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Sunday, 28 April 2013

Johannes Brahms

Johannes Brahms was born in Hamburg, Germany on May 7, 1833. (Photo of birthplace below). Brahms's family occupied part of the first floor behind the two double windows on the left hand side. The building was destroyed by bombing in 1943.

Photograph from 1891 of the building in Hamburg where Brahms was born.

Johannes came from a humble but happy background. His father, Johann Jakob Brahms, was a poor (financially) musician who played the double bass in the orchestra of the Stadtheatre at Hamburg. His mother, Henrika Christiane Nissen, was a seamstress never previously married, who was seventeen years older than he was. Johannes had an older sister and a younger brother.

His father gave him his first musical training then he studied piano from the age of seven with Otto Friedrich Willibald Cossel.

After studying the violin and cello with his father, Johannes mastered the piano and began to compose under the guidance of the German music teacher Eduard Marxsen,

For a time, he also learned the cello, although his progress was cut short when his teacher absconded with Brahms' instrument.

Johannes hated French at school which resulted in a life long hatred of the nation. (He also hated the English).

He was twice invited to accept an honary doctorate at Cambridge. He never made it as he hated the sea and the thought of crossing the choppy English Channel put him off.

Brahms in 1853

From the age of 10 Brahms helped to supplement the rather meagre family income playing the piano in dockside dance halls, cafes, theatres, inns and later brothels. He would have a book of poetry in front of him to distract him from the noisy crowd.

Brahms was clean shaven until he was well past 40, then made up for it with a distinctive, flowing white beard. Though he had the chest development of a tall man, his legs were so short they barely reached his piano pedals.


As a promising young composer Brahms was introduced to the great Franz Liszt in Weimar who promptly played Brahms' Piano Sonata in C at a house recital, heaping praise on the young whippersnapper. Liszt then played his own piano sonata to which Brahms fell asleep to.

A merciless self-critic, Brahms burned all that he wrote before the age of 19 as well as some sketches of later masterpieces. It is known that he frequently reworked pieces over a period of 10 to 20 years, and before achieving the final form he often transcribed them for several different combinations of instruments.

Starting in the 1860's, when his works sold widely, Brahms was well off financially. He preferred a modest life style, however, living in a simple three-room apartment with a housekeeper. He gave away much of his money to relatives, and also anonymously helped support a number of young musicians.

The majority of  Brahms' Requiem was written after his mother's death in 1865, a loss that caused him much grief. The fifth movement was later added after the official premiere at a Good Friday concert in Bremen Cathedral with Brahms conducting, on April 10, 1868. The Requiem proved a triumphant success following its first performance and was soon performed in concert by massed choirs and mighty orchestras. It marked a turning point in Brahms' career placing him among Europe's leading composers.

Brahms venerated Beethoven, perhaps even more than the other Romantic composers did. In the composer's home, a marble bust of Beethoven looked down on the spot where he composed. 

Though agreeable, charitable and charming, to adults Brahms was often brusque and sarcastic, and he sometimes alienated other people. His pupil Gustav Jenner claimed that he was a pussycat really. He wrote: "Brahms has acquired, not without reason, the reputation for being a grump, even though few could also be as lovable as he."

Brahms' sarcasm was a mask against his shyness. Once after a series of offensive remarks to a group of friends, he left the room with the parting words "if there is anyone here whom I have not insulted I beg his pardon." 

He was aware of his shortcomings. On one occasion, a small child offered Brahms a rose and he responded, "Is that meant to represent my prickly nature." 

A practical joker, Brahms would seat visitors in his trick rocking chair which unceremoniously tipped over to the accompaniment of Brahms’ loud guffaws. 

His best friend was Clara Schumann , wife of the composer Robert Schumann, who was 14 years older than him. Whether they ever became lovers after the death of her husband is unknown, but their destruction of their letters to each other may point to something beyond mere privacy.

