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The bareknuckle bruiser who was no sporting role model...

ONE thing is abundantly clear. Charlie Mitchell, a man who made a career from belittling opponents, was no sporting role model.

His relentless goading invariably went too far and often sparked violence.

The book The Strongest Men On Earth: When The Muscle Men Ruled Show Business, described him as "brave, tough, amoral and would do anything for money".

It adds: "For a time he had been the bodyguard, pimp and general fixer for a wealthy English aristocrat called Squire Abingdon Baird, a crooked gentleman jockey, arranger of betting coups and general borderline psycopath who took a delight in beating up strangers he passed in the street.

"If any of his unfortunate victims dared to fight back, Baird would call for his minder. Mitchell would come running over and dutifully continue the assault."

The violence earned Mitchell many court appearances.

But after "cleaning-up" against the Black Country's very best, he travelled to London and was crowned British middleweight champion in April 1882.

Eight months later, he grabbed the domestic heavyweight crown.

Success made something of a monster out of Mitchell. A report stated: "Sudden fame went to his head and he was known as a boaster although his detractors were quick to add that he feared neither man nor devil and was a hell of a fighter."

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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jun 12, 2016
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