2612568276918. THE ART OF BOXING

THE ART OF BOXING

THE ART OF BOXING
AND
SCIENCE OF SELF-DEFENSE

TOGETHER WITH

A MANUAL OF TRAINING.

BY WILLIAM EDWARDS.

THE ART OF BOXING – My reasons for venturing before the public with a work on the Art of Boxing and Science of Self-Defense are few and simple, but I trust, when understood, will be considered just and appropriate.

In the first place, then, be it said that although it is an admitted fact that the good old palmy days of the P. R. have passed away, and lusty manhood is no longer allowed, by law, to exhibit to his fellow-man, in their most perfect and scientifically developed character, those grand attributes of physical power, strength, nerve, pluck, endurance, determination, and courage, that we all profess to admire, and the lack of which we resent as a stigma unworthy to be borne, still, I am glad to say that there yet remains a very large majority of right-minded people who approve and support the Art of Boxing as a wholesome and legitimate means of physical recreation and exercise, enjoyed for the purpose of benefiting our bodily health and condition.

And although for the past twenty years I have been engaged either in the active, public pursuit of my profession, or at least in close and intimate relations with those who were and are its leading lights and exponents, I have never yet found a thoroughly reliable and useful text-book that could, in any way, assist the pupil to practice and perform the lessons with the gloves given by the professor.

Such a book I modestly ventured to think i could more or less successfully produce, and the attempt I here submit with the assurance that, in its preparation, I have been guided by the wish of doing my profession a service, and of showing that, if properly and judiciously practiced, boxing is entitled to the social recognition its many sterling merits command.

In order that the pupil may readily and clearly grasp the different evolutions, blows, and guards the text explains, accurate illustrations are imperative, and in all former manuals on the subject this was the most serious and detrimental fault.

Instantaneous photography has, however, made the swiftest movements capable of reproduction, and so I secured the hearty Cooperation and assistance of my old friend and fellow-pugilist, Arthur Chambers, of Philadelphia, ex-Champion Lightweight of America and England, than whom there are few cleverer boxers, and, together, we had a regular friendly “set-to” with the gloves, and by the aid of an expert photographer every evolution of the context was caught, as either one or the other of us put it into practice, and the result, so every authority unhesitatingly states, is the best set of boxing pictures ever yet placed on the market.

In order that my friends, patrons, and the public may be satisfied that I am competent to speak authoritatively on the noble art I have practiced and taught for years, I have thought it might interest them to read a short biography of my principal prize-ring battle’s and glove fights, and also the career of Arthur Chambers. I therefore append these notices, and beg to remain,

Respectfully, WILLIAM EDWARDS

HOFFMAN HOUSE,
Madison Square, N.Y. City.

A SHORT SKETCH OF BILLY EDWARDS


WILLIAM EDWARDS, for many years the champion lightweight of America, was born at Birmingham, Warwickshire, England, on the 21st of December 1844.

When he was nine years of age he back to knock about that grimy town as an errand-boy, with light curly hair and soft blue eyes, lithe and active as a kitten, and always passionately fond of boxing and sparring. He was early put to work at the foundry, and soon was rolling railway pins.

He took readily to all manner of outdoor sports, and was renowned among his fellows for running, jumping, and wrestling. His parents, while Edwards was yet a lad, removed to Staffordshire.

The “black” country, as the inhabitants call that region of coal-fields and factories, has always been celebrated for its fighting population, and Billy had his hands full all the time fighting boys who asserted their right to be considered “cock of the walk” in the neighborhood. He fought his first battle for money when he was sixteen at Smethwick, Staffordshire, and won his maiden victory against the local featherweight champion on a sharp and bloody fight lasting 30 minutes.

Edwards next removed to London and worked at iron shipbuilding. He was employed in one of the great shipbuilding establishments on the Isle of Dogs in the East End of London, opposite of Greenwich. He was employed in the construction of the ram Valiant, and afterwards on the British man-o’-war Northumberland.

The Isle of Dogs was as noted for its local prize fighters as the “black” country, and Edwards had many an off-hand encounter in which he was generally victor, —his most stubborn opponent being the bully of the yard in which he worked named “Castiron” Collins, whom he had badly beaten when the authorities’ interfered.

In May 1865, at the age of one and twenty, Edward’s came to America in search of employment at his trade. He found work in New York City and started at boiler-making. While on the docs at 11th St., E. R., Billy fell afoul of the most noted pugilist of those parts, a man weighing upwards of 170 pounds, but our hero went for him though he only scaled 145 pounds, and in a very severe battle, lasting 45 minutes, he whipped him completely.

His evenings were spent in visiting the principal sporting houses and boxing resorts in the city, where he sparred at benefits and exhibitions. At the Assembly Rooms, corner of Elizabeth and Grand Sts., he sparred at Jack Turner’s benefit in the fall of 1865.

He also had set-tos with Sol Aaron, brother of the celebrated Barney Aaron, and with Mike Coburn, brother of the champion, Jo Coburn.

He also appeared at the benefits of Jim Elliot and Bill Davis. In these exhibition’s young Edwards displayed such remarkable prowess and ability, so much pluck, dexterity and quickness in the handling of the “mittens,” that he was eagerly sought after by men who wanted to learn the art of boxing, and he soon gained so many pupils that he concluded to give up his trade, and joined the famous Van Slyke, one of the cleverest boxers of that day, and who, for the past thirty years, has been teaching, and may still be heard from at his well-known place of business, above Daly’s Theatre, Broadway.

In 1866 he posted $1,000 to fight Jim Fox, the light-weight pugilist, but could not come to terms, and articles were never signed. In ’67 Edwards issued an all-world challenge to fight any man at 128 pounds for $1,000 a side and the lightweight championship but nothing came of it.

“Billy” was by this time well and favorably known to the leading lights of the fraternity, and by his modest, unassuming manners, his frank and genial disposition, had made a large number of friends. His reputation as a quick and scientific boxer was widespread, and his friends were eager to see him try his metal on a “foeman worthy of his steel.” They did not have long to seek an antagonist.

Sam Collyer was at that time the champion lightweight of America and had proved his claim to the title in six hard-fought fields. Billy was too good a man to waste his time on second-rate competitors and was willing to cast his dye for fame on the chance of a battle with the best in the land.

He was now finely developed and in the prime of vigor, age, and condition. He stood 5 feet 4 5 /8 inches in his stockings, with a clear complexion, though somewhat pale. He was splendidly built, with wonderful muscular development of the arms, chest, and shoulders. His loins and lower extremities were somewhat slim, but he made up for this defect by wonderful agility in getting round.

His maiden effort in a twenty-four-foot prize ring was on the 24th of August, 1868, when at Travers’ Island, Ship Neck, Cove River, Va., he met Sam Collyer for $1,000 a side and the lightweight championship of America. He was seconded by Dooney Harris and Barney Aaron and weighed 124 pounds as he entered the ring. The day was swelteringly hot, and both men found training at that time of year a most severe ordeal.

The fight at first seemed to go rather against our hero, but he had not earned the title of “the gamest man in the ring” for nothing, and he stuck to his man with indomitable pluck and perseverance.

The fight was stubbornly contested, round by round, but during the latter part of the battle Sam Collyer seemed to lose heart and strength, while Billy seemed to grow stronger and fresher the longer, he stayed in the ring.

Eventually, after 1 hour and 14 minutes, in which 47 fierce rounds had been fought, Edwards knocked his man out, and was hailed victor and champion. After his victory over Collyer, he took a tour through the country with Dooney Harris, giving a series of boxing entertainments in all the principal cities of the Union.

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