 12 1863) --

May  1 Edmund "Ned" Price        Spy Pond, Ma                         D 160
          -Middleweight Championship of America;
           Bare Knuckles were used for this fight

       Jim Hughes                                                   SCH   
          -This fight was scheduled; The outcome is not known
Aug  7 Patsy Flynn               New York, NY                         W  4
          -Some sources report Oct 1857
Nov 11 Harry Gribben                                                SCH   
          -This fight was scheduled but postponed; 
           Coburn injured a leg during training
Nov 19 Harry Gribben             Bertie County, Can                   W 21
          -Some sources report "KO 21"
Dec    John C. Heenan            New York, NY                        EX   

Feb 15 an unnamed opponent       New York, NY                        EX   
Mar 22 Evans                     Boston, Ma                          EX   
Mar 22 Jones                     Boston, Ma                          EX   
          -The previous 2 bouts were held the same date

Mar 24 Young Crow                New York, NY                        EX   

          -Coburn challenged John C. Heenan to a fight for the
           Heavyweight Championship of America; Heenan refused 
          -Coburn claimed the Heavyweight Championship of America

Jan 28 "Professor" William Clark New York, NY                         W   
          -Blackened gloves were used for this fight;
           The most clean hits won
Apr 16 Mike Norton               New York, NY                        EX   
May  5 Mike McCoole              Charlestown, Md                      W 67
          -Heavyweight Championship of America
Jun 11 Mike Norton               Brooklyn, NY                       SCH   
          -This fight was scheduled but not held;
           Norton did not show
Jun 11 Jem Jennings              Brooklyn, NY                        EX   

Dec    -Coburn challenged Tom King, the English Champion;
           King said he was retiring from pugilism and declined
Dec    -Coburn challenged Jem Mace, the former English Champion;
           Mace declined by saying he would not fight in America;
           Coburn went to Ireland to set up a match

Oct  4 Jem Mace                  Pierstown, Ire                     SCH   
          -This fight was scheduled but cancelled; 
           Coburn and Mace could not agree on a referee
Oct 10 -Mike McCoole challenged Coburn to a fight
Oct 14 Jem Mace                  in Ireland                         SCH   
          -This fight was temporarily arranged but fell through

          -Coburn was challenged by Jimmy Elliott to a fight
           for the Heavyweight Championship of America; Coburn 
           refused and retired (only to return later); 
           Elliott claimed the title

Oct 26 Matthew "Rocky" Moore     New York, NY                        EX   

May 27 Mike McCoole              Cold Spring Station, In            SCH   
          -This fight was scheduled but not held;
           Police intervened and prevented the fight;
           Coburn and his trainer, Jim Cusick, were 
           arrested; Some sources report 9/19/68
Jul 27 Jem Ward                  New York, NY                       SCH   
          -This exhibition bout was scheduled; The outcome is not known

Jun 14 Jem Mace                  Newark, NJ                          EX   
Jun 15 Jem Mace                  Paterson, NJ                        EX   
Jun 16 Jem Mace                  Jersey City, NJ                     EX   
Jul  2 Jem Mace                  New York, NY                        EX   

May 11 Jem Mace                  Port Ryeson, Can                     D  1
          -Heavyweight Championship of the World;
           Heavyweight Championship of America;
           Neither man struck a blow; Police intervened
Jun  2 Jem Mace                  Kansas City, Mo                    SCH   
          -This fight was scheduled but not held;
           Coburn did not show up
Nov 30 Jem Mace                  Bay St. Louis, La                    D 12
          -Heavyweight Championship of the World;
           Heavyweight Championship of America;
           Mace injured a hand in the fifth round;
           Some sources report Mississippi Station, Ms

Jan 24 -Coburn seconded Steve Taylor vs John J. Dwyer in New York, NY
Aug  9 John J. Dwyer             Brooklyn, NY                         L   
          -This was a wrestling match; Falls : 1-2
Aug 30 John J. Dwyer             New York, NY                        ND 11
          -Coburn’s referee called Coburn the winner;
           Dwyer’s referee called it a draw;
           The verdict was not resolved
Sep  2 William Miller            Cincinnati, Oh                      EX   

Mar  6 -Coburn was sentenced to ten years in prison
           for felonious assault with intent to kill
           policeman William Tobias in New York, NY
           on February 16, 1877

Dec  7 -Coburn was released from prison
Dec 28 John L. Sullivan          New York, NY                        EX  3

Jan 20 John L. Sullivan          Buffalo, NY                         EX   
Jan 23 John L. Sullivan          Toronto, Ont, Can                   EX   
Jan 29 John L. Sullivan          Troy, NY                            EX  3
Feb    John L. Sullivan          Rochester, NY                       EX   
Mar  1 "Professor" William Clark New York, NY                        EX  3
Mar 13 John L. Sullivan          New York, NY                        EX  3
Mar 19 John L. Sullivan          Boston, Ma                          EX  3
Apr 20 Herbert Slade             Troy, NY                            EX  3
Apr 23 Herbert Slade             New York, NY                        EX   
Apr 27 Herbert Slade             New York, NY                        EX  3
May 15 -Coburn proposed a fight between John L. Sullivan
           and Charlie Mitchell at Long Island, NY that was
           scheduled but fell through
Jun    Charlie Mitchell          Syracuse, NY                        EX  3

Dec  2 "Professor" William Clark New York, NY                        EX   

May 17 -Coburn was arrested on charges of robbery,
           $950 from Charles Carter at Coburn's saloon;
           Later, Carter dropped the charges and Coburn
           was released
Aug  1 Bob Farrell               Cincinnati, Oh                      EX  5
Aug 17 -Coburn got into a skirmish with a police officer
           and an onlooker but was not imprisoned
Oct 12 Charlie Mitchell          Auburn, NY                          EX   

Jul 24 Harry Umlah               Scranton, Pa                       SCH   
          -This fight was scheduled; The outcome is not known;
            Some sources report "Harry Dunlap"

Nov 16 -Coburn was arrested for being under the influence
           and for wrangling with a man on the street in 
           New York; He was released

Apr  9 "Nonpareil" Jack Dempsey  Boston, Ma                          EX   
Dec 14 "Professor" William Clark St. Louis, Mo                        L  3
          -Blackened gloves were used for this bout;
           The most clean hits won
Dec 18 Tom Kelly                 St. Louis, Mo                       EX  3
Dec 19 -Coburn refereed the J. Daly-J. Victor bout in St. Louis, Mo

Sep  9 Dominick McCaffrey        New York, NY                       SCH   
          -This bout was scheduled but not held;
           Coburn did not show

       Billy McLean                                                  EX   
          -Some sources report "D"

*** Much Data Was Provided By William Schutte ***

*** Assistance Was Provided By Tony Triem ***

*** Assistance Was Provided By Sergei Yurchenko ***

Review courtesy of Tracy Callis, Historian, International Boxing Research Organization