Kiwi as

115 years ago, today, our keen individual who inspires and surprises created history when he became the first?man to win world professional boxing titles in three weight divisions.

On 25 November 1903 Timaru boxer Bob Fitzsimmons won the light-heavyweight championship to become the first winner of the heavyweight, middleweight and light-heavyweight divisions.?Quote.

Fitzsimmons came to New Zealand with his family from Cornwall as a 10-year-old. Working his father?s blacksmith?s forge developed the powerful arms and shoulders, which made him a devastating puncher.

Fitzsimmons arrived in America in 1890. The following year he became world middleweight champion by knocking out Jack Dempsey. In 1897 Fitzsimmons won the world heavyweight crown, knocking out James J. Corbett in the first fight to be filmed.

In 1903, aged 40, Fitzsimmons completed a hat-trick of titles by outpointing George Gardner over 20 rounds for the light-heavyweight title. He lost this in 1905, but continued to fight until 1914. In all he won 40 bouts, drew 13 and lost 9.

Fitzsimmons also fought exhibition bouts against his son, Robert, appeared in vaudeville shows, and worked as an evangelist.

Bob Fitzsimmons died of pneumonia in Chicago in 1917. He was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1995. End of quote.

Some more about Bob:?Quote.

Robert Fitzsimmons, known as Bob Fitzsimmons, and in boxing circles as ‘Ruby Robert’ and ‘the Freckled Wonder’, was born at Helston, Cornwall, England, on 26 May 1863. He was the youngest of 12 children of James Fitzsimmons, a policeman, and his wife, Jane Strongman, who with their five youngest children arrived in New Zealand on the Adamant in 1873 and settled in Timaru.

James Fitzsimmons set up a blacksmith’s forge in Timaru. After completing his education at the Timaru Main School, Bob joined his father and his brother Jarrett to learn the trade. His work at the forge developed the powerful arms and shoulders which made him such a devastating puncher when he took up boxing. His upper body formed a marked contrast to his spindly legs.

In 1880 the famous British pugilist Jem Mace visited New Zealand and organised a boxing tournament in Timaru. Fitzsimmons entered and won the tournament, knocking out four opponents in one night. He won the tournament again the following year and turned professional, fighting with marked success in Australia from 1882 to 1890. He then sailed for San Francisco, arriving on 10 May 1890. After winning three bouts he was matched with Jack Dempsey, ‘the Nonpareil’, for the world middleweight championship in New Orleans on 14 January 1891. Fitzsimmons caused an upset by knocking the champion out in the 13th round.

Fitzsimmons found difficulty in making the middleweight limit and began fighting as a heavyweight. (The light-heavyweight class was not introduced until 1903.) However, he reduced his weight in 1894 to defend his title against Dan Creedon, a New Zealander from Invercargill. Creedon had campaigned with considerable success in Australia and the United States, but Fitzsimmons knocked him out in the second round.

On 17 March 1897 Fitzsimmons, by now an American citizen, became heavyweight champion of the world when he knocked out James J. Corbett in 14 rounds at Carson City, Nevada. At 11 stone 13 pounds Fitzsimmons conceded 16 pounds to Corbett and he remains the lightest boxer to hold the world heavyweight title. […]

Fitzsimmons visited New Zealand in 1910 and was f?ted like royalty, especially in Timaru. During his boxing career he made a number of appearances on the vaudeville stage. His speaking voice was high and penetrating and he never forgot his lines. […]

Bob Fitzsimmons had a freckled face and thin, sandy hair. He was widely respected for his integrity and the high standards of behaviour instilled by his religiously minded parents. As a boxer he ranks among the world’s greatest. End of quote.