Another of Brahms’ relationships was with one Bertha Faber, who sung in his women’s choir at Hamburg. The composer renewed his acquaintance with her when he moved to Vienna, by which time she had married. Bertha had the honor of having his lullaby written to celebrate the birth of her eldest child, Hans. 

Brahms only really achieved intimate female companionship with prostitutes. He treated the girls well and they returned his affection. After his death, when asked about his love life, his housekeeper would only say, "he was a very naughty old gentleman."

Brahms had a wide circle of friends. Those who remained his friends, despite his sarcasm were very loyal to him, and he reciprocated in return with equal loyalty and generosity. He was a lifelong friend with Johann Strauss II though they were very different as composers

On one occasion, Brahms fell ill and his doctor instructed him to go on a diet. "But this evening I'm dining with Strauss" he protested "and we shall have chicken paprika." That's out of the question the doctor told him. "In that case" said the composer, "please consider that I did not come to consult you until tomorrow." 

Brahms enjoyed eating out in Vienna's cheap cafes and restaurants, especially his daily visit to his favourite 'Red Hedgehog' tavern in Vienna, which he visited most days often together with Johann Strauss.. There, he would drink strong coffee (so strong only he could make it to his satisfaction).

According to the autobiography of English operatic soprano and composer Liza Lehmann, when she met Brahms, she was left unimpressed by his bluff and coarse manners, particularly when he gobbled up a whole tin of sardines at breakfast and then drank the oil from the tin.

Cats got Brahms back up. The composer spent much time at his window in his Vienna home trying to hit neighbourhood cats with a harpoon manufactured from a bow and arrow.

A keen walker and lover of nature, Brahms often went walking in the woods around Vienna, when he often brought penny candy with him to hand out to children. He also enjoyed walking holidays in Italy. The press noted his style of walking with his hands firmly behind his back.

From 1872 to his death, Brahms lived in a third floor apartment at Karlsgasse, Vienna.

Brahms declined an honorary degree from Cambridge University in 1877 because he had a fear of boats and would not cross the Channel. 

The elderly Brahms met a 25-year-old composer called Claude Debussy in Vienna and took him out to dinner and then onto the court opera to see Bizet's Carmen.

In his last years being comfortable financially, Brahms could afford to do as he pleased. He frequently travelled, both for business (concert tours) and pleasure and often visited Italy in the springtime, and usually sought out a pleasant rural location there in which to compose during the summer.

In 1889, one Theo Wangemann, a representative of American inventor Thomas Edison, visited the composer in Vienna and invited him to make an experimental recording. Brahms played an abbreviated version of his first Hungarian dance on the piano. The recording was later issued on a record of early piano performances. Sadly, the piano playing is largely inaudible due to heavy surface noise, but this remains the earliest recording made by a major composer. 

In 1895 Brahms fell terminally ill with cancer of the liver though he was never told the nature of the disease. He died two years later on April 3, 1897 in his bed watched over by his landlady, having retained consciousness to the last. Brahms was buried in Vienna's Zentralfriedhof (General Cemetery). 

He wrote four symphonies, wrote settings for piano and voice of 144 German folk songs, and many of his lieder reflect folk themes or depict scenes of rural life. However, Brahms never wrote an opera, nor did he ever write in the characteristic 19th century form of the tone poem.

Sources My knowledge and Wikipedia

Tycho Brahe

Tycho Brahe was born at his family's ancestral seat of Knutstorp Castle, about five miles (eight kilometres) north of Svalöv in then Danish Scania on December 14, 1546.

                                                   
Tycho's father, Otte, was a nobleman and an important figure at the court of the Danish king. When he was around age two, his uncle, Danish nobleman Jørgen Thygesen Brahe, without the knowledge of his parents took him away with him to become a scholar.

Tycho began studies at the University of Copenhagen at the age of 12. There, following his uncle's wishes, he studied law, but also studied a variety of other subjects and became interested in astronomy. The solar eclipse of 21 August 1560, especially the fact that it had been predicted, so impressed him that he began to make his own studies of astronomy, helped by some of the professors.

