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The Great John L. Sullivan


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The man they called "The Boston Strong Boy" was one of the most popular boxers ever to step in the ring, even though he fought well over 100 years ago, when boxing was still an "illegal" event in most states.


John L. Sullivan was born in 1858 and only stood just over 5'10", but had a very solid physique usually weighing in around the 190lbs mark.


Sullivan started fighting in amatuer competitions around the age of eighteen. When he was nineteen years old, he attended a local Opera House where part of the act was for a heavyweight boxer who performed on the night to challenge a member of the audience. As history has it, the participant on the night was none other than John L. After being king hit, Sullivan went on the attack and quickly knocked his opponent out of the ring, thus starting his professional career.


His first professional fight was in 1878 against a fighter by the name of Cockey Woods with whom Sullivan knocked out in the fifth round. A year after this fight, Sullivan had beaten Paddy Ryan by KO to claim the Bareknuckle Heavyweight Championship of the world.


His gruelling 75 round fight against Jake Kilrain in 1889 was recorded as the last championship to be fought with bare knuckles.


John L. Sullivan compiled a record of somewhere between 35-48 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss. The exact number of fights John L was involved in is often disputed, mainly due to numerous exhibition bouts he fought. His only knockout loss came at the hands of Gentleman Jim Corbett in 1892 whilst fighting for the first Heavyweight Championship of the World under The Marquis Of Queensbury Rules.



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