Simon Byrne (1806 - June 2nd 1833), called “The Emerald Gem” ( emerald stone), was a champion Irish of Pugilat, sport ancestor of the English Boxe in which the boxers fought with naked hands. Champion heavy trucks of Ireland, it gains the England, animated by the hope and lure of gain to charm the same title there. He becomes one of the first four boxers in the world with being implied in boxing matches mortals, at the same time as a winner and as overcome. Its death was besides an event which took part in the improvement of the safety regulations in English boxing.
Byrne fought at one time when English boxing, although illegal, was not only popular, but also constant and financially encouraged by people most socially influential. In spite of that, this sport was not free from practices of Corruption, bets and faked matches. According to the files one has today, it appears that Byrne disputed only eight matches. One can nevertheless measure the importance of his career and his notoriety in his time with the stakes disputed at the time of three of these matches: its combat against Alexander McKay, champion of Scotland, in order to be able to face the champion of England Jem Ward, combat during which its adversary was killed; the combat following against Jem Ward, that Byrne lost and, according to what was known as at the time, lasting which Byrne was not in a position to fight; and finally its final combat against the successor of Jem Ward to the championship of England, James Burke, in which Byrne was killed.
English boxing at the beginning of the XIXe century
During first half of the 19th century, the Pugilat had a curious statute in the British company. Although supported by many members of the Establishment , to begin with the princes themselves, which were diverted while betting on meetings of pugilism, this sport was illegal. According to certain sources, this prohibition was due much less to the dangerosity of this sport for the boxers that with the various disorders of the law and order, such as riot S, that the meetings of pugilism generated. In spite of prohibition, the matches were announced by public posting, and the place of appointment was changed at the last minute to divert the authorities.
The rules governing pugilism were based on those established by Jack Broughton in 1748, ambiguous and vague, prone to various interpretations. Fight with the body with body, bites, fingers in the eyes or blows “in lower part of the belt” were practices often accepted by the referee. Pugilism had a success without precedent near the public during the period of the regency in the United Kingdom, when it was supported and encouraged by the prince regent Régent and his brothers. The matches of championship acquired a reputation of places to the mode in the aristocratic rich person classes. Thus, it was not rare to see a match draining thousands of people, of which a majority of punters. It was even told that the duke of Cumberland, brother of the king George III, had bet thousands of pounds sterling on the legendary boxer Jack Broughton.
During the Years 1820, boxing had become a genuine hearth of Corruption as regards bets. The time of the reign of Jem Ward on the English championship constitutes an typical example of the practices of corruption which had course then: Jem Ward was indeed known to agree to knowingly lose engagements with the help of a financial counterpart - he admitted besides once to have received £ 100, a sum which would be equivalent today to several thousands of pounds sterling. At the dawn of the Années 1830, it was of public notoriety that boxing constituted a sport governed by corruption; who more is, abusive disqualifications and frauds without shame were currency. Thus, the band of the supporters of Nick Ward, brother of Jem, which succeeded to him the championship, often intimidated the referees with an aim of obtaining the disqualification of its adversaries. It is in this context that Simon Byrne tried to earn his living.
Beginnings of Simon Byrne
One knows very few things about the childhood of Byrne, except the fact that it was born in Ireland in 1806. Its first combat, in 1825, ended in a defeat against Mike Larking: the combat lasted 138 series, over one duration of two hours and half - at that time, the rounds were of variable duration, and generally finished when a man was reversed. Its second combat, against Manning Jack in 1826, ended in an arrangement and Byrne gained £100. The following match was its first combat against the Scottish boxer Alexander McKay, which it easily beat in five rounds, empochant £100. This match was the first great preceded match of McKay. This victory of Byrne was quickly followed of another victory, against Bob Avery, combat at the conclusion which it empocha £50, then of a victory over Phil Samson in 1829, saving to him £200. If one converts these profits on current bases, they constituted enormous sums; it is however surprising, at the time of a match against inexperienced McKay which it had beaten easily first once, which sums about £200 to him were allotted, independently of the exit of the match. This sum would be equivalent to £13 000 today.
Byrne against Alexandre McKay
The second confrontation of Simon Byrne and Alexandre McKay was the first combat which left Byrne anonymity and sitted its incipient notoriety. The June 2nd 1830, Byrne, credited for the occasion with the championship with Ireland, faced the champion of Scotland McKay, in order to have the right then to face Jem Ward, the champion Heavy truck of England. The match was prepared and organized in Castle Tavern, property of Tom Spring with Holborn. Tom Spring, former champion of boxing, enjoyed a real notoriety and, as Trésorier of the Fair play Club, had a considerable influence in the world of Boxing. With two other boxers of legend, Gentleman Jackson and Tom Cribb (which was also the trainer of Byrne), he was the sponsor of Byrne for the match. Cribb was regarded as one of the largest combatants of the time: one of these engagements gathered more than 20.000 people.
The contracts were signed with the tavern of Tom Spring and it was decided that the combat would be held with Hanslope, Buckinghamshire. However, whereas a vast crowd of spectators started to arrive at Hanslope, the place of appointment was moved at the last minute in with Salcey Green, a zone of countryside and drill in the Northamptonshire, returning any action of the policemen of impossible Buckinghamshire.
In spite of the importance which this combat in comparison of publicity and the enormous engaged sums had, it was only the fourth combat with equipment of McKay, and its second against Byrne; two years and half before, Simon Byrne had beaten it. From this date, McKay fought and gained three matches, saving to him £140, whereas during the same Byrne time had gained £250. Each of the two men were for this match assured to gain an equipment of £200, but McKay would not be paid that £40 if it gained. For McKay, these sums were considerable and constituted a true fortune; it is only during its preceding combat that it was to ensure to gain, whatever the exit of the match, the sum of £100.
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