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JAKE KILRAIN'S LIFE AND BATTLES.


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JAKE KILRAIN'S LIFE AND BATTLES.

 

SKETCH OF THE CHAMPION.

 

Jake Kilrain, the American champion, who fought Jem Smith for $10,000, the

"Police Gazette "diamond belt and championship of the world, stands 5 feet 10 ½

 

inches high, and weighs 210 pounds. His chest measurement is 41 inches, upon and

around the biceps 16 inches, forearm 14 inches, waist 34 inches, thigh 25 inches, calf of

leg 16 ¼ inches. He wears a No 9 shoe and No. 9 glove, and it takes a 17 inch collar to

encircle his neck. Kilrain gives the following interesting history of his life

 

" My name is Joseph John Killion. When I was a lad my comrades persisted in calling

me Kilrain, and the name has stuck to me ever since, so I have bowed to the inevitable,

and now write my name 'Kilrain.' I was born at Greenport, Columbia

county, which is in the State of New York, and the date of my nativity is the 9th of

February, 1859, so that I am twenty-eight years of age. I have no regular occupation

other than training athletes and boxing, but in my younger days I worked in a rolling

mill in Somerville, Mass., which is a suburb of Boston. It was here that I developed a

love for athletic sports. In fact they were forced upon me, for in such a large establishment

it was not to be wondered at that there were many good boxers, and as I was a

gawky country boy, I was a mark for all their practical jokes. Sometimes they went too

far, and when I remonstrated they laughed at me. You can bet that made me mad, so

I just made up my mind that I would thrash one or two of these tormentors, and from

that day I was champion of the mill.

 

"The first customer was Jack Daley, who had fought several small ring battles, but

I put him to sleep in short order. My next encounter was with Jem Driscoll, a regular

giant, who, while having little or no science, could hit with the force of a trip hammer.

He hurt me very badly, but I finally wore him down, and when he at last gave up his

mother would scarcely have known him. I next fought Dan Dwyer. It was a long and

bloody fight, but I finally managed to pull through a winner. I was very sore for a

long time and thought I was internally injured. 1 he last man that was pitted against

me was Dennis Roach. He had been imported to the mill with the idea of putting an

end to young Kilrain's run of luck, and they came near doing so, too. I was not very

well when the day for the fight arrived, but knowing full well that I should have been

branded as a coward if 1 backed out, I got into the ring determined to stand up as long

as I was able. My antagonist was a hurricane fighter, and sought to annihilate me in a

couple of rounds. He hit me in the stomach several times, and I thought that I must

give in, but after a little while Roach's blows got weaker, and finding he could not hurt

me much, I fought with him, and by a judicious use of my left hand managed to close

up his eyes. Roach was willing to keep on fighting, although he could not see. Finally

his friends took him away, and that ended my fighting career in the mill."

 

He took to rowing, and was one of the winning crew in a four-oared race on Lake

Waldron. This appeared to whet Kilrain's appetite for boating, and in 1883 we find

him competing successfully for the Junior sculling championship at the National

Amateur Regatta, held at Newark, N. J. Of course, when President Garfield, of the

National Association, learned the identity of " Killion," and discovered him to be a professional pugilist, he at once took steps for an investigation, and Mr. "Killion" and

Mr. Kilrain ceased to be an amateur oarsman. His next appearance in a racing boat

was on the Charles River, when he was one of a four-oared Hull boat crew. They

rowed against the Middlesex and Riverside crews, and beat them both. A few weeks

later on he formed part of a four-oared crew which rowed in the Union Boat Club

regatta on the Charles River, and won the prize. The same crew was one of the

entries in the Fourth of July regatta of 1883, but suffered defeat, rowing second to the

Middlesex crew, which was accounted one of the best amateur fours.

 

" In the winter of 1883 I launched out as a down-right professional pugilist. I obtained

a situation in the Boston Cribb Club, where I was assistant to Jem M'Carthy.

Here I got more hard knocks than wealth, but I gained a good deal of experience.

While employed in the Cribb Club I was called upon to face some good men. My first

experience was with Harry Allen. We were to have contested six rounds, but I had

Allen knocked out in the very first round. The gentlemen present asked me to ' let up '

on my antagonist. This I did, and he rallied, but made such a poor showing that the

management stopped the fight.

 

"My next antagonist was George Godfrey, the colored pugilist. This was to have

been a six-round fight, but I hit the darkey so hard that he quit in the third round.

" Nothing more was done in 1883, but the following year was a busy one for me.

Jim Goode was pitted against me for a six-round battle. The referee declared it a draw,

but disinterested people say that I should have got the verdict, as Goode was to all intents

and purposes a defeated man.

