Jubb beats Hopkins by more than a whisker

Luke G. Williams
16/12/2016 11:50am

Although Bernard Hopkins holds the record for being boxing’s oldest world champion, the oldest boxer to ever participate in a sanctioned bout is harder to determine ... 

Mickey Rourke made headlines in 2014 when he took part in a bout in Moscow aged 62, defeating 29-year-old Elliot Seymour in two rounds in a contest believed by most to have been a PR stunt. Tellingly, Boxrec lists Rourke’s professional record as 6-0-2, and does not include the Seymour ‘contest’ on his ledger.

The Guinness Book of Records has anointed Chesterfield cruiserweight Stephen Ward as the “oldest [currently] active boxer” in the world, after the 59-year-old participated in a professional contest against Jody Meikle in December 2015.

However, Ward was a bit of catching up to do if he is to be regarded as the oldest boxer of all time - a honour that probably rests at present with one Corporal William Jubb.

A trawl through newspaper archives reveals that in the 1930s in Florida there was a short-lived and somewhat bizarre series of bouts among post-pension age boxers competing for what became known as the ‘Whiskerweight Championship’.

Overseen by an organisation known as the ‘The Three Quarter Century Club’, the Brisbane Mail in 1933 reported that this title was contested for by Jubb, then aged 92, and one George Washington Brown, aged 80, in a bout overseen by a 101-year-old referee.

“Jubb and Brown boasted chin whiskers of the Kentucky colonel type,” the Mail reported, “and their facial adornments led to a Florida critic to dub the contest as being for the ‘Whiskerweight championship of America’.”

Despite expressing concern about the contest, city authorities in St Petersburg allowed it to go ahead on the proviso that a doctor was present.

In round one it was reported that the combatants were “waving like palm trees in the gentle ocean breeze," while in the third stanza Brown apparently knocked Jubb's false teeth out of his mouth. By the final round "both aspirants were locked in an embrace on the floor as 2,000 tourists cheered.”

The Mail reported that the contest ended in a draw, although it seems that Jubb might have won a contest for this title at one point, as the following year, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that he had vacated the title, leaving the comparatively sprightly Dr M. H. Emory (aged 78) and Charley Young (79) to battle it out in a two knockdown thriller that also ended in a draw.

The fate of the whiskerweight championship after 1934 is unclear.

Thanks to Gary Lucken