“Wannop walked on his head in a most extraordinary manner”

By mid-May 1889, Jack Wannop had settled back into New Cross life and answered a challenge from the visiting Jack Carkeek, an experienced American wrestler of Cornish background. With George Steadman – the recognised ‘British heavyweight champion’ – failing to fix up with Carkeek, Wannop was prepared to meet him instead for the ‘wrestling championship… Read More “Wannop walked on his head in a most extraordinary manner”

“Without doubt Jack is the most popular man in New Cross”

A lot happened during Jack Wannop’s 14-month absence from England. It was the year of the Ripper, of course. The Football League was established. The match girls went on strike, atheists became legally allowed to sit as MPs, and thousands of sheep mysteriously rampaged across Oxfordshire.   Closer to home, theatre, dance, art and pugilism continued… Read More “Without doubt Jack is the most popular man in New Cross”

“Had he been in any shape, I think the result would have been entirely different, for no gamer man ever entered the ring…” [Wannop V Godfrey, Part II]

Word arrived in England on March 29th 1889 that Wannop had been knocked out in the sixth round, the fight with Godfrey lasting a total of 22 minutes. Seemingly every regional paper in the country carried the news, delivered from Boston via cablegram. The Sportsman went into detail on March 30. By way of introduction,… Read More “Had he been in any shape, I think the result would have been entirely different, for no gamer man ever entered the ring…” [Wannop V Godfrey, Part II]

“No sir, I won’t fight any more in this city, and you can put that just as strong as you like…” [Wannop V Godfrey, Part I]

As 1889 began, The Sporting Life received word from Jack Wannop that he wasn’t quite done with America yet, despite his stay now reaching ten months.  Jack had struck gold, he said, by “knocking the brass off” some champions in the Far West and now the money was finally rolling in. My last post suggests… Read More “No sir, I won’t fight any more in this city, and you can put that just as strong as you like…” [Wannop V Godfrey, Part I]

Back in New Cross – George Steadman v George Brown for England’s heavyweight wrestling championship

The month of May ended as badly as it had begun for a despondent Jack Wannop. In a step down from the 3,000 seats sold for his match with Lewis, his next appearance was at Milwaukee’s much smaller opera house. In front of a tiny crowd Wannop was once again beaten, at catch-as-catch-can for $200… Read More Back in New Cross – George Steadman v George Brown for England’s heavyweight wrestling championship

Jack Wannop V John L. Sullivan… sort of

Having passed the afternoon downing drinks at Mike Clark’s Boston saloon, an intoxicated John L. Sullivan staggered into Patsey Sheppard’s place, the ‘Abbey’, in a wild state. After ordering another round, and slamming down his glass, he spotted a vaguely familiar face at the bar – a burly, shaven-headed Englishman, also looking somewhat the worse… Read More Jack Wannop V John L. Sullivan… sort of

For Blood and Money: Jack Wannop V Evan ‘The Strangler’ Lewis

“Wannop was nearly killed.” So concluded a cablegram from The Sporting Life’s New York special correspondent, published on 10 May 1888 to update British readers on Jack Wannop V Evan Lewis three days prior. The wrestling match at Chicago’s Battery D Armoury for the first wrestling ‘Championship of the World’ had been hotly anticipated. A… Read More For Blood and Money: Jack Wannop V Evan ‘The Strangler’ Lewis