While studying at University of Rostock in Germany, Brahe attended a dance at a professor's house. He found hinself involved in a sword duel in pitch darkness with a fellow student, Manderup Parsbjerg over an astronomical argument. Tycho’s face was slashed and he lost the bridge of his nose. As a consequence, he had to wear a false nose made out of silver and copper.

Tycho Brahe became a world-famous astronomer when on the night of November 11, 1572 he recorded a new star "brighter than Venus" located in the constellation Cassiopeia. He called others to witness it and gave it the name "Stella Nova", the new star.

Brahe was granted an estate by Frederick II of Denmark on the island of Ven and the funding to build the Uraniborg, the first custom-built observatory in modern Europe. The cornerstone was laid on August 8, 1576 and the building completed in 1580 (with a laboratory for his alchemical experiments in its cellar), Using large astronomical instruments, Brahe took many careful measurements. Later the observatory was expanded with an underground facility, Stjerneborg, when he discovered that his instruments in the the Uraniborg site were not sufficiently steady.

Tycho Brahe's Uraniborg main building from the 1663 Blaeu's Atlas Major

His observatory and alchemical laboratory consumed over 1 per cent of Denmark’s GNP in the 1580s.

Brahe's laboratory was famous for its wild parties. His pet elk died after falling downstairs while drunk.



Brahe was the greatest observer in the days before telescopes, making the most accurate measurements of the positions of stars and planets. His accurate observations of the planets enabled German astronomer and mathematician Johannes Kepler to prove that planets orbit the Sun in ellipses.

Brahe's discovery and report of the 1572 supernova brought him recognition, and his observations of the comet of 1577 proved that it moved in an orbit among the planets, thus disproving Aristotle's view that comets were in the Earth's atmosphere.

1586 portrait of Tycho Brahe framed by the family shields of his noble ancestors

Brahe moved to Prague as imperial mathematician in 1599, where he was joined by his then assistant Kepler, who inherited his observations when he died.

He suddenly contracted a bladder or kidney ailment after attending a banquet in Prague, and died eleven days later, on October 24, 1601. According to Kepler's first hand account, Brahe had refused to leave the banquet to relieve himself because it would have been a breach of etiquette.

Brahe inspired the phrase "a Tycho Brahe day" in his native language. It denotes bad luck, but it's not clear why.

Don Bradman

Sir Donald Bradman was born on August 27, 1908 at Cootamundra, New South Wales. As a youth, he learned timing by hitting a ball against a corrugated metal tank.

He hit his first century at the age of 12, playing for Bowral Public School against Mittagong High School.

Donald Bradman made his debut in first-class cricket aged 19 for New South Wales against South Australia on December 16, 1927. Batting at No. 7, he secured the achievement of a century on debut with an innings of 188.

On his first visit to England, Bradman established a test record on July 11, 1930,  by scoring 334 runs in one innings at Headingly.


Bradman still holds the record for the most runs in a single day’s play in a test match - 309 during his 334 innings against England at Headingly in 1930.

Walt Disney is said to have decided on Donald Duck’s name after Donald Bradman was out for a duck against New York West Indians in 1932.

Bradman joined the Royal Australian Air Force on 28 June 1940. Surprisingly, in light of his batting prowess, a routine army test revealed that he had poor eyesight.

In his last cricket innings, Donald Bradman needed only 4 runs to attain a test cricket batting average off 100. He was out second ball for zero and finished with an average of 99.94, the highest average in Test history.


In his Test career, Don Bradman scored 26% of the team’s total runs.

Don Bradman hit just six sixes in his Test career, five v. England and one v. India.

Bradman's volume of reminiscences, Farewell to Cricket, was published in 1950. Eight years later, his coaching manual, called The Art of Cricket, was published.

The post office box of the Australian Broadcasting Commission is 9994.


In April 2000, Bradman was voted to be the greatest cricketer of the 20th century by the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack.

