Tommy Watson (boxer)

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Tommy Watson
Real nameThomas Watson
Nickname(s)Seaman Watson
Weight(s) Featherweight
Born(1908-06-02)2 June 1908
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Died27 January 1971(1971-01-27) (aged 62)
Boxing record
Total fights123
Wins by KO27

Thomas Watson (2 June 1908 – 27 January 1971), better known as Tommy Watson or Seaman Watson, was an English boxer who was British featherweight champion between 1932 and 1934.

Boxing combat sport

Boxing is a combat sport in which two people, usually wearing protective gloves, throw punches at each other for a predetermined amount of time in a boxing ring.

Featherweight is a weight class in the combat sports of boxing, kickboxing, mixed martial arts, and Greco-Roman wrestling.



Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, Watson served in the Royal Navy, in which he was lightweight champion. [1] He made his professional debut in September 1925 with a points win over Tom Pinkney. Unbeaten in his first 30 fights, he suffered his first defeat in June 1928 when he was beaten on points over 15 rounds by George Rose. Watson went another 24 fights unbeaten before meeting Rose again in March 1930, again losing on points.

Newcastle upon Tyne City and metropolitan borough in England

Newcastle upon Tyne, commonly known as Newcastle, is a city in Tyne and Wear, North East England, 103 miles (166 km) south of Edinburgh and 277 miles (446 km) north of London on the northern bank of the River Tyne, 8.5 mi (13.7 km) from the North Sea. Newcastle is the most populous city in the North East, and forms the core of the Tyneside conurbation, the eighth most populous urban area in the United Kingdom. Newcastle is a member of the UK Core Cities Group and is a member of the Eurocities network of European cities.

Royal Navy Maritime warfare branch of the United Kingdoms military

The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years War against the Kingdom of France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is known as the Senior Service.

Watson won his next 21 fights, including victories over Nipper Pat Daly, Auguste Gyde, and Jack Garland. In April 1931, in his 78th fight, he was stopped for the first time, by Dom Volante at the Royal Albert Hall.

Nipper Pat Daly, real name Patrick Clifford Daley, was a British boxer who fought professionally between 1923 and 1931. He made his professional debut at the age of nine or 10, achieved widespread fame in his mid teens as British boxing's 'Wonderboy', then retired from pro boxing at age 17.

Jack Garland was a boxer born in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Royal Albert Hall concert hall on the northern edge of South Kensington, London

The Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall on the northern edge of South Kensington, London, and is one of the UK's most treasured and distinctive buildings. The Hall is a registered charity held in trust for the nation, and receives no public or government funding. It can seat 5,267.

Another 14 wins followed, beating the likes of Luigi Quadrini and Phineas John before finally getting a shot at the British featherweight title held by Nel Tarleton in November 1932. The two met at The Stadium, Liverpool, the fight going the full 15 rounds, with Watson getting the verdict to become British champion. [2]

Phineas John British boxer

Phineas Gladney John (1910–1985) was a Welsh professional boxer who fought from 1927 and 1940. John ended his career as a featherweight, but in his early professional bouts, he fought as a flyweight before increasing to bantamweight. Soon after he turned professional John competed for area titles, taking the Welsh flyweight belt in 1928 and then the Welsh bantamweight in 1929. After 1929 John failed to pursue any further titles, but continued fighting across the United Kingdom, ending his career with at least 242 professional fights.

Nel Tarleton British boxer

Nelson "Nel" Tarleton was an English featherweight boxer from Liverpool, England. He was British featherweight champion on three separate occasions and, despite only having one lung, continued fighting until he was 42. He was one of only seven fighters to win two or more Lonsdale Belts outright.

Liverpool City and Metropolitan borough in England

Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough in North West England, with an estimated population of 491,500. Its metropolitan area is the fifth-largest in the UK, with a population of 2.24 million in 2011. The local authority is Liverpool City Council, the most populous local government district in the metropolitan county of Merseyside and the largest in the Liverpool City Region.

In January 1933, Watson travelled to the United States for the first time. He beat Fidel LaBarba by unanimous decision at Madison Square Garden, earning the right to meet World champion Kid Chocolate. [3] Watson returned to England, where he again beat Gyde, before sailing again for the United States for the World title fight. [4] In May Kid Chocolate and Watson met at Madison Square Garden with the NYSAC World featherweight title at stake. The fight went the full 15 rounds, with Kid Chocolate getting a unanimous decision to retain the title. [5] Only a week later, Watson faced Canadian champion Bob Laurence in Toronto, winning convincingly on points. [6]

Fidel LaBarba American boxer

Fidel LaBarba was a United States boxer and sportswriter. He was born in New York City and grew up in Los Angeles, California. LaBarba began his amateur career at fourteen, eventually winning the flyweight division at the national Amateur Athletic Union tournament in Boston and later qualifying for the United States Olympic team.

