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Tom Sayers plaque unveiled

Posted by Alex Daley on 28th Apr 2010
Our friends at SEBA (the Sussex Ex-Boxers' Association) have unveiled a plaque to honour nineteenth-century world heavyweight champion Tom Sayers. The event took place on 17 April before a crowd that included several generations of Sayers's descendants. The plaque – sculpted by Carl Payne and designed by SEBA president Tommy Mellis – is a fitting tribute to one of boxing's pioneers, and marks the 150th anniversary of his world-title battle with the American John C. Heenan.

Tom Sayers was born in Brighton in 1826 and attended school there before moving to London at the age of 13. On 17 April 1860, he fought John C. Heenan in a brutal bare-knuckle match at Farnborough, Hampshire. The bout raged on until the 37th round, at which point the local police intervened. Prize-fighting in Britain was illegal at that time.

Although the fight was technically a draw, Sayers was still declared world heavyweight champion.

He spent much of his life in Camden and is buried in Highgate cemetery.

See pictures of the Tom Sayers plaque's unveiling

Read an excellent piece on Sayers's life and ring battles

(Plaque photo courtesy of Mick Smith.)


name: Paul Fairweather
5th Jul 2010
What a great sculpture by Carl Payne and a tremendous effort on behalf of Tommy Mellis to bring the everlasting memorial to the attention of the general public of Brighton.Not only that,but for all boxing fans.Well done Tommy and Carl

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