Hospitalised with pneumonia in December 2000, Don Bradman returned home in the New Year and died there on February 25, 2001.

Bradman statue outside the Adelaide Oval

Source Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Bra

Ancient Egyptian noblewomen went topless. They wore tunics that wrapped below their breasts and were held up by a center strap.

The Romans invented the push-up bra, but instead of using whalebone for support, they probably used leather. 

Bras were called "breast bags" in medieval times.

Determined to slip into something more comfortable than an ungainly and painful whalebone corset, 19-year-old New York socialite Mary "Polly" Jacob used two silk handkerchiefs and some pink ribbon to create the worlds first bra in 1910.


Polly filed for a patent for her invention in early 1914 and on November 3 of that year the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted her a patent for the "Backless Brassiere."

Jacob's brassiere, from the original patent application.


The world's first bra was designed to be worn above a woman's corset.

Jacob later sold her business for $1,500 to Warner Brothers Corset Company, who made $15m from her uplifting invention. 

Mark Twain (yes, that Mark Twain) invented and patented the bra-strap clasp.

In 1928, a Russian immigrant to America named Ida Rosenthal founded Maidenform. Ida was responsible for grouping women into bust-size categories (cup sizes). 

The A-to-D cup-sizing system for brassieres was introduced by the Warner Corset Company in 1935. It is  now universally used by manufacturers.

In 1964 Montreal's Canadelle company invented the push-up bra.


In 1999, two women were burnt down by a lightning strike when the underwire in their bras worked as an electrical conductors.

The average bra size in 2015 is 36C. In 2005 it was 34B.

Apparently, according to Playtex, the best selling bra sizes these days are 34B and 36B.

The average bra is designed to last for only 180 days of use.


There are an estimated 156 million bras in UK that have been bought and never worn.

85% of women wear the wrong bra size.

Robert Boyle

Irish chemist Robert Boyle was born on January 25, 1627. He was the seventh son (and fourteenth child) of Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork and Catherine Fenton, Boyle's father had left England in 1588 at the age of 22 and gone to Ireland. Appointed clerk of the council of Munster by Elizabeth I in 1600, he bought Sir Walter Raleigh's estates in the counties of Cork, Waterford, and Tipperary two years later. He was said to be the richest man in Great Britain.

His mother was Richard Boyle's second wife, his first having died within a year of the birth of their first child.

Robert was sent, together with one of his brothers, to study at Eton College in England in 1635. At this time the school was becoming fashionable as a place where important people sent their sons. The headmaster was John Harrison and the two young Boyle brothers lived in the headmaster's house. When Harrison retired in 1638, the Earl of Cork took his sons away from Eton. After this Boyle was tutored privately by one of his father's chaplains.

Robert Boyle was still living in Geneva when his father died. In the summer of 1644 he sold some jewellery and used the money that he was paid to finance his return trip to England.

Boyle went to Ireland in 1652 to look after his estates there. He ended up a very rich man when Oliver Cromwell apportioned Irish lands to the English colonists. From that time on he was able to devote himself entirely to science without the need to earn money.

Boyle decided to go to Oxford where he joined a group of forward looking scientists, including Christopher Wren. From 1654 Boyle lived in Oxford, although he never held any university post.

In 1662 he conceived Boyle’s Law, which says that the pressure of gases varies inversely with the volume. His description of an ideal gas first appeared in an appendix to his work New Experiments Physio-Mechanicall, Touching the Spring of the Air and its Effects (1660).


Among his other discoveries were that sound did not travel in a vacuum, a flame required air as did life, and he investigated the elastic properties of air.

Robert Boyle accurately predicted that the future would have organ transplants, cosmetic surgery, flight, underwater explorations and GPS navigation.

Boyle was an eager Christian, fluent in Hebrew, Greek, and Syriac he spent much of his private wealth on promoting the study of the Bible. As a director of the East India Company, he encouraged Christian missionary work in the Far East.

