John C. Heenan’s Exercise Clubs and Boots

Posted on Monday, February 15th, 2016 by John Wood

April 17, 1860 is a famous date in pugilistic lore, it was on that date that American John C. Heenan was to face the Brit Tom Sayers in a bare-knuckle bout to decide the World’s first international Boxing champion. Like all big fights, this one captured the public’s imagination and topics which would normally be ignored were highlighted in great detail.

The newspapers of the day followed Heenan’s training regimen with great interest and among his preparations for the fight, Heenan swung Indian clubs to condition his shoulders (a gift from Sim Kehoe himself!) Despite giving up forty pounds and five inches in height, Heenan was in fine fettle come fight time. Above is a rare engraving showing Heenan’s clubs and exercise shoes. As for the fight, the action lasted forty-two rounds spread out over two hours. you can read more about the outcome HERE.

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