Madison Square Garden Multi-purpose indoor arena in New York City, New York, United States

Madison Square Garden, colloquially known as The Garden or in initials as MSG, is a multi-purpose indoor arena in New York City. Located in Midtown Manhattan between 7th and 8th Avenues from 31st to 33rd Streets, it is situated atop Pennsylvania Station. It is the fourth venue to bear the name "Madison Square Garden"; the first two were located on Madison Square, on East 26th Street and Madison Avenue, with the third Madison Square Garden (1925) further uptown at Eighth Avenue and 50th Street.

Kid Chocolate Cuban boxer

For the boxer of the same nickname see Peter Quillin.

Back in England, Watson beat Benny Sharkey before suffering only the fifth defeat of his career when he was disqualified against Sonny Lee for a low blow. [7] He was due to face Panama Al Brown in December 1933, but after Brown pulled out, he instead faced Dave Crowley in what they hoped would be accepted as a British title defence, but the BBBofC refused to accept it as such, with two other boxers already meeting in a final eliminator. [8] He beat Crowley, Johnny Cuthbert, and Willie Gannon, before making the first defence of his British title in March 1934 against Johnny McMillan. Watson won on points to retain the title.

Panama Al Brown boxer

Alfonso Teofilo Brown, better known as Panama Al Brown, was a Panamanian professional boxer. He made history by becoming boxing's first Hispanic world champion, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest bantamweight boxers in history.

Dave Crowley was a British boxer. After winning an Area title at bantamweight, he moved up to featherweight, at which he challenged for a world title, before moving up again to lightweight, at which he was British champion in 1938. He went on to have several minor film roles.

Johnny Cuthbert British boxer

Johnny Cuthbert was a British boxer who was British featherweight champion between 1927 and 1928, and again from 1929 to 1931, winning the Lonsdale Belt outright, and British lightweight champion between 1932 and 1934.

After wins over Jimmy Walsh, Jim Cowie, Francois Machtens, and Dick Corbett, Watson made the second defence of his title in July 1934 against Tarleton at Anfield. [9] [10] [11] Tarleton got the points decision to regain the title. [12]

Watson moved up to lightweight in October 1934 with a win over George Odwell, [13] and in 1935 beat Lee, Tommy Spiers, and Frankie Brown in British title eliminators, but lost a final eliminator in October to George Daly after retiring due to cut eye. [14] [15] [16] [17] Having lost three of his last four fights, two to World champion Freddie Miller, [18] he retired from boxing.

Watson subsequently worked as a referee from 1937 until the 1950s. [19] [20] [21] [22]

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  1. "Seaman Watson" . Portsmouth Evening News. 22 January 1931. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  2. "Title for the North-East" . Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail. 11 November 1932. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  3. "Watson Wins: Fidel La Barba Beaten in New York" . Gloucestershire Echo. 28 January 1933. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  4. "British Feather-Weight's Success" . Western Morning News. 1 April 1933. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  5. "Seaman Watson Fails for Feather-Weight Championship" . Portsmouth Evening News. 20 May 1933. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  6. "Seaman Watson Beats the Canadian Champion" . Portsmouth Evening News. 27 May 1933. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  7. "Tommy Watson Loses" . Portsmouth Evening News. 30 November 1933. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  8. "Watson & Crowley: To-morrow's Fight Not for the Title" . Lancashire Evening Post. 18 December 1933. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  9. "Tommy Watson" . Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette. 28 June 1934. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  10. "Tommy Watson Gains a Points Win Over Francois Machtens" . Sheffield Independent. 19 June 1934. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  11. "Seaman Watson Knocks Out Jim Cowie at Leith" . Sheffield Independent. 8 May 1934. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  12. "Title Back to Tarleton" . Dundee Courier. 27 July 1934. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  13. "Seaman Watson Knocks Out Odwell on Debut as a Lightweight" . Sheffield Independent. 23 October 1934. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  14. "Light-Weight Eliminator: Seaman Watson Beats Sonny Lee" . Nottingham Evening Post. 28 February 1935. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  15. "Ex-Seaman Tommy Watson..." . Western Daily Press. 21 May 1935. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  16. "Watson Wins: Frankie Brown Beaten in Title Eliminator" . Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette. 16 July 1935. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  17. "The British Boxing Board..." . Western Daily Press. 18 July 1935. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  18. "American Boxer's Success" . Gloucester Citizen. 26 July 1935. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  19. "Seaman Watson—Referee" . Gloucestershire Echo. 8 November 1937. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  20. "Tommy Watson Referee" . Portsmouth Evening News. 4 August 1939. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  21. "Boxing" . Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette. 30 July 1945. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  22. "Hendon Boxing Weights" . Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette. 21 May 1951. Retrieved 29 February 2016.

Further reading