 

" My next antagonist was Charley Mitchell, with whom I fought a four-round draw.

Then came my encounter with Mike Cleary, which was for four rounds. Despite the

fact that Cleary could scarcely stand at the end of the fourth round, Billy Edwards

declared the contest a draw.

 

"Next in order comes my meeting with Jack Burke. We were to have fought five

rounds, but the first was so hot and heavy that the Boston police got on the stage and

prevented us from finishing the combat ; they allowed us to finish the other four rounds

in a very tame sparring match. A proposition was made to Burke to settle the affair

in some other city, but the Irish lad refused."

 

After this Kilrain took a long rest, and then he went to Bangor, Me., and met a

giant by the name of Jerry Murphy, who stood six feet one inch and weighed 200

pounds. Kilrain almost killed his burly antagonist, and in the middle of the second

round put him to sleep by a right-hander on the jaw.

 

In 1885, at Cambridge, Mass., Kilrain met William Sheriff, the Prussian. They were

to have fought six rounds, but Kilrain knocked his antagonist insensible in two rounds.

The latter was finally restored to consciousness, and then Kilrian sparred a light round

with Sheriff' who could make no showing with his man at all.

 

George Fryer, the English pugilist, was Kilrain's next adversary, and they fought a,

five-round draw. The last victim that Kilrain had in 1885 was Jem M'Glynn, of New

Bedford, Mass. This individual, by the exercise of a lot of pedestrianism, managed to

last through three rounds, then he got hit so hard on the jaw that he quit, refusing to

go on.

 

During the year 1886 Kilrain had many adversaries. The first one to oppose him was

Frank Herald, whom some of the New York newspapers " boosted " into such eminence.

This is the pugilist of whom it was said that James Gordon Bennett offered to subscribe

a purse of $2,000 to fight John L. Sullivan, provided no reporters other than

his own men were allowed to see the battle. Herald and Kilrain met in Baltimore,

Md., and the first-named lasted one short round, Kilrain sending in such a smashing

hit on the jaw that Herald toppled over insensible.

 

Wm. E.'Harding, the sporting editor of the Police Gazette, was referee, but because

the police broke in the ring, he decided the contest a draw, but admitted that if the

round had been finished and the police not stopped hostilities Kilrain would have been

declared the winner, for everyone knew that Herald was whipped.

 

Soon after this Kilrain was hired to spar at the Theatre Comique, Philadelphia, Pa.

The conditions under which he was to draw his salary were that he was to meet a fresh

man every night, and either best his opponent or send him to sleep. This Kilrain did.

He began on Godfrey, who got his quietus in the second round. When Godfrey was

knocked down everyone thought that his neck was broken, and it was hours before he

was restored to consciousness. In fact he has never been the same man since Kilrain's mighty right hand came in contact with his jaw.

 

Tom Kelly managed to stand up three rounds, and part of the fourth round. Then

he was taken to his room in a very demoralized condition. Third on the list was

Denny Killeen, who, though standing up through four rounds, was badly used up.

Killeen was knocked down seven times in the quarter of an hour he faced Kilrain. This was

a wonderful showing for an athlete, and the record stands unrivalled.

 

In 1885 Kilrain had many glove fights. His first battle was with Jack Ashton on

Long Island. Ashton had whipped Dick Collier and won fifteen battles, and many supposed

he would easily defeat Kilrain, but Kilrain won. " Joe Lannon, of Boston, then challenged me to fight with skin gloves. A purse was put up by the Cribb Club, Boston, and Lannon was made a big favorite, because Sullivan, who was then champion, refused to meet him. Lannon managed to stand up for 13 rounds, and then a blow on the point of the jaw made him oblivious to the call of time, and I won. Eichard K. Fox, my backer, then put up $1,000 with the New York Clipper and offered to match me to fight John L. Sullivan for $5,000 or $10,000 a side, or any man in the world, for the ' Police Gazette ' diamond belt and the championship. Sullivan could not be coaxed to fight me, and the match fell through.

"Richard K. Fox then handed me the 'Police Gazette' championship belt and

matched me to fight Jem Smith, the champion of England, for $10,000 and the championship of the world."

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HERE IS SMITH'S RECORD.

