Open main menu

Peter Jackson (3 July 1861 – 13 July 1901)[1] was a heavyweight boxer from Christiansted, Danish West Indies who had a significant international career. Jackson was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in the inaugural 1990 class, as well as being the 2004 inductee for the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame in the Pioneers category.

Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson boxer 1889.jpg
Peter Jackson in 1889
Real namePeter Jackson
Nickname(s)Peter the Great, Black Prince
Born(1861-07-03)3 July 1861
Christiansted, Danish West Indies
Died13 July 1901(1901-07-13) (aged 40)
Roma, Queensland, Australia
Boxing record
Total fights100
Wins by KO30
No contests31

Early lifeEdit

Jackson was born in Christiansted on the island Saint Croix, which was then the capital of the Danish West Indies. (Subsequently, it became part of the U.S. Virgin Islands.) His family originally came from Montego Bay, Jamaica.[2] His father, also called Peter Jackson, was a warehouseman and the grandson of a freed slave who had been owned by a planter with the surname of Jackson. Born a free man, Peter was in fact a Danish citizen before he gained Australian citizenship. Jackson had a good primary school education before becoming a mariner. Originally working on ships as a deck hand in the Sydney Docks since he was 14, he used his fists to quell a mutiny. This garnered him some notoriety and brought him to the attention of Larry Foley which started his career in boxing.[3]

Professional careerEdit

Peter Jackson

Jackson won the Australian heavyweight title in 1886 with a knockout of Tom Lees in the 30th round. Jackson was at one stage a pupil of "The Black Diamond" Jack Dowridge, a Barbadian Immigrant who pioneered boxing in Queensland, Australia. Among Dowridge's other pupils was "Gentleman Jack" John Reid McGowan, a fellow Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee. After establishing his boxing career, and like many of Australia's best boxers of this era, Jackson left for America. He arrived in San Francisco in May 12, 1888.[1] and promptly beat "Old Chocolate" Godfrey to gain the world 'colored' heavyweight championship.[3] During his stay in America, Jackson frequently sparred with Lees. Jackson would become an instructor at the California Athletic Club in San Francisco. He was considered one of the most "scientific" boxers of his day due to his footwork and technical proficiency.[1][4]

Jackson would once again embark on to strange lands after a year in America, leaving that country for Great Britain. Jackson fought for a 1,000 pounds and the inaugural British Commonwealth title against Jem Smith, winning due to the latter's use of wrestling tactics in the second round.[5] Later that year, during a short stay in Dublin, Jackson challenged anyone to stay in the ring with him for 4 rounds. Local champion Peter Maher, who was 20 years old at the time, was the man who took up his bet. Jackson thoroughly beat him in 3 rounds. Maher would go on to have a successful career, winning over 100 bouts. During Jackson's later years there was talk of a rematch against Maher that never materialized.[1]

Jackson repeatedly tried to secure a fight against world champion John L. Sullivan to no avail. Sullivan cited the color bar as the reason for his refusal, claiming he would never fight a black man. On 21 May 1891, in Benicia, California Jackson fought the future world champion James Corbett. The match with Corbett went 61 rounds before it was declared no contest, as both boxers were too exhausted to continue.[3] Jackson's last defense of his Commonwealth title came against his long-time rival and fellow Australian Frank Slavin. Both Slavin and Jackson had trained under Larry Foley and a real feud had existed between them for several years, due to Slavin's racism and a romantic triangle with a woman named Josie Leon. Although they had brawled before, this was the first and only professional bout between them. After a frenetic start to the fight, Jackson would gain the upper hand en route to a 10th-round knockout of Slavin.[6]

After a long hiatus in which he only took part in exhibitions, he lost a bout to the powerfully built James J. Jeffries. Jeffries was another great boxer who would hold the championship of the world in the early 1900s.

Life after boxingEdit

Jackson gained some fame during his stay in America. He stated his desire to play Othello, but it never came to fruition.[7] However, he starred in a touring production of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Despite his celebrity, Jackson would run into financial troubles following his retirement from the ring. Jackson's health rapidly decayed following his bout against Jeffries, making it impossible for him to box. Several benefits were held in order to send him back to Australia.[8]

Jackson died of tuberculosis in Roma, Queensland and was buried at Toowong Cemetery.[3] A short time after becoming the first black heavyweight champion of the world in 1908, "The Galveston Giant" Jack Johnson, made a pilgrimage to Jackson's grave, a measure of the respect in which the man was held not only in Queensland, but in the boxing community worldwide.[9] Jackson's tomb is emblazoned with the words "This was a man".

