Bill Murphy Knocked Out

January 30, 1897


"Colored” boxer George Dixon defeats white Australian Billy Murphy after six rounds in New York.


New York, January 22- George Dixon (colored) defeated Australian Billy Murphy (white) in six rounds at the Broadway athletic club tonight. They were announced to box twenty rounds at 115 pounds, but the end came when it was least expected, for, at that time Murphy was apparently strong enough to have fought at least a half dozen rounds.
Anyone’s Fight
For four rounds it was anyone’s fight, both landing blows sufficiently hard to stop an ordinary pugilist. Not a drop of blood was drawn and there was no sign of brutality during the affair. Murphy surprised the crowd by his good work during the first half of the contest, while Dixon simply amazed them by his speed.
During the first half of the fight Murphy held his own. Whenever Dixon would lead with the left Murphy invariably swum his right on the back of the head and also sent home some good body blows, but at all times he judged distances very poorly.
Puzzled Him
Dixon’s double blow with the left puzzled Murphy very much and the colored boy landed it half a dozen times during the contest.
The blow which knocked Murphy out was a peculiar one. It was a left-hander, combined with a kind of upper-cut, and the butt of Dixon’s left hand caught Murphy in the pit of the stomach. It doubled Billy up, and he fell on his hands and knees to the floor, where he groped about helplessly until he was counted out.
The First Round
Round 1- Both sparred around the ring for an opening. Dixon led short with his left and was countered in the chin. In an instant Murphy sent his left prettily to Dixon’s jaw, after which Dixon tried his great “one-two-three” rush with poor effect. After coming from the ropes Dixon dashed in with his left twice on the wind, but Murphy sent back a terruvle left drive on the stomach.
Round 2- Dixon pushed his left out hard and the Australian’s head went back with a jerk. The Boston boy then sent the left again hard to the wind. Both countered hard, and a sharp bit of slugging and wild swinging followed. Dixon tried his left again, but Murphy nailed him behind the ear.
The Third Round
Round 3- Murphy opened this with a pile-driving right over the heart, and then sent his left to the ear, only to be countered over the heart. Two clinches followed, after which they came together fiercely, Dixon upper-cutting with the right and Murphy finding the wind. A great rally followed, both fighting to the ropes.
Round 4- Both started quickly, but in their eagerness clinched without striking a blow. Dixon got home a left and rushed to the ropes and used his head in a nasty fashion. Dixon rushed again, landing two good lefts, while Murphy sent a smashing right over the heart, after which each landed hard lefts on the face. In one of the “Sharkey” kind of rallies, they swung their lefts with great force, and had to be separated at the end.
The Fifth Round
Round 5- Dixon rushed in with his left and then swung a right and left that staggered Murphy, but he only smiled and kept sending his right to the wind hard. The fighting was terrific at this stage, Dixon pounded the Australians head, while the latter kept trying with his bad right. Two clinched followed, after which Murphy got in a soaker with his right on the head.
Round 6- Murphy jabbed his left neatly in the wind, while Dixon swung high. Dixon sent his left over the heart. They both swung on the wind, after which Murphy missed a right that would have finished Dixon had it landed. Both missed with rights after this, when Dixon drove a good left home on the mouth that made Murphy wild, and he ran at Dixon.
The End of the Bout
The latter steadied himself and swung his left with great force one the pit of the stomach. It was an awful blow and had the desired effect. He fell on his knees, gasped and finally rolled on his back, while the referee counted the ten seconds that made him the loser and Dixon the winner.
Time of round, 2 minutes, 43 seconds.
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Contributed By

Brian Schrott


“Bill Murphy Knocked Out,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed February 20, 2024,