Jump to content

Jack Petersen


Recommended Posts

One of the best Welsh and British heavyweights of the pre-world war 2 era, Jack Petersen was one of the best heavyweights from Britain that also never fought for a world title. He did capture the British and Commonwealth titles and defeat notable fighters like Len Harvey, Larry Gains, Ben Foord and Jock McAvoy and ended his career with a record of 35 wins, scoring 21 ko's, and 5 losses. Petersen was a strong, tough and durable brawler with power and was only knocked out for real once, at the end of his career.


Born John Charles Petersen, 2 September 1911 in Cardiff and raised there, he was the son of a massage specialist. He grew to be nearly 6'2 and started boxing as amateur in the light heavyweight division, becoming the British champion in 1931. He had a magnificient physique for a boxer of that time and was very well conditioned of course. He turned pro 21 September of that 1931. His first 4 fights didn't go the distance. He won 14 fights altogether before facing the guy with the unfortunate name of Dick Power on 3 February 1932 in a fight for the Welsh BBC title and winning by a stunning knockout in only 21 seconds. In May he also won the BBC light heavyweight title on points against Harry Crossley, but relinquished it without defending. He then won the full British heavyweight title in July by KO2 against Reggie Meen and defended it against Jack Pettifer in January 1933, by KO12. In May he scored a first round ko against German Hein Mueller. He made one more defense of the British title by disqualification win against Jack Doyle before losing it on points to Len Harvey, one of the best British fighters of that era. It was 30 November 1933 at Royal Albert Hall and Harvey took a 15-round decision home. Next year, Petersen faced the South African Ben Foord for the first time. Foord was known as a durable fighter with good power and the fight was a slugfest from start to finish, which happened in round 13, when Petersen prevailed by TKO. He then faced Len Harvey again in the rematch, this time with the Commonwealth title on the line as well, 4 June 1934 at White City Stadium. Petersen the underdog produced his best victory when he stopped the English favorite by TKO 12.


He made his first defense of the Commonwealth belt against the very solid Canadian Larry Gains, a black fighter who had been avoided by some top names previously and had defeated Primo Carnera. Petersen, 10 years the younger man, was dominant for 12 rounds before stopping him by TKO in round 13, again at the White City Stadium in London. He defended both belts for the first time against George Cook, a tough trialhorse, and won by UD15 at the end of 1934. He then fought the young German Hans Neusel in a non-title fight on 4 February next year and surprisingly lost by corner retirement after round 11. Neusel, known as "Der Blonde Tiger", was equally tall but weighed 17 pounds more, which might have been a factor in the outcome. Judging by his nickname, he was obviously an aggressive fighter and had enough power. In the rematch on 25 June, Petersen did well and closed Neusel's eye, but seemed to gas after round 10 and refused to continue, even though Neusel appeared as tired as he. After the two disappointing losses, he parted ways with his father who had been his manager and started managing himself. He again defended his titles against Len Harvey and won their trilogy with a decision at Wembley, 29 January 1936. He then faced the hard-punching "Rochdale Thunderbolt" Jock McAvoy, who had a record of 104-8-11 and was also one of the best British boxers at the time, holding both the middleweight and light heavyweight British and Commonwealth titles. Petersen outweighed him significantly at 190 to 178 pounds and won on points once again, 23 April at Earls Court in Kensington.


He then experienced a shock loss in a rematch with Ben Foord, when he was stopped by TKO 3, losing his titles. The fight was at Wedford Stadium in Leicester on 17 August. It was meant to be a tune-up fight for another rematch with Len Harvey. He then faced Neusel for the third time on 1 February 1937 and again was beaten by a corner retirement after 10 rounds. With that, he retired, only aged 25. He joined the army in the second world war and eventually became the staff officer in charge of physical training for his division. After the war he started working for the British Boxing Board of Control, becoming their representative for Wales. Jack Petersen died 22 November 1990 of lung cancer, aged 79.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...