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Robert Fitzsimmons (1863-1917)

His Statistics
Height 5' 113/4   Neck 15"
Weight 1501/2 - 176lbs Wrist 71/2"
Reach 713/4" Calf 13"
Chest 41" Ankle 81/4"
Chest (exp) 44" Thigh 20"
Waist 32" Fist 121/2"
Biceps 12" Forearm 111/2"

Bob united all the qualities of a great boxer, with the possible exception of a relatively moderate weight and for literally years demonstrated that while being a handicap was not a barrier to the highest pugilistic honours of the time. His limitless courage and powers of endurance were his outstanding traits.

Fitzsimmons almost invariably beat his opponents with a six-inch punch. The punch that beat Peter Maher in their second fight in Mexico early in 1896, did not travel more than a foot. He beat both Corbett and Ruhlin with a six-inch punch and the wallop which sent Sharkey to sleep in their second fight at Coney Island certainly did not travel much further. In fact Fitz practically made no use of his abnormal reach, a trait in his pubgilistic character which was especially noticeable when he was fighting a taller and heavier man than himself.

When Fitz (167lbs) met Jeffries (206lbs) at Coney Island in 1899 he sadley underrated his huge opponent, giving away nearly 4 stone.

 Bob Fitzsimmons Training
(Taken from the Mirror of Life, 1897)

Fitzsimmons is a marvel in point of endurance. He is accustomed to take a certain amount of exercise whether he is matched to fight or not.

Fitz is a great walker. Twenty miles for an appetizer is a daily event with him. This is at a gait which verges upon a run. It was this sort of training which used to surprise the early morning visitors to Central Park in New York just prior to his departure to Carson City.

In company with Yaroum, his big canine pet, he would start from the Bartholdi Hotel at Twenty-third Street and Broadway, dash up Fifth Avenue, the most fashionable thoroughfare of the metropolis with the Great Dane prancing ahead him. Around Central Park he would go and then back to the hotel for a rubdown and an hour with the punching bag.

The training which Fitz believes in differs from training the training of the average fighter. First of all he trains himself. He takes his own advice and regulates his own work and diet.

"I'll do no more 18 or 20 mile runs" he said in his initial week's work. "I'll start off and run six or eight miles and then I'll walk back at a good nice gait. Next day I'll walk out my distance and run back. Another day I'll run a mile and walk a mile, alternating for 10 or 15 miles. Another day I'll follow the telegraph poles. I'll run at a top speed between two poles, then walk between the next two".

According to his friends, Fitzsimmons is the possessor of no bad habits. Fitzsimmons has wisely remarked that if he couldn't keep himself straight with the prospect of a fortune before him no trainer could. Fitz had a visitor one time who wanted to know all about his mode of training. All Fitzsimmons did was to hand him the following schedule:

6.30am - Rises, bathes, dresses.
7.00 - Sherry and egg
7.05 to 8.15 - Rides on bicycle (15 Miles)
8.15 - Breakfast
9.30 - Goes 15 miles afoot
11.30 - Has rubdown and rests
1.00pm - Dinner
3.00 - Works in gymnasium
5.00 - Showerbath and rubdown
6.00 - Supper
8.00,9.00,10.00,11.00 - Bed

In the October 12 edition of the Dallas Morning News, it was reported that Fitz, after an ocean swim, a walk, a romp with Pat - his two hundred pound St Bernard, and some wood splitting, settled down to a breakfast table usually stocked with "oatmeal, muffins, steak, chops or chicken. He does not believe in diet or special foods." After exercising and a cold sponge bath there was a hearty dinner of "every vegetable the markets far and near can produce. These are flanked by generouis roasts of beef, mutton and pork."

Bob Fitzsimmons Memorial Statue in Timaru, NZ
A Poem by K.R. Thoms,
of Timaru, New Zealand.

This was written to mark the unveiling of the
Bob Fitzsimmons Memorial Statue
The Statue was commissioned by
Sir Robert Jones
and donated to the City of Timaru

It was sculptured by
Margriet Windhausen van den Bergh
and formally unveiled by the
Prime Minister of New Zealand
The Right Hon. David Lange
on the 5th September 1987.


Although a humble blacksmith
He surely staked his claim
This man called Bob Fitzsimmons
To the halls of boxing fame.

While sweating o'er his anvil
He gained the strength and power
Soon carried into boxing
That brought his finest hour.

He fought for fame and glory
Also, New Zealand too
When he won his three world titles
This man from Timaru.

Now he stands here everlasting
A champion from the past
This son from our fair city
A credit to his craft.

He leaves behind a legacy
For the future to instil
The need to fight on boldly
With a courage and a will.

A True Story about Honest Bob

as told by Rowena Salter, Australia

In the early 1900's my great-grandfather was a night porter at the Hotel Windsor, in Melbourne, Australia.
One night, (very late), a large gentleman, who was staying at the Hotel, returned slightly inebriated and in very joyful spirits. He was singing and chatting rather loudly, forcing my great-grandfather to ask him several times to lower his voice. The second time my great-grandfather reminded him ladies were trying to sleep.
Apparently this gentleman made a rude remark regarding the ladies, and my great-grandfather laid him out his full length on the carpet, cold, with 1 punch.

The friends with this gentleman were horrified, asking, "Do you know who you've just knocked out ??"
My ancestor wasn't particularly interested, stating in reply,
"He should have lowered his voice, whoever he is"
The friends hastened to inform my great-grandfather (then in his early 40's) he had knocked out the world champion Bob "Ruby Robert" Fitzsimmons.

The following morning, Bob Fitzsimmons himself came and congratulated my great-grandfather on his actions the previous night, stating,
"You were well in the right, and what a right !!"
My great-grandfather's name was Charles Salter and we think it was roughly in the early 1900's this took place.

Rowena thought she would share this story of a bloke that sounded bloody nice and could admit when he'd been in the wrong.

Many Thanks Rowena - Editor

The Money Facts

On January 14, 1891, in the French Quarter of New Orleans Bob fought Jack Dempsey in a former cotton press yard for a purse of $12,000, then the biggest ever offered for a ring contest.

The largest purse Fitzsimmons ever fought for was on March 8, 1893, New Orleans, when he defeated Jim Hall in 4 rds., purse $40,000. Bob received only part of the money.

His 1893 ring earning reached $42,500, a handsome sum when one considers that the next biggest prizewinner only took home $12,000. In "the fight of the century" 1897 Fitzsimmons erned a purse of $15,000, took Corbett's stake money of $10,000 and pocketed $13,000 from the Edison Picture Company which filmed the fight.

The total expenditure in the United States brought by "the fight of the century " was, for 1897, the staggering amount of $2,700,000. Of that $1,300,000 was paid to telegraph companies for ticker and special wire service and for newspaper and private dispatches. Betting on the bout had been equally colossal. One bookmaker from San Francisco had to employ four Pinkerton detectives to guard two bags of gold worth $150,000 which he had to pay out the day after the fight.

As an actor Fitz was quick to learn and in time became a good performer, his plays always including ball punching or black-smithing demonstrations. His income from the stage sometimes reached a colosal $1000 a week. Big money for those days (a person earning over $3,500 a year was considered rich)

In 1899, Fitzsimmons was to sack Julian as manager, the major reason being that Julian had been stealing from him. In years to come Fitzsimmons claimed that he had lost $125,000 from shady managers and promoters since arriving in the US.

"Fitzsimmons" - Boxing's First Triple World Champion!
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