Best known for becoming the first man to win world championships in three weight divisions, Bob Fitzsimmons reportedly began his professional boxing career in Australia, fighting four round preliminaries at Larry Foley’s Hall on George Street in Sydney.
Born in Cornwall, England, Fitzsimmons’ family relocated to New Zealand when he was a boy where he first learnt to box, attending bare knuckle legend Jem Mace’s touring boxing school. After winning amateur tournaments in New Zealand, Fitzsimmons turned pro and travelled with Mace to Australia where he began appearing regularly at Larry Foley’s boxing shows.
Fitzsimmons suffered his first loss to Australian heavyweight Mick Dooley but, after a series of wins, he defeated Jim Hall in 1890 in a bout that was billed as being for the Australian middleweight title. Hall avenge the loss to Fitzsimmons the following year, which turned out to be Fitzsimmons’ last loss before winning the world middleweight title from Jack Dempsey. Fitzsimmons fought Hall one last time in the United States, knocking him out in four rounds in New Orleans in a fight that was billed as being for the middleweight championship of the world, although the recorded weights suggest otherwise. Fitzsimmons returned to Australia in 1909 at the end of his career, losing a fight for the Australian heavyweight title to Bill Lang by knockout.