Paddock, Tom (DNB00)

PADDOCK, TOM (1823?–1863), pugilist, was born probably in 1823 at Redditch, Worcestershire, whence he obtained his sobriquet of the ‘Redditch needle-pointer.’ A burly pugnacious farmer's boy, he developed a taste for boxing, and became a strong, enduring, and resolute fighter, but never attained to the first rank as a scientific boxer. When his professional career commenced in 1844 his height was five feet ten and a half inches, and his fighting weight was twelve stone. In 1844 he beat Parsons, and, meeting various men soon afterwards, acquired a reputation for staunch courage. In 1850 he was defeated by Bendigo (William Thompson of Nottingham), a very shifty performer, who was declared winner in consequence of a foul blow which his conduct had invited. Five years later Paddock was declared to be champion of England through default of Harry Broome, but forfeited the position next year (1856) to Bill Perry (the Tipton Slasher). He made two unsuccessful attempts to regain the honour. Paddock was long ambitious to fight Sayers, who was ready to meet him; but when the meeting was in process of arrangement, Paddock fell ill. Sayers visited him in the hospital, and, learning that he was poor, generously gave him 5l. On his recovery he renewed his application to fight Sayers for the championship; but being unable to raise the usual stake of 200l., he appealed to his opponent to waive 50l., a request which was at once granted. The fight came off in 1858, and Paddock was defeated in twenty-one rounds, which occupied an hour and twenty minutes. It is worthy of record that in the last round Sayers, having delivered a crushing blow with his left, had drawn back his right hand to complete the victory; but seeing his adversary staggering forward at his mercy, instead of hitting he offered his right hand in friendship, and led him to his seconds, who accepted defeat. Paddock's last fight took place in 1860. His opponent was the gigantic Sam Hurst, who gained the victory by a chance blow.

Paddock died of heart-disease on 30 June 1863, leaving a reputation for straightforward conduct, ‘real gameness, and determined perseverance against all difficulties.’

[Miles's Pugilistica, iii. 271, with portrait; Fistiana (editor of Bell's Life in London) for the results of battles, and Bell's Life for their details; obituary notice in Bell's Life, 5 July 1863.]

W. B-t.