 

He was born in the parish of St. Luke's, London, England ; he is 5 feet 8 ¼ inches

high, and fights at 182 pounds ; his physical measurements are as follows : Chest, 40 ¾

inches; waist, 36 ½ inches; hips, 40 ¼ inches; thigh, 24 ½ inches; calf, 16 ¾ inches;

biceps, 15 ¼ inches ; he has weighed, untrained, 212 pounds ; he made his advent in

pugilism in 1882, when he won a boxing competition open to 140-pound pugilists in

London ; same year he defeated Bob Preston in a bare knuckle fight in 8 rounds, occupying

20 minutes, near London, for $40 ; same year in London won the all-England

boxing competition for 154-pound men ; same year, at St. Luke's with bare knuckles,

beat Liddard, middle-weight, in 6 rounds ; same year beat Snavey, of Oliver, 168-

pound man, with gloves, in 4 rounds ; in 1883 won the open boxing competition at the

Blue Anchor, Shoreditch, for middle-weights, defeating Bill Brand, Bob Preston and

Arthur Cooper ; same year beat Bill Davis with knuckles, near London, for $50, time

of fight one hour ; same year beat Henry Arnold, with gloves, for $50, near London,

14 rounds, occupying 55 minutes ; same year at Barket, whipped Skidmore, a 16-stone

man (224 pounds) in 3 rounds, with gloves ; Dec. 17, 1884, defeated Wolff Bendoff in a

hard glove fight to a finish, for $100, and won in 12 rounds. In this fight Smith broke

his left arm in the third round. In 1885, in the heavy-weight glove competition, open

to all comers, at the Blue Anchor, Shoreditch, beat Sugar Goodson, Wanop and Longer,

the last named in the final, winning the competition ; Dec. 16, 1885, at Godstone, England,

for £200 a side and the ring championship of England, beat Jack Davis with bare

knuckles, 4 rounds, lasting 15 minutes ; Feb. 16, at Maison Lafitte, near Paris, France,

for £300 and the championship of England, fought Alfred Greenfield, of Birmingham,

13 rounds. Smith had the best of the fight when Greenfield's partisans broke into the

ring. Jem Mace, the referee, declared the fight a draw. Soon afterward Smith was

matched to fight Jack Knifton, the 81-tonner, as he is called. The men met three times,

once near Paris, France, the second time near London, and the third time in London.

On the first occasion Knifton refused to fight because Smith's friends predominated,

and the police broke up the fight after two meetings.

 

William E. Harding, sporting editor of the Police Gazette, New York, who represented

Richard K. Fox, the backer of Jake Kilrain, the American champion, in his international

battle with Jem Smith, the British Champion, for $10,000, the " Police Gazette "

diamond belt and the championship of the world, was born in Toronto, Canada, of

Irish parents, June 6, 1848. He is a nephew of Ned O'Neale, the Streathem Youth,

who gained fistic glory by his prowess in the prizering.

 

W. E. Harding is well-known in sporting circles all over the country as an accomplished

and thorough athlete, and has been made famous through his various exploits.

From 1863 to 1869 he was the champion runner from one to ten miles distance, and also

held the championship as a fifty-mile walker up to the month of January, 1879. He was

competitor for the title, winning three trials. As a bicycle rider Mr. Harding has attained

the highest place, being acknowledged as the champion for three years, respectively

1870, 71, '72. He has attended all the great fistic battles; witnessed Mike

McCoole defeat Aaron Jones ; was present at Tom Allen's many battles in America,

andwinessed Jem Mace defeat Tom Allen, at New Orleans, in 1870, and filled the

position of referee at glove contests between Charley Mitchell, Jake Kilrain and other

noted exponents of the manly art. He filled the position of referee in the Paddy Smith

and Jemmy Mitchell battle for the "Police Gazette " belt and light-weight championship,

and arranged the prize fight between John L. Sullivan and Paddy Ryan, and represented

Richard K. Fox on that occasion. Since 1867 he has been sporting editor of the

New York Daily and Sunday News, whose columns are regarded as high authority on

all sporting matters, and embrace all the athletic sports of the day. Since Wm. E.

Harding, the once famous runner, champion walker and bicycle rider has been sporting

editor of Richard K. Fox's great sporting paper, the Illustrated Police Gazette of New

York, his energy, enterprise and abilities have been well appreciated by Richard K.

Fox, the "bonanza" sporting promotor of great events, from a boat race to a championship

prize fight, and proprietor of the Police Gazette. On Aug. 1, 1881, Richard

K. Fox presented William E. Harding with a gold watch and chain valued at $500. The

"cap" bears suitable description and name of the donor. On Aug. 1, 1882, as a token of

esteem from Richard K. Fox, he received a diamond collar-button, valued at $250, and a

massive gold locket set with a solitaire diamond, value $100. In August, 1883, Harding

received for his annual present a beautiful scarf pin, set with rubies, sapphires and

diamonds, in the shape of a large "H," valued at $150 : also a large gold shield, valued

at $300, with the words "Police Gazette" set in diamonds and rubies beautifully inscribed.