In 1668 Boyle left Oxford and went to live with his sister Lady Ranelagh in London.

In June 1670 Boyle had a stroke which left him paralyzed but slowly he recovered his health. He continued to work and to entertain at his London home. Visitors were so frequent that he had to restrict visits so that he had time to continue with his scientific researches, which he did with the help of many excellent assistants.

He died on December 31, 1691 from paralysis. Boyle passed away just a week after the death of the sister with whom he had lived for more than twenty years.

Boyle was buried in the churchyard of St Martin-in-the-Fields, his funeral sermon being preached by his friend Bishop Gilbert Burnet.

In his will, Boyle endowed a series of lectures which came to be known as the Boyle Lectures. They were intended to defend the Christian religion against those he considered "notorious infidels, namely atheists, deists, pagans, Jews and Muslims".

Source History.mcs.st-andrews

Boxing Day

Boxing Day is a British tradition, going back many centuries but only made an official holiday in 1871. Also known as St. Stephen's Day, it was customarily a time for giving to the poor.


The name comes partly from the boxes kept in British churches to collect money for the needy. On the day after Christmas Day it became a custom of the nineteenth century Victorians for tradesmen to collect their "Christmas boxes" or gifts in return for good and reliable service throughout the year on the day after Christmas.

In South Africa, Boxing Day is known as 'Day of Goodwill', whilst in various continental European countries, it is known as 'Christmas II' or 'Second Christmas Day'.

On Boxing Day 2004 a massive earthquake created a tsunami around the Indian Ocean resulting in the deaths of over 300,000 people.

In Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK, Boxing Day is the heaviest shopping day of the year. The picture below (Wikipedia Commons) shows the Eaton Center, Toronto, Canada on December 26th.




In some places, Boxing Day has become associated with sporting events. For example, the United Kingdom traditionally has a full program of Football matches and some of the African Commonwealth nations, prize-fighting contests are held on December 26th. 

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Boxing

Stone representations from the fifth millennium BC were excavated in the Middle East, near Baghdad, unmistakably depicting pugilist tactics, men joined in battle with their fists. And at that early stage, in this first portrayal of the sport, it can be clearly recognised that the fighter's hands were swathed in wrappings.

In the games which follow the funeral of Patroclus, in the Iliad a boxing match was followed by a bout of wrestling. Both were described in some detail by Homer. The prizes in the boxing match were a sturdy mule for the winner and a two-handled mug for the runner-up. In this particular fight in the Iliad the loser is knocked out. His supporters even have to collect his mug for him.


There were no rounds when boxing was first introduced at the 23rd ancient Olympiad in 776 BC. 

Boxing contests in Ancient Greek games were a test of strength and stamina rather than skill. There were categories for different ages (boys, adolescents, men) but no allowance was made for weight, so the larger contestant was likely to win. The bout consisted mainly of trading blows to the head, and went on until one fighter either gave up or was unable to continue.

Until 400 BC, fighters usually wound soft strips of leather around their hands and arms. These shielded the knuckles and added to the force of their blows. Then gloves replaced thongs. They were made of hard pieces of leather with cutting edges and resembled a knuckle-duster.

Blows could be delivered anywhere on the body, including the groin, and the contestants were allowed to hit their opponent when they are down. There were no rounds or breaks of any kind and no point scoring; the boxing continued until one of the boxers conceded. was knocked out or died.


The Greek philosopher Aristotle sponsored a boxer at the Olympics at Olympia.

By 300BC Pugilistic bouts were being arranged at burial services. It was believed that the spirit of the departed would be so interested in and absorbed by the contest that he would forget all about haunting the living.

Boxing was one of the brutal attractions in the Roman circuses. Gladiatorial boxing matches were a fight to the death.

Just before the Christian Era a Roman emperor banned all types of fighting with the fists. Boxing, as a sport, then disappeared from history until it was revived in England in the 1700s.

