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He was nicknamed the “father of modern boxing” for his technical innovations in training. On May 21, 1891, he fought Peter “Black Prince” Jackson, in a match between two boxers who trained in the two most prestigious athletic clubs in San Francisco. They fought for 61 rounds and finally the fight was declared void when they declared themselves exhausted and could not continue.
On September 7, 1892 at the Olympic club in New Orleans, Louisiana, Corbett claimed the title of heavyweight world champion after knocking out John L. Sullivan in the 21st round. Corbett with a new boxing, more scientific, won over Sullivan’s strength and defeated him with strong jabs.
On January 25, 1894, Corbett knocked out Charley Mitchell of Great Britain in three rounds in the only defense he had of the title so far.
On September 7, 1894, he took part in the production of the second recorded boxing event, a fight against Peter Courtney. It was filmed at the Black Maria studio in West Orange, New Jersey, in the United States and was produced by William K.L. Dickson.
He lost his world title to Englishman Bob Fitzsimmons in Carson City, Nevada. Corbett dominated the fight for the most part, but when the Fitzsimmons coach told him to attack the abdominal area, Corbett could not take it and was defeated. After his retirement from boxing he returned to acting appearing in movies, shows and giving talks about pugilism. He authorized his autobiography under the title of “The Roar of the Crowd”; The story was published by The Saturday Evening Post in six weeks during the months of October and November 1894. The following year it was published in book format and in 1942 a film entitled “Gentleman Jim” was made, starring Errol Flynn as Corbett.
From 1903 until his death, Corbett lived in three houses in Bayside, New York.In 1933, Corbett was buried in the Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. Later he was chosen to belong to the International Boxing Hall of Fame. The brother, Joe Corbett, was pitcher of the Major League Baseball. Corbett was married to Olive Lake Morris from 1886 to 1895.
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