My Most Thrilling Fights and Lessons I Learned (1937)
By Peter Kane
World Flyweight Champion 1938-1939
Although I have fought more than 60 opponents, I will never forget my bout at Warrington with Joe Curran of Liverpool. I consider this my most thrilling contest. It was unusual how the fight came to be fixed up.
Early in 1936 I was told that I was to meet Laddie Hines of Colne, and I was looking forward to an interesting tussle, as Hines had a good record. Then we in the North got a severe shock when news came through that Laddie had died suddenly. Hardly had the announcement been published when I was informed that Joe Curran had been engaged as a substitute.
Curran was fighting impressively, and I trained hard, hoping to keep up my winning form. For the second time the show was cancelled owing to the country going into mourning through the death of His Majesty King George V.
Nearly a Catastrophe
However, the promoter managed to overcome a series of problems, and the contest took place at catch-weights over 10 rounds. I knew that I would have to put up my best display, because Curran has a reputation of being a crafty boxer.
I began confidently. Unfortunately, I was too confident. In the second round I came close to defeat. Such a result would have been disastrous at that vital stage of my career. A strong punch put Curran on the boards for a long count. Thinking that Joe had been close to a knockout, I went in to finish the fight. Then came a thrill for the crowd, but not for me! Everything appeared to go black. Joe had evidently been resting, and had taken full advantage of the long count.
Seeing me uncovered, he swung a smashing blow, which, I learnt afterwards, caught me flush on the jaw and I collapsed. Everything that happened from this stage and in the following rounds until the start of the eighth session seemed like a dream - and a blank one at that!
After seeing Curran on the canvas I remember nothing until I heard the time-keeper shout, "Seconds out; eighth round!" I had fought five rounds without knowing it! But my supporters told me later that I had done well during the "blank rounds". Crafty Curran nearly did the trick.
I put everything I knew into the remaining rounds, and fortunately did not fall into Curran's trap again. I got the verdict, but Curran taught me a lesson - never to be too sure of oneself. Although Curran did not get the decision, he can say that he is the only boxer to put me down for a count.
Will-power Pulled Me Through
Ernst Weiss is another boxer who took me over the full distance and nearly got the decision. Prior to the fight I took part in heavy training, and on most occasions I tried weight-lifting, thinking that this exercise would develop my punch.
Actually I had hardly a punch left in me after five or six rounds. My arms felt as heavy as the weights in the gymnasium. Weiss was strong, and he seemed to be getting the better of the exchanges. I tried hard not to show Weiss that I was tiring, and it was just will-power that pulled me through. The verdict went in my favour, but I was glad when it was all over.
Valuable Tips I Learned
There were several important lessons which I learned from the engagement with Weiss. I know now that it is sometimes folly to chase your man all over the ring unless you know you are too strong for him.
Weiss showed me that a clever boxer can score many points while fighting on the retreat. In future it will be fatal to go into the ring against a Continental unless I am in perfect condition. All the Continentals I have fought appear to be better trained than English boxers. Neither do I intend weight-lifting again!
A Bet That Didn't Come Off
Valentin Angelmann (France)
I gained much valuable experience from the contest with Valentin Angelmann. Here again was a Continental in wonderful condition.
When Angelmann walked into the Stadium at Liverpool he was wearing the smartest fur coat I have ever seen. I wanted that coat, so when we got into the dressing-room I thought I would have a friendly wager with Valentin. I suggested that we should bet on the result - his side-stake to be the fur coat against my three pound notes. Angelmann would not agree, but this made me more keen to win the fight. And I did! I enjoyed every second of that fight.
Angelmann's style, ringcraft, and countering impressed me, but I nearly knocked him out in the eighth round. I got home my right to his jaw, and he seemed groggy. I made the mistake of concentrating on the body when Angelmann was clinching. Had I done likewise the referee would have separated us and then I would have had a real chance of landing the decisive punch.
Anyhow, I shall be meeting Angelmann again for a big purse and, I hope, the fur coat.
What Bostock taught me
Tiny Bostock, the Stoke-on-Trent flyweight, took me the full distance at Blackpool, and he showed me some clever tricks at inside fighting. Bostock is a tough opponent for any flyweight, and I had to go full out in order to beat him.
Tiny is a real "giant" at tying-up a boxer at close quarters, and he also demonstrated to me the value of a stinging left hook. I won the contest, but I am obliged to Tiny for his assistance in helping me with my boxing lessons.