History | Sep 07 2019

On This Day: Stanley Ketchel is beaten unmercifully from the first round by Billy Papke

MIddleweight king Stanley Ketchel is dethroned by Billy Papke in one of the bloodiest battles in history
Stanley Ketchel
Stanley Ketchel

ONE of boxing history’s fiercest rivalries wrote one of it’s most ferocious chapter on September 7, 1908 as the middleweight champion of the world, Stanley Ketchel, was knocked out in the twelfth round at Jeffries’s Vernon Arena in California by Billy Papke.

Both 21 year olds entered the ring in pristine fighting condition, but the fight ended as one of the bloodiest in ring history.

Ketchel – already a decision winner over Papke that June – was a clear favourite with the crowd. When Papke entered he walked briskly to Ketchel’s corner and cordially greeted him with a handshake and smile, but when referee James J Jeffries called time and Ketchel walked to the centre of the ring, extending his hand for the shake, Papke ignored the hand and sailed into Stanley with the kind of savage impetuosity that earned him the ‘Illinois Thunderbolt’ nickname.

Stanley Ketchel