National Sporting Club Covent Garden

When Heavy Weight Boxing came to Covent Garden: Tommy Burns vs Gunner Moir

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Tommy Burns vs Gunner Moir, National Sporting Club,

Covent Garden London, 2nd December 1907

Who was Tommy Burns?

  • Nationality: Canadian
  • Born 17th June 1881
  • Also known as (alias) The Little Giant of Hanover
  • Debut: 16th January 1902
  • Division: Heavy Weight
  • Stance: Orthodox
  • Height: 5ft 7 inches
  • bouts: 58
  • Rounds: 485
  • KO: 59%

Tommy Burns became the first boxer to travel the world defending his title, which he did 11 times. He barred no one from challenging his title, nationality, religion or race.

During the first world war, Tommy joined the Canadian Army as a physical fitness instructor for soldiers. in 1920 was to be the last ring match where he fought British Champion, Joe Beckett. The fight was stopped in the seventh round when his own corner threw in the towel. Tommy Burns was 38, Becket was ten years younger at 28.

During his retirement from Boxing, Tommy Burns worked as an Insurance salesman and even as a security guard before finally being ordained into the church.

Tommy died at 73, buried at Ocean View Cemetary in Burnaby, British Columbia.

Who was Gunner Moir?

  • James Moir, Better known as Gunner Moir was an English Heavy Weight Boxer.
  • Nationality: British
  • Born 17th April 1879
  • Also known as (alias) Gunner Moir / Ex Gunner
  • Debut: 20th June 1903
  • height: 5ft 10
  • stance: Orthodox
  • Division: Heavy Weight
  • bouts: 25
  • KO: 10

Gunner Moir was born in Lambeth, London. He became a boxer whilst in the British Army where he became the Heavyweight champion of the British Army in India.

Success in the ring led to commercial success out of the ring, with the Gunner Moir boxing glove merchandise and advertising campaign for Phosferine tonic.

In Retirement Gunner Moir wrote the instructional book ‘The Complete Boxer’ published in 1930. He then entered the world of acting and starred in a few movies:

  • Third time lucky (1931)
  • Madame Guillotine (1931)
  • The Mystery of the Mary Celeste (1935)

Gunner Moir died on the 12th of June 1939 after a long illness, he was 60 years old.

What is the National Sporting Club (N.S.C), Covent Garden?

They found the club in 1891 and did much to promote boxing as a sport in Great Britain. What were the rules of the National Sporting Club Covent garden?

  1. Bouts take place after dinner
  2. match audience of approximately 1300 members and their guests
  3. Bouts were fought in silence (no talking)
  4. Winners in each weight category would win the Lonsdale Belt as a prize. These belts were made from Porcelain and twenty-two carat gold.
  5. The club was a private members’ club but was forced in 1928 to open its doors to the public as the mass appeal of Boxing grew. Boxers could fight to bigger crowds than was possible at the N.S.C

The club moved Stadium Club Holborn and then moving to 21 Soho in January 1930.

In 1938 the club moved to Hotel Splendid, Piccadilly. It is here the story of the N.S.C ends, as the second world war began, the club went into voluntary liquidation.

Watch the Tommy Burns and Gunner Moir fight, Covent Garden

Why not watch the match, courtesy of YouTube? Tommy Burns owns the film rights to the match and claimed in an interview afterward he extended the duratin of the match to earn more from the film.

Enjoy the match: 2nd December 1907, Tommy Burns vs Gunner Moir at the National Sporting Club (N.S.C), Covent Garden London

Where is the old site of the National Sport Club, Covent Garden

London Picks on the Ebay Store....

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