Punch, September 16, 1903
[“In some London schools the masters are obliged to be good boxers in order to cope with the more unruly of their scholars.”—Daily Paper.]
From the “Sporting Man” of the week after next.
The final bout for the vacant mastership at the Hoxton Road Board School was fought out yesterday under Queensberry rules at the Passive Resistance Auctioneers’ Club between Messrs. Bradley Headstone and Wackford Squeers. The former, who is a London man, was favourite, and 3 to 2 was freely offered on him from the outset. Squeers, who hails from Yorkshire, was handicapped by the loss of an eye, but looked very fit. Indeed, as regards condition, there was little to choose between the two men when they entered the ring. Both had trained to the last ounce, and a keen struggle was anticipated.
The referee having explained the conditions of the fight, and cautioned the men against unfair holding and roughing on the ropes, the contest commenced.
Round 1.—A quiet round. The men sparred for an opening. At the end of the first minute Headstone landed lightly a the face with his left, but was heavily countered on the body. Clinches were frequent, and in one of these Squeers struck up while the pair were still in holds, and was cautioned by the referee.
Round 2.—Both masters came up to the scratch fresh, and lively rallies ensued. In the last minute Squeers received a hook on the jaw, and went down for six seconds. On rising he cut out the work, rushing his man across the ring. Headstone put in some clean counters. This was Headstone’s round.
Round 3.—This proved to be the last round. Squeers resumed his rushing tactics, but Headstone showed himself to be the cleverer man, and half a minute from the end of the round brought his right across, putting his rival out. Squeers stayed down the full ten seconds, and the referee formally awarded the decision to Headstone, who left the ring as fresh as he had entered it. The new master will take over his duties at once. It is rumoured that Wag Jones, who was at the ringside, and whose pupil, Ike Saunders, is a scholar at the Hoxton Road Board School, is trying to arrange a match between his novice and the new master, and that the winner will fight Bill Bloker, better known as the Hoxton Pet, a member of Standard IV., and the champion of the school, for a purse of £20, provided by the National Sporting Club. Bloker, as our sporting readers do not need to be told, beat the headmaster last June on points in a keenly-contested encounter of fifteen rounds. Saunders’s record, though less sensational, is nevertheless a sufficient index of his form. His best-known fights have been with the masters of Standard II. and Standard V., the former of whom he knocked out in six minutes, losing to the latter, after having had all the best of the exchanges for eight rounds, on a foul. From what we have seen of Mr. Headstone’s prowess with the mittens, we may safely predict an interesting encounter.
Unsigned article as printed; credited to P. G. Wodehouse in the Index to Vol. 125 of Punch.
Bradley Headstone: From Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens; in that novel, he is a schoolmaster with a violent, passionate love for Lizzie Hexam.
Wackford Squeers: the cruel headmaster of Dotheboys Hall in Nicholas Nickleby, also by Dickens.