Home Boxing News The Life & Times of The Great Tom Sayers

The Life & Times of The Great Tom Sayers

Born 1897,in a one bedroom cottage in the slum area of Pimlico in Brighton on the South Coast.Tom was the youngest of five children born to Maria and James Sayers,Toms father was a traveling cobbler by trade.Tom attended the Middle Street school to he was 9yrs old,in 1840 at the age of 13yrs he left home for a bricklaying apprenticeship in London.He worked on the St Pancras and Kings Cross train stations learning his trade as a bricklayer.


Tom was a bit of a lad and played jokes on his fellow workers,when one day he went to far and outraged a guy so much he was forced into his first fight.It was arranged for Wandworth Common late at night to avoid trouble with the police.With the ground wet and muddy Tom decided to fight barefooted and also bare knuckled,he was up against a big Irish guy who was 6ft3.After 2hrs and 20mins the Irishman was carried off unconscious.The next few fights attracted large wagers but Tom still kept his day job.


He then met Sarah Powell,a 21 year old divorcee with whom he had two children by called Thomas and Sarah.Tom was devoted to the children,but his wife proved a different matter.The serious prize fights dates from 1849 to 1853 before he was defeated by Nat Langham fighting for the Heavyweight Championship Of England over 61 rounds.After this fight Tom never lost another fight to the end of his career.


Tom started to travel around seeking opponents,but it was at this time his wife began a illicit affair with Alfie Aldridge.She contnued the affair quite blatantly blackmailing tom,with the threat of exposing the children being born out of wedlock.During the Victorian time the stigma of his wifes infidelety would not have becoming to Tom and his growing reputation in his ring career.He kept quiet over the matter as to save his children from the gossip which would have scarred effect on them,and allowed the liason to continue.


In 1857 Sayers was acknowledged as Heavyweight champ by beating The Tipton Slasher Perry,on the thames estuary and retained the title to 1867 when the queensbury rules were founded.He was the first Englishman to fight a international bout on the 17th April 1860,against the American John C Heenan.It was declared a draw.There was conflicting reports on the fight,Sayers had a broken arm but some ringsiders said if had continued Sayers was getting on top and would have won.


After the fight Tom and John became firm friends and toured the country and re-enacted the fight in various theatres,which proved very successful and profitable to both.It Was Toms last fight of note and he retired,buying a house in Camden town and lived with his sister.Not a well educated man Tom in his retirement,turned to the temtations of from folks from his king of roots.Gambling and drinking were Toms downfall,and he died young at the age of 39yrs old of TB.


Such was the fame of Tom at his funeral over 10,000 people watched as the headed for the cemetary at Highgate in London.
His estranged and faithless wife,whom he had never repudiated now had another three children by her lover.Became the sole beneficiary to his will.
R,I,P,Champ

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