The most likely explanation for the word “boxing” is that Bernardino, a thirteenth-century Italian priest, later raised to sainthood first applied it. In an age of frequent combats, the injuries and fatalities that resulted from use of weapons horrified him. Eventually he persuaded fighters to use their bare fists only and this merely for the purpose of defence. Describing the method, he referred to it as "the art of boxing up an opponent.

The first known boxing match in Britain was in 1681, when the Duke of Albemarle organised a match between his butler and his butcher at his home in New Hall, Essex.

The first man to popularize boxing with bare knuckles was James Figg of England, a renowned swordsman and cudgel fighter, opened his school of arms in Oxford Road, London. Between 1719 and 1730 he defeated all challengers and was acclaimed the first boxing champion. The contestants battled without rest until one had definitely won.


Jack Broughton's London amphitheatre, situated near Tottenham Court Road, became the centre of boxing. He devised an accepted set of rules in 1743 - the London Prize Ring Rules. Each round was to continue until a man went down; once down he could rest for thirty seconds and must then fight again or be declared the loser; no man was to be hit when he was down, or grabbed below the waist.
Broughton invented the modern boxing glove - but this was then worn only for sparring and not for serious contests. He also introduced a chalked square-yard at the center of the ring. Each of the fighters had to toe the line on opposite sides of the square before beginning a bout.

The first boxing matches in the United States were bareknuckle bouts fought under the London Prize Ring rules. Such bouts were illegal, and the battles usually took place in isolated spots away from the police. The matches drew only small crowds, however, for the rough-and-tumble tactics of the bareknuckle fighters found little favor with the public. 


A relic from early boxing bouts is the phrase "to come up to scratch." An actual such "scratch" existed as a mark at the center of the "ring" in early prize fights. A boxer who had been knocked down was permitted a breathing spell of half a minute in his corner. Then, within eight seconds - counted out aloud - he had to make his way to the line. Should he be unable to "come up to [the] scratch," he had lost the fight.

Under the London Prize Fighting Rules introduced in 1839, a fight ended when one of the participants was knocked down. He had a chance to stay in the fight, however if he could crawl to a mark scratched in the centre of the ring. If he couldn’t get up to scratch he was the loser. From this comes the phrase up to scratch.


Tom Cribb vs Tom Molineaux in a re-match for the heavyweight championship of England, 1811

In the first international boxing match, at Farnborough, Hants, British champion Tom Sayers forced a draw after 42 rounds from 3-stone heavier American, John C Heenan.

Americans at first did not welcome pugilist contests. In fact, they were frowned upon by the authorities and even outlawed. Early fights, therefore, were arranged clandestinely and naturally could not draw large crowds. The sport was truly popularised only in the 1850s and 1860s by English fighters visiting America.

Most of the regulations that govern boxing today are based on rules drawn up in about 1866 under the sponsorship of the eighth marquess of Queensberry, an English patron of the sport. It legislated for fighting with gloves, stipulated the length of each round at three minutes, and laid the foundation of the modern sport.

In 1870, British boxing champ Jim Mace and American boxer Joe Coburn fought for three hours and 48 minutes without landing one punch.

On March 16, 1876, Nell Saunders defeated Rose Harland in the first United States women's boxing match held in a real boxing ring. Saunders received a silver butter dish as a prize.


Officially recognized boxing world championship contests started in 1884.

The last bare knuckle heavyweight title boxing bout on July 8, 1899 between John L. Sullivan and Jake Kilrain. It took place at a secret location, which turned out to be Richburg, a town just south of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The fight lasted for 75 rounds — or two hours, 16 minutes and 25 seconds — before Kilrain’s manager threw in the towel, fearing for the boxer’s life.

The Sullivan-Kilrain fight

Boxing kangaroos were first shown by Prof. Landermann at the London Aquarium in 1892.


The longest recorded gloved boxing match took place on April 6, 1893. Andy Bowen and Jack Burke fought for more than 7 hours. After 110 rounds, the fight was declared a draw because both Bowen and Burke were too exhausted to continue.