Professional boxing recordEdit


Gravesite of Peter Jackson at Toowong Cemetery.
Peter Jackson & James Corbett
Professional record summary
52 fights 42 wins 5 losses
By knockout 30 3
By decision 9 2
By disqualification 3 0
Draws 3
No contests 2
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
71 Loss 42-5-3 (2)   Jim Jeffords TKO 4 Aug 23, 1899   Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
70 Loss 42-4-3 (2)   James J. Jeffries KO 2 Mar 22, 1899   San Francisco, California, USA
69 Win N/A   Denny Kelliher NWS 3 Nov 28, 1892   Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
68 Win 42-3-3 (2)   Frank Slavin KO 10 May 30, 1892   National Sporting Club, London, United Kingdom Retained Commonwealth heavyweight title
67 Win 41-3-3 (2)   Joe Butler PTS 3 Feb 17, 1892   Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
66 Win 40-3-3 (2)   Jack King TKO 2 Jan 12, 1892   Chicago, Illinois, USA
65 Win 39-3-3 (2)   James Dalton KO 3 Jan 12, 1892   Chicago, Illinois, USA
64 N/A 38-3-3 (2)   James J. Corbett NC 61 May 21, 1891   California A.C., San Francisco, California, USA
63 Draw N/A   Mick Dooley NWS 4 Nov 19, 1890   Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
62 Draw 38-3-3 (1)   Joe Goddard PTS 8 Oct 20, 1890   Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Retained Commonwealth heavyweight title
61 Draw N/A   Martin Costello NWS 4 Sep 18, 1890   Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
60 Win N/A   Mick O'Brien NWS 4 Sep 13, 1890   Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
59 Draw N/A   Martin Costello NWS 4 Sep 9, 1890   Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
58 Draw N/A   Martin Costello NWS 4 Sep 8, 1890   Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
57 Draw N/A   Mick Dooley NWS 3 Sep 2, 1890   Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
56 Draw N/A   Mick Dooley NWS 4 Aug 30, 1890   Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
55 Win 38-3-2 (1)   Tom Johnson PTS 4 Jul 22, 1890   Marysville, California, USA
54 Win 37-3-2 (1)   "Denver" Ed Smith TKO 5 May 19, 1890   Chicago, Illinois, USA
53 Win 36-3-2 (1)   Dick Keating KO 1 Apr 1890   Louisville, Kentucky, USA
52 N/A 35-3-2 (1)   Jack Fallon NC 2 Mar 04, 1890   Brooklyn, New York, USA
51 Win 35-3-2   Guy the Gypsy KO 2 Feb 21, 1890   Washington, District of Columbia, USA
50 Win 34-3-2   James J. Walker KO 1 Feb 20, 1890   Washington, District of Columbia, USA
49 Win 33-3-2   Peter Maher RTD 3 Dec 24, 1889   Leinster Hall, Dublin, Ireland
48 Win 32-3-2   W Woodhams TKO 3 Dec 2, 1889   Brighton, United Kingdom
47 Win 31-3-2   Scotchy Gunn PTS 4 Dec 2, 1889   Brighton, United Kingdom
46 Win 30-3-2   Woolf Bendoff TKO 2 Nov 29, 1889   Portsmouth, United Kingdom
45 Win 29-3-2   Sailor White TKO 3 Nov 29, 1889   Portsmouth, United Kingdom
44 Win 28-3-2   Skinner DQ 2 Nov 27, 1889   Plymouth, United Kingdom
43 Win 27-3-2   Charles Burgin TKO 2 Nov 23, 1889   London, United Kingdom
42 Win 26-3-2   Horace Horrigan TKO 2 Nov 21, 1889   Astley's Amphitheatre, London, United Kingdom
41 Win 25-3-2   Jem Smith DQ 2 Nov 11, 1889   London, United Kingdom Won Commonwealth heavyweight title
40 Win 24-3-2   Alf Mitchell PTS 4 Oct 15, 1889   Astley's Amphitheatre, London, United Kingdom
39 Win 23-3-2   Alf Ball KO 2 Oct 15, 1889   Astley's Amphitheatre, London, United Kingdom
38 Win 22-3-2   Jem Young PTS 4 Oct 14, 1889   Astley's Amphitheatre, London, United Kingdom
37 Win 21-3-2   Jack Partridge KO 3 Oct 7, 1889   Astley's Amphitheatre, London, United Kingdom
36 Win 20-3-2   Jack Fallon PTS 4 Aug 19, 1889   New York City, New York, USA
35 Win 19-3-2   James Ginger McCormick KO 2 Aug 9, 1889   Hoboken, New Jersey, USA
34 Win 18-3-2   Billy Baker RTD 3 Aug 8, 1889   Hoboken, New Jersey, USA
33 Win 17-3-2   Paddy Brennan TKO 1 Aug 5, 1889   Buffalo, New York, USA
32 Win 16-3-2   Tom Lynch DQ 2 Jul 30, 1889   Buffalo, New York, USA
31 Win 15-3-2   Billy Baker PTS 4 Jul 29, 1889   Buffalo, New York, USA
30 Win 14-3-2   George Peters TKO 3 Jul 25, 1889   Detroit, Michigan, USA
29 Win 13-3-2   Charles Brown TKO 4 Jul 11, 1889   Chicago, Illinois, USA
28 Win 12-3-2   Shorty Kincaid TKO 2 May 11, 1889   Virginia City, Nevada, USA
27 Win 11-3-2   Patsy Cardiff TKO 10 Apr 26, 1889   California A.C., San Francisco, California, USA
26 Win 10-3-2   Joe McAuliffe KO 24 Dec 28, 1888   California A.C., San Francisco, California, USA
25 Win 9-3-2   George Godfrey TKO 19 Aug 24, 1888   California A.C., San Francisco, California, USA Won the World Colored Heavyweight Championship
24 Win 8-3-2   MJ Sullivan KO 2 June 20, 1888   San Francisco, California, USA

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Petersen, Bob (2011). "Tropical Danish, 1860-1879". Peter Jackson: A Biography of the Australian Heavyweight Champion, 1860-1901. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 5. ISBN 9780786458813. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d Broome, Richard (1983). "Jackson, Peter (1861–1901)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 22 March 2008.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Peter Jackson wants to play Othello". The San Francisco Call. 30 January 1893. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Peter Jackson - "The Black Prince" by Tony DeBolfo
  10. ^

External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Tom Lees
Australian Heavyweight Champion
25 September 1886 - 1888
Succeeded by
Frank Slavin
Won vacant title
Preceded by
George Godfrey
World Colored Heavyweight Champion
24 August 1888 - 1896
Succeeded by
Bob Armstrong
Won vacant title