Boxing

The image shown demonstrates the significance of Americans at the Inter-allied games but also the importance of boxing in the games. The boxer shown is Johnny Fundy an American Boxer who fought in the Inter-allied Games but also had over sixty professional fights throughout his career.

“Boxing may be called the favorite soldier sport.” This thought comes from the fact that boxing can be considered a rough sport but also shows a lot of talent mixed with brute strength, explaining why soldiers would enjoy this. During the events General Pershing explained that the matches that were happening were going to grow athleticism and sportsmanship throughout the world. The Inter-allied games revolved around this sense of camaraderie that came with competition. The Inter-allied games report showed that every nation that entered the games had the majority of their participants enter boxing and wrestling bouts. Boxing during the games was extremely entertaining and was said to draw large crowds. At every boxing match safety was also a main concern and there was an officer and ambulance on duty ready to step in if need be.

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Louis De Ponthieu of France captured the featherweight gold by defeating American Johnny Fundy. Image: boxrec.com

Boxing rules were changed during the games and the rounds were reduced to two minutes and the weight classes were established to better fit the soldiers that would be competing. This acted as a revival of boxing in the United States which got hundreds of officers to become interested in the sport of boxing and bring this interest home with them.

Many of the winners of the boxing bouts were considered experienced and some even professional when coming into the games. Often the images that were taken during the games did not come with the focus on the single competitor that was shown in this image. The boxing matches were considered some of the most important events in the games and it continued this tradition of boxing in the military that we still see today. Boxing in the military has always had a strong presence and with the Inter-allied games continuing this we have been able to see this continue through modern times.

The Americans helped to portray the importance of boxing through their love of it. Boxing was the leading sport for soldiers in France and this continued into the games. Johnny Fundy had just won his match and was standing with the American Flag which helps exemplify the toughness of these matches but also the pride that comes with an American winning. The Americans performed well in the games and won four of the weight classes. Australia also performed well with three wins throughout the weight classes.

 

Sources

Official Athletic Almanac of the American Expeditionary Forces 1919. A.E.F. Championships, Inter-Allied Games, eds. Col. Wait C. Johnson and Elwood S. Brown. New York: American Sports Publishing, 1919.

The Inter-Allied Games. Paris 22nd June to 6th July 1919, ed. Joseph Mills Hanson. Paris: The Games Committee, 1919.

Johnny Fundy http://boxrec.com/boxer/223452

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