Frank Childs

Last updated
Frank Childs
Nickname(s)The Crafty Texan
Weight(s) Heavyweight
Height5 ft 9.5 in (1.77 m)
Nationality American
Born(1867-07-17)July 17, 1867
DiedJune 20, 1936(1936-06-20) (aged 68)
Waukegan, Illinois
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights58
Wins by KO25

Frank Childs (born July 17, 1867, Texas; died June 20, 1936, Waukegan, Illinois [1] ), "The Crafty Texan", was an African American boxer who fought professionally out of Chicago from 1892 to 1911 and twice held the World Colored Heavyweight Championship. Fighting at a weight of between 160 and 185 lbs., the short, stocky Childs fought middleweights, light-heavyweights and heavyweights. He had a powerful punch. [2]

The World Colored Heavyweight Championship was a title awarded to black boxers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This was the only recognized heavyweight championship available to blacks prior to Jack Johnson winning the world heavyweight title in 1908. The title continued to exist until the reign of Joe Louis as universally recognized champ, as the color bar against black heavyweights was enforced during and for a generation after Jack Johnson's reign as world champ.



He made his pro boxing debut on February 18, 1892 in Los Angeles against French Canadian George LaBlanche from Quebec, knocking him out in the third round. They fought again on March 24, with four-ounce gloves. In the eighth round, LaBlanche grabbed Childs by the waist, threw him to the canvas, and then kicked him. The badly hurt Childs got up and wrestled LaBlanche, putting him in a half-nelson before elevating LaBlanche and throwing him. The police stopped the fight and the referee awarded Childs the decision after disqualifying LaBlanche.

Childs fought 15 more bouts before getting a shot at the colored heavyweight title. Along the way, he fought Bob Armstrong, the colored heavyweight champ, in a six-round non-title contest held on March 7, 1897 in Philadelphia. Childs won on points. His fight before that had been with white heavyweight contender Joe Choynski (the mentor of future colored heavyweight and world heavyweight title-holder Jack Johnson), who won by knockout (K.O.) in the third of a three-round fight.

Bob Armstrong (boxer) American boxer

Bob Armstrong, was a heavyweight boxer known as the "King of the Battle Royal". He was born in Rogersville, Tennessee, but he moved with his family to Washington, Ohio when he was three years old.

Joe Choynski American boxer

Joseph Bartlett Choynski was an American boxer who fought professionally from 1888 to 1904.

Jack Johnson (boxer) American boxer, became the first African-American world heavyweight champion

John Arthur Johnson, nicknamed the Galveston Giant, was an American boxer who, at the height of the Jim Crow era, became the first African American world heavyweight boxing champion (1908–1915). Among the period's most dominant champions, Johnson remains a boxing legend, with his 1910 fight against James J. Jeffries dubbed the "fight of the century". According to filmmaker Ken Burns, "for more than thirteen years, Jack Johnson was the most famous and the most notorious African-American on Earth". Transcending boxing, he became part of the culture and the history of racism in America.

In the intervening thirteen months before Armstrong gave him a shot for the title, Childs squared off on January 8, 1898 at Chicago's 2nd Regiment Armory against a boxer named Klondike (real name John Haines or John W. Haynes), so called because he was supposed to be a great find (evoking the Klondike Gold Rush). It was Klondike's first fight, and he was K.O.-ed by Childs. Klondike would go on to beat future world heavyweight champ Jack Johnson in Johnson's third pro fight and claim what he called the "Black Heavyweight Championship".

Klondike was an African American boxer billed as "The Black Hercules" who declared himself the black heavyweight champion. Born John Haines or John W. Haynes, the 6' tall Klondike fought out of Chicago as a heavyweight at a weight of 190 to 200 lbs. from 1898 to 1911. He took the nickname because he was supposed to be a great find.

Klondike Gold Rush 1890s migration

The Klondike Gold Rush was a migration by an estimated 100,000 prospectors to the Klondike region of the Yukon in north-western Canada between 1896 and 1899. Gold was discovered there by local miners on August 16, 1896, and, when news reached Seattle and San Francisco the following year, it triggered a stampede of prospectors. Some became wealthy, but the majority went in vain. It has been immortalized in photographs, books, films, and artifacts.

Childs and Klondike would meet again, frequently, as African American boxers were forced to fight one another often due to the color bar.

