Vintage newspaper portrait of bare-knuckle boxer Yankee Sullivan (c1811 - 1856) - self-proclaimed heavyweight Champion of America from 1851 to 1853.

- Image ID: F2YP5R
Fistiana / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: F2YP5R
Vintage newspaper portrait of bare-knuckle boxer Yankee Sullivan (c1811 - 1856) - self-proclaimed heavyweight Champion of America from 1851 to 1853. Sullivan (also known as James Ambrose, James Sullivan and Frank or Francis Murray) was a native of Ireland who served time as a convict in Australia before arriving in New York in the early 1840s and gaining a reputation as a prizefighter and political enforcer. He failed in a bid to win the American heavyweight title when he was beaten in 16 rounds by champion Tom Hyer (1819 - 1864) at Still Pond Creek, Maryland, on February 7 1849, but proclaimed himself the champion when Hyer later retired. Sullivan's "reign" ended when he controversially lost to John Morrissey (1831 - 1878), nicknamed "Old Smoke", following a 37 round bout on October 12 1853 at Boston Corners, New York, which ended in chaos when spectators invaded the ring and a mass brawl broke out. Sullivan later moved to California and died mysteriously in prison while being held for alleged involvement in election fraud - he was found with his wrist slit in an apparent suicide but many suspected he had been murdered. Portrait circa 1893.

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