A record of the Sportsman's Battalions during the First World War, including a database of soldiers who enlisted in - or served with - the 23rd, 24th and 30th Royal Fusiliers, originally raised by Mrs. Emma Cunliffe-Owen in September 1914. If you have any questions or comments, please send to fmsketches@macbrem.com, thanks!

April 27, 1915

Birmingham Gazette




By Our Boxing Expert.

At the National Sporting Club, last night, Private Jerry Delaney, of the Sportsman’s Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, beat Willie Farrell, of Southwark, on points in a 20-rounds contest.

There was a lot of interest in the match, which was a return contest, by the way. The two men had met in Birmingham last year, when Farrell lost in the second round, the match being stopped by the referee to save him unnecessary punishment.

AT 9ST. 11LB.

On that occasion Farrell was suffering from a sprained ankle, but last night he took the ring splendidly fit, as was his rival. The articles stipulated a weight of 9st. 11lb., which is a couple of pounds over the championship limit. At the weighing-in at 2 o’clock the Bradford man went 9st. 9lb., and Farrell a pound heavier.

The former had trained at Brighton, while his rival did his preparation at Wembly.

Before the big contest of the evening Sans Keller, the Aldgate fly-weight, had met and beaten George Matthews, of Hanley, in a 15-rounds match for £100. Matthews Nearly dropped his man with a terrific right in the third round, but did not follow up his advantage, and a rather open defence cost him the match on points, but it was a spirited affair, and both men were heartily cheered at the close.


It was just after ten o’clock when Farrell and Delaney took the ring before a packed house and it may be mentioned that the opinion of the experts as to the chances was reflected in odds of 3 to 1 on the soldier. Farrell certainly looked the heavier man, at the start there was more feeling for distance than anything else, although both men got in a quick stabbing left while Delaney was responsible for a wild miss with the right.

The second round saw the same eager feinting, with nothing much doing, and it was evident that the two men had much respect for each other. Delaney managed to jar his opponent with a pretty upper cut in holds, but it was not until midway through the third round that a real exchange of punches was noted, both being impelled to this action by the receipt of an irritating left in the face.

Delaney was, if anything, the quicker man, especially with regard to the left, but Farrell was very agile and his footwork notably good.

The actor had rarely got a chance to mix things, for Delaney had a habit of suddenly sending up a swift right upper-cut by the way of relying on his excellent left.


The third and fourth rounds saw Delaney lead on points, and yet he seemed to disguise this superiority somehow. In the fifth round a hard rally at close quarters saw Farrell do the postman’s knock with both hands to the body, but Delaney wound up with a nasty right just over the ear that sent the Southwardk lad staggering. Farrell was inclined to force matters now, but he usually got the worst of the in-fighting, and his face began to get rather flushed in the sixth round, the result of the attentions he had receive.

Farrell was making a brave show, but one could not resist the impression that he was being outclassed by a man who cunningly refused to display his skill to the fullest advantage.

Delaney’s defence was perfect, and in his ducking and retreating there was the economy of effort that marks the class boxer. Farrell gave no outward sign of recognizing his own subordination. He kept trying with splendid spirit to penetrate a faultless defence and at the same time to cope with an attack which was dazzlingly versatile.


When Farrell, taking advantage of a bad miss with the right, landed a pretty left on Delaney’s nose, the crowd cheered him in sympathy, but the Bradford man soon evened up matters before the bell with a few lefts. The ninth round produced some spirited boxing by both, each landing in turn, but when the half distance had been reached Delaney was comfortably ahead on points.

In the twelfth round Delaney’s nose was bleeding and Farrell’s left eye showed signs of trouble, but it was a great round for fierce work, in which Delaney had just a shade the better.

The 13th went to Farrell, who landed several lefts, and was hereabouts boxing with splendid judgment and precision and making excellent use of the ring. After this, however, Farrell fell off a bit, and seemed slower, so that Delaney scored frequently with the left, and at close quarters always held the master hand.

The last half-dozen rounds were comfortably held by Delaney, whose continual left against a very tired opponent kept forcing him further ahead. In the 19th round Delaney sent in a smashing left that would have put most men out, but Farrell survived this and two others of the same kidney.

Altogether Jerry won his fight quite handsomely without ever suggesting that the odds laid on him at the start were quite justified, Farrell’s share in the proceedings did him great personal credit.

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