Wednesday, July 6, 2016

On This Day: Tom McCormick Welterweight Champion Remembered

By Peter Silkov

This year is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, which was one of the bleakest, largest, and most brutal episodes of WW1.  Also known as the Somme Offensive, it was fought near the Somme River in France, and raged between July 1, 1916, to November 1, 1916. On the very first day of the battle, Britain would have 57,000 casualties and when it was over, 1.5 million Allies and Central Powers troops died in one of the bloodiest battles of WW 1.

Of all the 420,000 casualties that Britain lost during the war many were outstanding sportsmen, including a number of boxers, including Tom McCormick, whose life and boxing career ended on July 6, 1916, at the age of just 25 years old, in the mud of the Somme.

Tom McCormick was an extremely talented fighter, whose career and life was cut tragically short by WW1.

Born on August 8, 1890, in Dundalk, Ireland, but resided in Plymouth, Devon, from an early age, after his parents relocated there.  McCormick started boxing professionally in 1912, at the age of 22.

Almost straight away, McCormick was mixing it with top class fighters.  In just his 27th professional contest, he out-pointed veteran, Young Joseph, over 15 rounds.  He followed this by knocking out Sid Burns in the 7th round, then two fights later, won a 20-round point’s decision over Gus Platts.

On January 1, 1914, McCormick won the British and Commonwealth welterweight titles, when he out-pointed Johnnny Summers over 20 rounds.

In his very next contest, McCormick traveled to Australia, where he beat Waldemar Holberg on a 6th round disqualification, and won the Australian version of the World welterweight title. 

McCormick lost recognition as World welterweight champion after he was out- pointed over 20 rounds by Matt Wells, losing his British and commonwealth welterweight titles, in the process.

Over the next 18 months McCormick would have 7 more fights, but lost 6 of them, including a May 10, 1915 contest with Johnny Basham for the National Sporting Clubs British Welterweight title, which Basham won on a 13th round stoppage.

McCormick’s boxing career was like so many others interrupted by the outbreak of WW1.  After enlisting he became a sergeant in the 12th Battalion, The Manchester Regiment, which took very severe losses from the start at the Battle of the Somme.  Tragically Tom McCormick was killed 5 days into the battle as his Battalion tried to push forward.  Tom’s body was never found, and his name is on the Thiepval Memorial.

Tom McCormick’s final record was 42-9-2.

Copyright © 2016 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to

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