 

On New Year's day, 1884, he received a large solitaire diamond ring, value

$800, from Richard K. Fox. On August 1, 1884, Harding received for his annual August

present a large horse-shoe scarf pin, made of 22-caret gold. The seven nails are

seven blue mine diamonds of great value. The toe of the shoe is set with diamonds.

In the shoe calks are a large sapphire and a ruby, while from the frog of the shoe is

three initial letters, " W. E. H." set with garnets and diamonds. Attached to the pin

by a unique gold chain is a gold shield, which bears the following: "To William E.

Harding, from Richard K. Fox, proprietor of the Police Gazette, New York, as a token

of appreciation for services as sporting editor, and fidelity as a friend. August 1,

1884." In 1886 he received from Richard K. Fox an elegant gold watch, valued at $200,

and on January 1, 1887, he received a pair Of couplet diamond sleeve buttons, valued at

$500. In every city in the United States and Canada he has received souvenirs and

presents of all descriptions from sporting men with whom he is very popular. He is

not proud nor arrogant, but treats everyone with respect and in a sociable manner.

 

GRAPHIC ACCOUNT OF JAKE KILRAIN'S WONDERFUL BATTLE WITH JEM

SMITH, OF ENGLAND.

[FROM SPECIAL REPORT TO "POLICE GAZETTE."]

 

Paris, Dec. 19, 1887.—Kilrain came as near whipping the champion of England today

as a man could and still miss it. He knocked Jem Smith down thirty odd times in two hours and a half. There was no prospect of Smith winning, and every assurance that Kilrain would knock him out when the fight was called, on account of darkness ostensibly, but really because about 75 Englishmen saw the money that they had placed so radiantly on Smith going rapidly out of sight.

 

It was the most distinguished body of men who ever went to a mill. It cost from

$200 upward to see the muscular giants pound each other into pitiable and bloody helplessness.

 

The distinguished party left the Pelican Club in London on Sunday night and met at the Victoria Station at 8 o'clock, thence by rail to New Haven, where everybody climbed gloomily into a stuffy little boat that ran to Dieppe, in France. After the boat had made enthusiastic and earnest endeavors to turn over twice in different directions at the same time for seven long hours the distinguished party trooped ashore at Dieppe, a landing place that is famous for gloom, dampness and a breakfast of surpassing and spectacular misery. The men looked haggard and worn. It had been a wearisome crossing.

 

The Marquis of Queensberry wandered socially about. He is small, quietly dressed,

and smooth shaven except for two patches of whiskers, and the picture of the conventional

British waiter except that he is vastly more unassuming than that haughty menial. Lord De Clifford was what might be called chummy ; Lord Chareton was inclined to go off Into corners and stare at his boots, and Lord Mayo looked monstrously damp and solemn. Among the others were Captain Lee Barber, Col. Browne, the Hon. Michael Sandy, Arthur Cooper, Count Saville, Capt. Drummond, Mr. Mackey, Capt. Bailey, Willis Wilde, the suave six-foot brother of Oscar, and numerous others.

 

It was a perfectly managed affair. To be discovered meant imprisonment for the

spectators as well as the principles. From point to point of the long railroad journey

that followed, Mr. George Atkinson, editor of the Sporting Life, received messages that

decided his course. Meanwhile another party, consisting of the two fighters and their

seconds, journeyed west from Paris. They met at Rouen. There was another change,

and the whole party journeyed on. It was now about 10 o'clock in the morning, and

members of the party were so badgered and harrassed that they went this way or that

as they were bid like sleepy children.

 

After the train had been running two hours it was discovered that four of Kilrain's

friends had been lost on the way. They were Charley Johnson, Jimmy Wakeley, Phil

Lynch and W. D. Morton. They had traveled 3,000 miles to see the mill, but missed it

at the last minute.

 

At Bonnaires the crowd streamed aboard a solitary tugboat and set off up the river

Siene. There were seventy-eight Englishmen and four Americans on board. Smith

was constantly surrounded by friends, but Jake Kilrain sat almost alone. His friends

were Pony Moore and Charley Mitchell, and mighty good friends they proved to be

later on.

 

The boat ran to a small and swampy island in a marshy part of the river. A twenty-four foot ring was made with stakes and ropes that had been taken along, and at 2 :10 P. M. Smith ran up and bounded into the ring. He looked fit to fight for his life, and the lords and swells and millionaires cheered him to the echo.

 

"If you can't whip the Yankee to-day, Jimmy," yelled an enthusiastic Captain of

dragoons, "you can never do it, you know."

