Bob Fitzsimmons was born in Helston on May 26th 1863.
It is said that Bob was constantly engaged in fights to maintain his reputation as a fighter and it has often been repeated that he `licked every boy in the school`. Bobs father was a policeman who used to give out summary justice with a cane on juvinille delinquents on the spot.
At the age of ten he left school and apparantly started an apprenticeship as a Blacksmith at the old Blcksmiths Shop in St.John`s, Helston. However, at the age of eleven he emigrated with his father James, mother Jane and six of their twelve children from Helston to New Zealand and arrived at Lyttleton on October 17th 1873. There he became a Blacksmith and eventually a world class boxer.
Bob Fitzsimmons was the only English-born fighter to hold the heavyweight crown. After success in Australasia he arrived in California in 1890 at the age of 28, where his physical `freakishness` earned him the names “Knock Kneed Crane” and “Bald Headed Kangaroo”. This extraordinary boxer held three world championships in three weight divisions; Middleweight, Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight. In 1896 he fought against Tom Sharkey in San Francisco. The referee was the infamous Wyatt Earp, Deputy Marshall of Tombstone, Arizona. On this occasion Fitzsimmons was disqualified in the eighth round for punching below the belt. He won the heavyweight title from `Gentlemen Jim` Corbet in 1897 with his speciality, the solar plexus punch. His last battle took place when he was 52 years old. Throughout his career he put up such excellent defence that when he died, aged 55, his face bore no ring scars.
He died on October 22nd 1917 and is buried in the `windy city`, Chicago, Illonois, USA. For many years his resting place was neglected until a few people of Cornish affiliation clubbed together and had amemorial stone affixed over the grave.