1899: Dundalk’s ‘Sailor’ Tom Sharkey challenged for the World heavyweight title at the Conney Island Athletic Club in New York. The Irishman took on the legendary James J Jeffries, starting well but being outpointed after 25 competitive rounds in a repeat of their non-title bout the previous year. A historic fight, the bruising clash was the first ever World title fight recorded on film (and the bright lighting required to facilitate the filming would sear the hair off both fighters’ hair). Jeffries would afterwards label Sharkey as the toughest opponent he had ever faced.
Watch a clip from James J Jeffries v Tom Sharkey below:
1959: Belfast legend Freddie Gilroy defeated champion Piero Rollo to claim the European bantamweight title at the Empire Pool at Wembley. Gilroy comfortably outpointed the Italian over fifteen rounds and would be named the British Boxer of the Year afterwards.