THE MUSICIAN WHO BECAME CHAMPION OF THE WORLD THE SHOWMAN WHO TURNED
SPORT INTO SPECTACLE
The Beauty of a Broken ViolinYarmouth, Norfolk. 1849Jem Mace, an 18-year-old musician,
is busking outside a seafront pub, well rewarded by an appreciative crowd.
Suddenly, three drunken fishermen emerge. While the others jeer, the leader seizes
Mace's violin and smashes it in half. Mace's response will shock and delight the
spectators and change the course of his life.
Lancaster, England. Milo Books.2007. 516 pp. Illust. Paperback. New
The Gypsy Connection
An Average Working -Class Family
Beeston, Norfolk 1831
On April 8, Jem Mace is born in the remote village of Beeston-next-Mileham in rural
Norfolk. He is the fifth of eight children born to William Mace and Ann Mace (formerly
Rudd). He is christened at the Anglican Church of Saint Mary the Virgin.
Parish records describe his father as "a labourer".
Jem's uncle, Barney Mace, has married the daughter of a well-known Romany family, Lurena Baker, after falling in love with her when they met at Norwich Fair.Their eldest son, Pooley Mace, is born. He will become the close friend and lifelong companion of his cousin Jem.
The AutobiographyLondon, 1908
In his autobiography, '50 years a Fighter', Jem Mace, aged 77, states "the assertion, oft repeated, that I have gypsy blood in my veins, is completely untrue". Mace attributes the notion to the fact that his cousin and constant companion, Pooley Mace, is indeed a half Romany.
Grassendale, Lancashire 1910:-
Nearing the end of his life, Mace spends time at a gypsy settlement on an abandoned farm where a boxing booth is in operation. But he is also to be found on the road with Sullivan's Circus -- and at various fixed addresses in London. Stigmatised -- whether accurately or not -- as a gypsy, his early life as a travelling violinist, his background in the 'sinful' world of the circus and his empathy with and appeal to women evoked the resentment of the righteous -- who were only too keen for him to be speedily forgotten.
It would take until the next century for a proper memorial to be placed at the grave, thanks to the Merseyside Former Boxers Association.(EXTRACT TAKEN FROM THE NEW BOOK MASTER OF THE RING BY Graham Gordon )
In his prime Mace was one of the finest-looking athletes, and the most finished boxer we ever saw in the Prize Ring. Indeed, we think it is not too much to say that amongst the Champions of England, of whom he was the last, there was not one superior to him in science and Ring-craft. Long may the veteran flourish to show the rising generation of what stuff the old-time Heroes of the Ring were made!” (Famous Fights15 April 1901)
Jem Mace appears in many issues of Famous Fights. For more information or to buy copies email firstname.lastname@example.org
December 3^rd 1871 USA New Orleans The fight between MACE & COBURN
Went 11 rounds and was declared a draw
TOM McALPINE & LARRY POWERS were CORBURN seconds
CUSICK & TOM ALLEN were MACE seconds
The fight lasted 4 hours & 10 minutes.
THANKS TO SANDY BUCKLAND
November 4^th 1899
Champions since 1710
1719 JOHN FIGG
1730 PIPES & GREETINGS
1734 GEORGE TAYLOR
1740 JACK BOUGHTON
1750 JOHN SLACK
1760 BILL STEVENS
1761 GEORGE MEGGS
1764 BILL DARTS
1769 HENRY LYONS
1777 HARRY SELLERS
1785 TOM JOHNSON
1790 BIG BEN RYAN
1803 JAMES BELCHER
1805 GAME CHICKEN PENREE
1809 TOM CRIBB
1824 TOM SPRING
1838 DEAF BURKE (claimed title)
1830 W THOMPSON ( Bendigo whipped Burke and received championship belt)
1841 NICK WARD ( brother of Jem beat Chaunt and was made Champion,
Chaunt later beat Ward and recovered title)
1845 W THOMPSON beat CHAUNT
1849 TASS PARKER beat CON PARKER and became Champion
1850 PERRY (The Tipton Slasher) claimed the championship after beating
1851 TOM SAYERS beat PERRY
1860 SAYERS fought HEEMAN then retired from ring leaving title open
1860 SAM HURST ( The Stalybridge Chicken ) beat PADDOCK and was awarded
belt but both claimed championship
1863 TOM KING beat MACE who had previously defeated him and claimed the
belt, which he gave up declining to meet MACE again
