Time for another biography, methinks, though this one's going to be a lot shorter and pinched largely from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. I've decided to run with the main variant of my surname just for a bit of balance, so here's what I have found out about the Victorian pugilist, Tom Paddock
, "The Redditch Needlepointer".
Tom was baptised (under the name Thomas Padock) on 25th August 1822 in Redditch, Worcestershire, the son of George Padock and Elizabeth (née Morris). Brought up on a farm, he was noted to have developed a size and endurance that lasted him well in his career as a boxer.
His professional career as a boxer started in 1844; at the time he was just under six feet tall and weighed twelve stone. Between then and 1850 he was largely undefeated in the boxing ring, and gained a reputation not only for his courageousness but for his foul tactics and uncontrollable temper. It was William Thompson of Nottingham who spoilt his clean record in 1850.
Five years later however Paddock had progressed to become the (disputed) Boxing Champion of England, confirmed in 1856 following fifty one rounds in the ring against Harry Broome. However his victory was sort lived; he lost the title later the same year. He attempted to regain the title but never actually managed it.
An interesting story of gentlemanship and charity offered to him reported in the DNB is that Paddock had an ambition to fight another boxer by the name of Tom Sayers (1826 - 1865), however when the time came for the fight to take place Paddock was ill and couldn't make it to the match. Upon hearing the plight of his opponent, Sayers visited Paddock in hospital and upon learning of the latter's poverty, gave him £5 to see him through to recovery. In 1858, when Paddock had made a complete recovery, they saw each other in a boxing ring in Canvey Island after Sayers agreed to a lower stake because of Paddock's financial state. After twenty one rounds of boxing Paddock was clearly in a bad way and rather than dealing the final blow to win the match, Sayers took him by the hand and led him back to his corner, where his seconds promptly "threw in the towel". It's a shame Paddock wasn't that much of a gentleman himself.
Paddock's last fight took place in 1860. He died of heart disease on 30th June 1863.
Overall what I have come to learn about Tom Paddock was that he was far from a gentleman and that his boxing success came more from his sheer size, braun and anger problem than with any kind of boxing skill. One final story that appears to confirm this opinion is that in a boxing match where Tom Spring was present the ageing referee disqualified Paddock after a foul blow when his opponent was down, and Paddock and his friends started laying into the referee: it took the gentleman-ness of Spring to get into the ring and defend the elderly victim.
Note: The author agrees to license this content under the GNU Free Documentation License
Tags: biography, paddock, worcestershire