“Smokers” in Sayre 1919
According to the Towanda Daily Review Two excellent boxers were to meet for a final bout at the New Sayre Theater on Friday evening July 18, 1919. Sammie Baker of Binghamton, NY and Jimmy Gray of Auburn, NY would clash. Baker weighed in at 141 pounds while Gray tipped the scales at 150 pounds. Bake was last seen in action in this area when he boxed Mickey O’Brien at the Federation of Labor mass meeting and smoker. Gray has never boxed in this section. The bout was scheduled for ten rounds.
For the semi-final Young O’Neil of Hazelton, PA and Young Bungo, Brooklyn, NY, O’Neil weighing 124 pounds and Young Bungo two pounds more, donned boxing gloves. Both were good mixers and the boxing fans would be treated to a rare exhibition of sparring. Neither of these boys had been seen in action in this vicinity. The bout was for eight rounds.
Kid Powell of Waverly, who boxed Young Spider of Binghamton at the Federation of Labor mass meeting and smoker, was to box Young Terwilliger of Binghamton for six rounds. Powell weighed in at 126 and Terwilliger a pound less. The curtain raiser consisted of a four-round bout between Peter Solomon and Kid Blackman of Sayre.
The next day the Review reported that the smoker held last evening, was a real time in every sense. The boxing bouts were full of pep, and the last one was the best that has ever been pulled off here. It was between Sammie Baker, 147 pounds, of Binghamton and Jimmy Gray, 152 pounds of Auburn. The bout went for the full ten rounds scheduled and was fought to a draw.
In the semi-final between Young Bungo, 115 pounds of Brooklyn, and Young O’Neil, 116 pounds of Hazelton, PA, in the third round O’Neil fell to the floor and doubled up, giving the impression of a foul. A doctor was called and examined the young pugilist, who recovered and went in on the fourth round, but the bout was decided as a technical knockout.
A preliminary between Kid Powell of Waverly, and Young Terwilliger of Binghamton, went for six rounds, when Powell was defeated on points.
The other between Young Solomon and Kid Blackman, both of Sayre, went four rounds. Blackman being declared the winner on points.
Other features of the evening were a speech by Frank Brock of Elmira, on behalf of the Elmira strikers. A collection of $68 was raised for the strikers and the Ingersoll Rand base ball team will play the strikers team as a benefit. A tumbler entertained the people with stunts in his line.
Jack Mitchell was the referee of all the bouts, and William Schrier of Athens oversaw the program.
On August 8, 1919 it was announced that on August 22, Valley boxing fans would be treated to a rare box office show at the new Sayre theater. Manager Mitchell spared no expense obtaining the best boxers and mixers in two states. For the big bout of ten rounds, Young Mahoney of Hazelton, PA would box Harry Boyle of Philadelphia. Both weighed in at 135 pounds. All in the vicinity remember the two sensational battles that Harry Boyle had with Young Maxwell of Albany, both bouts ended in draws. Young Mahoney was also a man with an enviable reputation having fought Johnny Kilbane, Joe Typiets and Frankie Britts, champion of Boston.
The semi-finals would be for eight rounds between two boys who have never been seen in this part of the state. Young Nitichie, of Binghamton would box Young Taylor of Syracuse. Bothe weighed in at 135 pounds apiece.
Local fans since the last smoker, had been clamoring for another bout with Young O’Neil of Hazelton. Their hope would come true on the twenty-second when he would box six rounds with Young Murphy of Auburn, NY, O’Neil was knocked out technically by Young Bungo some time ago, these boys weighed 115 pounds.
Kid Blackman, the boy with a smile, of Sayre, would box Young Bull Murray, of Waverly for six rounds. These boys weighed 137 pounds.
For the curtain raiser Young Brown of Sayre would box but his opponent was not yet named.
Manager Mitchell will referee the bouts and announced that if the show was well patronized, he will stage better ones in the future. This was the very best boxing show that has been staged here and fans should show their appreciation of It by buying tickets and being at the theater at eight-thirty sharp.
Samuel Baker whose name was really Becker was born January 1, 1892 in Poland. His boxing debut was April 3, 1912.
Jimmy Gray has his debut April 20, 1915.
Henry Farley is a founding member and a current board member of the Sayre Historical Society. He is also president of the Bradford County Historical Society.