" I'll lay 200 to 100 on Smith," yelled a lord.

" Seventy to 20 on our Jimmie," yelled another.

 

Everywhere the cry was for Smith. His seconds were a noisy, tricky and brutal

Cockney named Jack Baldock and a man named Jack Harper. J. Fleming was timekeeper

and umpire for Smith.

 

Kilrain walked up to the ring amid comparative silence. His face was set and determined.

He knew that he was alone, but for his seconds, Charley Mitchell and Ned Donnelly, and his friend Pony Moore. Charley Rowell was Kilrain's bottle-holder. The fight was for the largest purse ever known in the prize ring Before the battle began W. E. Harding stepped into the ring and handed Kilrain £200 to bet as he chose. It was a present from Richard K. Fox, of the Police Gazette, who backed Kilrain. The Marquis of Queensberry was to have acted as referee, and he was quite willing, too, but there was a hitch, and Mr. Atkinson took his place.

 

The sun came out and brightened up the scene as the men stepped out in the middle

of the ring and looked each other over. They were as well matched as any pair of

gladiators the world has seen. Each weighed about 180 pounds, though Kilrain was

about four pounds the heavier. The men were trained fine, and their muscles played

like steel fibres under satin as they moved about. Each was stripped to the waist.

 

The waists of the men were wound in big plasters to give them strength, and resin was

sprinkled over their bare and knotty hands. The water rippled round the little island,

and some peasants across the river ceased ploughing their field to stare at the crowd

of handsomely dressed Englishmen crowding around two half naked and magnificent looking

men. The cries for Smith rent the air. It was the most important fight since

that of Heenan and Sayers, and everybody knew it.

 

THE FIGHT BEGINS.

 

The referee called time and the two combatants jumped forward. Smith swung his

big arms straight in front of him and danced a bit on his pins. Kilrain, or the Yankee,

as he is called, stood in an easy position with his hands well down and his shoulders

back. Smith looked wicked, Kilrain confident. Smith had fought and defeated such

veteran fighters as Greenfield and Davis. Kilrain had not only never been in the regular

professional prize ring, but he had not even seen a bare knuckle fight. He looked

as clean cut as a race horse.

 

Kilrain made a feint at Smith, let go a low left-hander, and then brought his left in on

the Englishman's jaw with a shock like a sand-club's blow. It was an early and forcible

indication that Kilrain was in earnest. Smith rushed in on him. They clinched and

fell with Smith on top. The cheers of the Englishmen were deafening. Both men

were picked up and carried to their corners.

 

FIRST BLOOD FOR KILRAIN.

 

2- The men sprang at each other hotly. There was a sharp interchange of blows,

and then some terrific slugging followed. Kilrain sent in a slight left-hander that split

Smith's lips up and down and sent the blood spattering over his chest and arms.

Harding claimed first blood for Kilrain and got it. Smith caught Kilrain a swinging

right-hander that nearly ripped Kilrain's ear from his head, and sent the blood streaming

over him, too. The men clinched and fell, with Smith on top.

 

3—Smith rushed and knocked Kilrain down, falling on him heavily. Both men were

now red with blood, and Kilrain's left eye was closed.

 

4—When Kilrain came up for this round there was something in the expression of

lis good eye that caused Smith's seconds to warn him. Kilrain ducked a long blow of

Smith's, and coming up, dealt the Englishman one in the neck that almost put him to

sleep. He hit him again in the same place and threw him heavily by a back lock.

5 to 10—The next six rounds were precisely similar. In every one Smith received

frightful punishment and was thrown at the end of each round.

 

smith's terrible punishment.

 

11—The men stood before each other in a dead silence. The Englishmen who had

been backing a sure thing were startled. The hardest hitter in England was a mass of

blood and bruises. Kilrain's forehead was laid open and his face swollen, but he

smiled quietly as he stepped in front of his man.

 

" You don't think so, Jem," he said softly, " but the fight won't be yours."

Smith made a feint, and a moment later Kilrain shot out his left, and catching the

Briton square on the chin knocked him flat and cold. They picked Smith up, but he

seemed more dead than alive, but he rallied quickly.

 

It is due to Mitchell to say that but for him Kilrain would have fared very much

harder. He resented every display of brutal injustice in the sharpest manner. At one

point after the crowd had howled at him for backing up his principal, he jumped into

the middle of the ring and shouted, shaking his fist, " You dare not maltreat my man.

I blush to have to acknowledge that you are Englishmen. Here's a lade come 3,000 miles

over the sea to fight your champion. He never even saw a prize fight before. He has

no friends here, while there's a hundred against him. He's going to have his rights or

I've got to get licked as well as he."

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