Racial segregation separation of humans

Racial segregation is the systemic separation of people into racial or other ethnic groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, riding on a bus, or in the rental or purchase of a home or of hotel rooms. Segregation is defined by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance as "the act by which a person separates other persons on the basis of one of the enumerated grounds without an objective and reasonable justification, in conformity with the proposed definition of discrimination. As a result, the voluntary act of separating oneself from other people on the basis of one of the enumerated grounds does not constitute segregation". According to the UN Forum on Minority Issues, "The creation and development of classes and schools providing education in minority languages should not be considered impermissible segregation, if the assignment to such classes and schools is of a voluntary nature".

World Colored Heavyweight Champ

Childs first fought for the World Colored Heavyweight crown on January 29, 1898, knocking out colored champion Bob Armstrong in the second round. On February 26, he defended the title against Klondike on a technical knock-out in the fourth round of a scheduled six-round bout. In another six-round defense held in Chicago on June 3, he retained the title by drawing with Charley Strong, who had fought Armstrong for the title vacated by Peter Jackson.

Peter Jackson (boxer) heavyweight boxer from Australia

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In his next fight on September 4 of that year, he lost the title to George Byers on points in a 20-rounder. Regardless of losing the title, Childs fought Armstrong again on March 4, 1899 in Cincinnati, Ohio in a fight announced as a title bout, despite Byers being the legitimate champion. Childs defeated Armstrong via a TKO in the sixth round of a 10-round bout.

On August 11, 1899, he won the "Black Heavyweight Championship" claimed by Klondike Haynes in a six-round contest in Chicago by outpointing the so-called "Black Hercules". On October 28 of that year, they met in a rematch in Chicago in which Childs retained the black heavyweight title by kayoing Haynes in the third round of a six-round contest.

On March 16, 1900, Childs put his black heavyweight title on the line and Byers put up his coloured heavyweight crown in a six-round bout that ended in a draw. He next fought Joe Butler on December 15, 1900 for the black heavyweight title, dispatching Butler via KO in the sixth. Finally, he took back the Coloured World Heavyweight Championship legitimately from Byers on March 16, 1901 in Hot Springs, Arkansas, kayoing him in the 17th round of a 20-round fight. (He did not put up his black heavyweight title, which he never claimed again.)

He lost the coloured heavyweight title to Denver Ed Martin in a bout in Chicago on February 25, 1902, being out-pointed in a six-round contest. Not one to surrender a title easily, he billed his October 9, 1902 fight with Joe Walcott as a defence of his coloured heavyweight title. He beat Walcott via a TKO in the 3rd round when Walcott quit, claiming that he was injured. Childs was winning the fight at the time.

Requiem for a Heavyweight

Jack Johnson eliminated any pretensions Childs had to the colored crown when he beat him via TKO in the 12th round of a fight on October 21, 1902 in Los Angeles. Childs's corner claimed he dislocated his elbow. He lost to Joe Choynski on December 1, 1902, being outpointed in a six-rounder. After a 16-month lay-off, he beat Chicago Jack Johnson (not the future champion) on successive days in March 1904, knocking him out in the 2nd both times.

The real Jack Johnson had won the colored heavyweight title from Denver Ed Martin on February 5, 1903, and June 2, 1904 in Chicago, the two champs, the reigning champion and the two-time former champion, met in a six-round bout. Johnson won on points.

He met up with old adversary Klondike Haynes on July 7 of that year and KO'd him in the 8th. There was no talk of championships, colored or black. Jack Johnson was the champ. After losing on points to Denver Ed Martin in a six-rounder on November 1, he retired. He came back six years later and fought tyro light-heavyweight Horace "Jack" Taylor on February 2, 1911. The six-round bout, Taylor's second pro fight, resulted in a draw.


In a career that stretched from 1892 to 1911, he racked up a career record of 41 wins (25 by knockout) against nine losses (being KO-ed three times) and eight draws. [3]

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The Black Heavyweight Championship was a title in pretense claimed by the African American boxer Klondike, who was born John Haines or John W. Haynes and by two-time colored heavyweight champ Frank Childs.


  1. Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: "Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916–1947." Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2010. Index entries derived from digital copies of original records.
  2. "Frank Childs (the "Crafty Texan")". Cyber Zone Boxing. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  3. "Frank Childs". BoxRec. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Bob Armstrong
World Colored Heavyweight Champion
January 29 - September 14, 1898
Succeeded by
George Byers
Preceded by
George Byers
World Colored Heavyweight Champion
March 16, 1901 - February 24, 1902
Succeeded by
Ed Martin
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Black Heavyweight Champion
August 11, 1899 - October 21, 1902
Title defunct