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Series Q: Queens - horse boxing

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1342624.  Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:51 pm Reply with quote

Could someone (an Elf perhaps) give me more detail on Robby (Bobby?) Dobbs, the African-American boxer who fought on a horse (in Berlin?).

I can't seem to track down info on him.

Many thanks,


The Kristine Maitland Project
ft. The Many Black Histories
media content | presentations | research

1342641.  Mon Feb 17, 2020 8:44 am Reply with quote

Hi Kristine. I'm always pleased to see another Canadian around here! (I've lived in England for the last twenty years and I'm married to an Englishman so I guess I'm staying, but I grew up in Vancouver.) I can start to answer your question about Bobby Dobbs, although we may need an Elf to add to my answer.

Bobby Dobbs (c 1869-1930) was a black professional boxer from Georgia. As you probably know, black fighters were practically excluded from World's Championships in North America and Lonsdale Belts in Britain at his time. Many scratched a living by fighting all-comers for money on fairgrounds, and Dobbs was among them. He claimed to have had over 1,000 fights in his lifetime, although this cannot be verified because no proper records of the fairground bouts were kept.

Dobbs had spent the summer of 1910 on the fairgrounds of first Britain and then Denmark, and at the back end of the year he made his way to Germany. The sport of boxing was still quite new in Germany, and he briefly became a celebrity there after beating another American in Germany's first professional fight. It was essentially as a publicity stunt that he and his trainer in Berlin came up with the idea of boxing on horseback, and this too had a brief vogue in Germany.

Sources: This website covers his known "official" professional fights, and also contains the only known photograph of him. As you'll see, from 1903 onwards his career was almost exclusively in Europe.
This book, which concerns itself with sports that never quite caught on, contains a brief account of his creation of boxing on horseback. (The photograph is not Dobbs, and the guys in that picture had made the sport much easier by having jockeys. Dobbs had to control the horse and fight his opponent.)

1342649.  Mon Feb 17, 2020 10:05 am Reply with quote

I have that book!

1342684.  Mon Feb 17, 2020 3:15 pm Reply with quote

And I can reveal that
suze wrote:
This website
has got the name of one of his opponents in Copenhagen wrong.

"Holger Hanson" was so unlikely to be right that I did a few checks.
Danish sources says Holger Hansen. (which is exactly what I would expect - Hanson being the classic Americanization of Hansen)


Re images: does this count?

(oh, the joy of being able to google in local languages...)

1342687.  Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:43 pm Reply with quote

Well done Dix, that definitely counts!

Is it a trick of the light, or is that photo more revealing than Mr Dobbs probably wanted it to be?


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