1865 JOE WORMAID beat MARSDEN both claimed belt WORMAID forfeited belt
to MACE declining to fight
1866 JEM MACE & JOE GOSS fought a draw for the championship
1867 E BALDWIN forfeit after challenging JOE WORMAID
1867 BALDWIN & MACE fought a draw
1869 MCOOLE beat TOM ALLEN in America for championship of the world
1870 JEM MACE beat TOM ALLEN
1872 JEM MACE & J COBURN fought a draw for the championship of the world
1882 JOHN L SULLIVAN defeated PADDY RYAN for the championship of America
( 9 rounds at Mississippi)
1885 JEM SMITH whipped JACK DAVIS for championship of England
1887* JAKE KILLRAIN & JEM SMITH fought a draw for champ of England at
Brugees Dec 23^rd
1891* BOB FITZSIMMONS whipped JACK DEMPSEY in 13 rounds in New Orleans and became middleweight champion
1892 JAME J CORBETT whipped JOHN L SULLIVAN in 21 rounds New Orleans
1894* CORBETT whipped CHARLIE MITCHELL of England in 3 rounds at Jacksonville USA Jan 25^th
1897* BOB FITZSIMMONS whipped CORBETT in 14 rounds at Carson City Nevada
1899* JAMES JEFFRIES whipped FITZSIMMONS in 11 rounds in New York June 9^th
JEM MACE & JOE WORMAID were matched to fight in Canada but the police prevented the meeting.
1883 September 8^th
Chicago Sept 7^th – JEM MACE & RICE the manager of the Mace party started for New York today to try to get it settled about his up coming fight.
1883 October 1^st
JEM Mace has agreed to fight with JOHN L SULLIVAN for $1.000 a side, one contest to take place in England and one in America.
1888 October 8^th
Death of Famous fighter TOM KING in England, his fights extended over a period of 30 years, he was 6ft 2 and fought at weight of 180lbs. Boston USA ,KING was matched to fight JEM MACE champion of England for £200 and the belt, this was of the most noted battles of its time, Mace won in 42^nd round by throwing King so hard he lost consciousness, another match was
made in 1862 in London, in the 15^th round Mace was knocked senseless by King and he was declared champion of England but he resigned the championship to Mace again.He married a wealthy ship owner's daughter and for many years was a
bookmaker at the English Races.
1890 London February 8^th **MITCHELL defeats JEM MACE in boxing match for £ 5,000, Mace was badly punished.
1892 July 20^th
It is said JEM MACE the ex- peer of the prize ring has applied to the Chicago Athletic association for the position of boxing instructor for the organization.
1896 December 15^th
New York – Broadway Athletic club was thronged last night to watch JIM MACE of England the ex champion heavy weight aged 65 spar 6 rounds with MIKE DONAVAN aged 49.
BOB FITZSIMMONS was born in Helston Cornwall England June 4^th 1862, he went to New Zealand in 1878 and trained in Horse shoeing, he was brought out by JEM MACE and his first professional fight was with SLADE a MAORI
who Jem Mace trained.
1901 January 18^th
Alfred Mace eldest son of Jem Mace is in Chicago preaching the gospel, 30 years ago the elder Mace made a tour of America during which he fought Tom Allen and Ned Baldwin.
1904 November 10 th
Mace will defend Old belt of Sayers, Mace is now 74 stated in London he would make a limited round contest with any middled weight in England for championship belt that Sayers & Heeman once fought for.He has recently returned form South Africa where he has been giving boxing lessons, Mace sparred with Sayers at several shows said Sayers couldn't touch me with gloves, and fought better with knuckles, he would have suited me as he came at you.
1910 December 1^st London- JEM MACE the hero of many prize fights died in Harrow-on-tyne of old age yesterday.
He was 79 he was born in Beesston in Norfolk and in his day was one of the greatest fighters of his time.From 1862 when he fought TOM KING and won he was invincible for the next 10 years.
The following photo's are used by courtesy of www.antekprizering.com.
Master of the Ring (appears again as Mace San Francisco)
Mace Champion of England (1861)
Mace and Sam Langford (1907)
Jem Mace (1909)
Mace as World Champion (1872)
Mace San Francisco (1877)
Mace the circus Proprietor