Thomas Edison was responsible for the first film of a sporting event, a six round boxing match between Mike Leonard and Jack Cushing on June 14, 1894 (see below). Before this the American inventor had persuaded the world boxing champion James Corbett to act a boxing fight for his camera. 




Wyatt Earp was also a boxing referee. His reputation suffered irreparably when he refereed the Fitzsimmons-Sharkey boxing match in 1896 and called a foul that led everyone to believe he fixed the fight.

“Judge” Roy Bean gained national attention in 1898 for staging a boxing match on a sandbar in the middle of the Rio Grande (to avoid the ban on boxing in Texas), featuring the heavyweight champion, Bob Fitzsimmons.


In boxing, a championship belt awarded to a fighter who wins a British title fight. If he wins three fights in one weight division, he is allowed to keep the belt permanently. The wins do not necessarily have to be in succession. It is named after the 5th Earl of Lonsdale, who presented the first belt to the National Sporting Club in 1909.

In
1921 Jack Dempsey defeated Georges Carpentier of France in four rounds. The Dempsey-Carpentier bout was the first in ring history with a million-dollar gate.

The 1927 boxing match between Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney was known as "the long count." Dempsey knocked Tunney down for 14 to 18 deconds in the 7th round, but the referee did not start his count immediately, so Tunney got the extra time, then got up at 9 and went on to win the fight.

South Korean boxer Kim Duk-koo suffered fatal brain injuries during a world championship boxing match with American Ray Mancini near Las Vegas' Caesars Palace on November 13, 1982. His death five days later led to significant rule changes in the sport aimed to better protect the health of fighters, including reducing the number of rounds in championship bouts from 15 to 12.

Add caption


The heavyweight boxing fight between Evander Holyfield and Riddick Bowe on November 6, 1993 was interrupted for 21 minutes when James Miller, aka Fan Man, para-glided into the ring at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Kenny Bayless, the third man in the ring during the 2015 Pacquiao v Mayweather fight earned $25,000 for the fight, a record for a referee.

Sources Europress Encyclopedia, History World,  Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc

Boxer (Sportsman)

As a youngster the Ancient Greek mathmatician Pythagoras was a fine boxer. He applied science to boxing knocking out men with upper cuts. He philosophised that a sharp blow delivered from the hip was the most effective method.

Bonnie Prince Charlie was a skilled boxer and physically fit. Whilst living in Avignon, he taught the local people how to box.

Daniel Mendoza, champion in the 1790s, introduces a new subtlety in the style of fighting and even writes a book on the subject (The Art of Boxing, 1789). He lost his title in 1795 to John Jackson, known as Gentleman Jackson.

The poet Lord Byron was a useful boxer, he once sparred with John "Gentleman" Jackson, the former bare knuckled champion in the boxer's Bond Street gym. He was a pupil at the boxing school there.

George Bernard Shaw was fond of prize fighting and indeed he had an expert interest in boxing. The Irish music and drama critic entered the Queensbury amateur boxing championship. He got as far as the programme but not the ring.

The last ever championship bare-knuckle boxing match was held in 1889 when John L. Sullivan defeated Jack Kilrain after 75 rounds. Sullivan never lost a bareknuckle bout.

John L Sullivan was not only the last bare-knuckle boxing champion, he was also the first one to use gloves.

Theodore Roosevelt was a member of the Harvard University boxing team. He was runner-up for the Harvard boxing championship, losing to C.S. Hanks. The sportsmanship Roosevelt showed in that fight was long remembered.

In 1904, Theodore Roosevelt was struck in the eye during a boxing fight with an army officer. His eyesight gradually diminished and by 1908 he was totally blind in one eye.

In the United States the first professional to win national recognition as catch-as-catch-can champion was a heavyweight, Tom Jenkins, of Cleveland, Ohio. He ruled as king of his division from the 1890s until 1908, when he lost to Frank Gotch of Iowa.

The US welterweight boxing champion “Kid” McCoy was once challenged by a man in a bar to prove he really is the boxing champion. McCoy flattened him and when the man came round he declared that he was indeed the real McCoy. From this comes the phrase “the real McCoy”.

Galveston “Jack” Johnson became the first black world heavyweight boxing champion in 1908 when he beat Tommy Burns over 14 rounds in Sydney, Australia. Two years, on July 4, 1910, Jack Johnson knocked out white boxer Jim Jeffries in a heavyweight boxing match, sparking race riots across the United States.


With his first professional bout at age 14, Georges Carpentier became welterweight champion of France and of Europe in 1911. He then became middleweight champion of Europe in 1912, and light heavyweight champion of Europe in 1913. On June 1, 1913, he became heavyweight champion of Europe.

In his youth, the French entertainer Maurice Chevalier was a sparring partner to Georges Carpentier. The household wrench was invented by boxing heavyweight champion Jack Johnson in 1922.

Sam Langford and Harry Wills fought each other 22 times. Wills won 6 times, Langford 2 times and there were 14 No Decisions.

In his youth, the French singer Maurice Chevalier was a sparring partner to heavyweight boxing champion Georges Carpentier.

Bob Hope fought as a Professional boxer under the name Packy East.

Ernest Hemingway was a keen boxer (he paid local Key West men to spar with him).

The American boxer Henry Armstrong, (1912-88) is the only professional boxer ever to hold three world titles simultaneously in three different weight classifications: He won the featherweight crown in 1937, and in 1938 he added both the welterweight and lightweight championship.

Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World Max Baer wore a Star of David during his title match against Hitler's favorite fighter, Max Schmeling. Baer won the bout and continued wearing the Star of David throughout the remainder of his career.

Preparing to take on Al Couture at Lewiston, Maine in 1946, boxer Ralph Walton was knocked out while still adjusting his gum shield. The fight officially ended after ten-and-a-half seconds - that included the 10-second count.

Rocky Marciano one of the greatest Heavyweights of all time actually took up boxing at 22.

Idi Amin was the Heavyweight boxing champion of Uganda between 1951 and 1960.

Archie Moore (December 13, 1916 – December 9, 1998) was the longest reigning World Light Heavyweight Champion of all time at nine years, four months and 24 days (December 1952 – May 1962). He had one of the longest professional careers in the history of the sport, fighting professionally for almost 30 years.

Sugar Ray Robinson became the first five-time middleweight winner in 1958.

The American John Rankin was the tallest ever man to enter a boxing ring at the size of 7 feet 4 inches.In boxing, a championship belt awarded to a fighter who wins a British title fight. If he wins three fights in one weight division, he is allowed to keep the belt permanently. The British heavyweight boxer Henry Cooper is the only man to have won three Lonsdale Belts outright.

Joe Frazier is said to have cut his Olympic boxing gold medal into 11 pieces and given a piece to each of his 11 children.

Leon Spinks won the Heavyweight title in only his eighth pro fight.

Puerto Rican fighter Wilfred Benitez was the youngest professional world champion when he won the light welterweight title in 1976 aged 17.



Because of his slight build and strong accent as a boy, Riverdance star Michael Flatley's father enrolled him in boxing lessons so he could learn self-defense. He excelled at the sport and held the Golden Gloves Championship in the featherweight division in 1977.

When Mike Tyson knocked-out Trevor Berbick in the second round on November 22, 1986, he became the youngest ever world heavyweight-boxing champion. (Tyson was 20 years, 4 months old).

Forty-five year old George Foreman became boxing's oldest heavyweight champion on November 5, 1994 when he knocked out Michael Moorer in the 10th round of a Las Vegas, Nevada fight.  Foreman dedicated his upset win to "all my buddies in the nursing home and all the guys in jail."



Evander Holyfield turned down a role in the movie Rocky 5 purely because his character would be knocked out.

Sources Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc, Europress Family Encyclopedia 1999, 606v2.com/t12024-strange-funny-and-interesting-boxing-facts