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One of the frequent mixed bouts

Manny Hommell was a good coloured heavyweight who lost to Jack Lalor in one of the frequent “mixed” bouts that took place before professional boxing was placed under Parliamentary control in 1923 which prohibited “mixed” bouts.

Lalor, who fought from 1896 to 1919, was one of the legends of the South African ring and in a reported 73-bout career he won the South African welterweight, middleweight and heavyweight titles.

Hommell and Lalor met on March 5, 1910 in Bulawayo and Hommell was stopped in the fifth round.

It is not clear which is the correct spelling of his name or when he was born as some reports have his name as Manie or Manny Hommel and that he was born in Mafeking, now Mafikeng, in 1886. It was reported that he was a saddler in Mafeking.

Record keeping was rather sketchy at the time and as far as can be ascertained he had his first fight in 1907 against Driver Fairclough in Mafeking, winning on a third-round knockout.

In 1908 he had five recorded fights, winning against Jack Stephens, Darky May, who was reported as the Garrison middleweight champion, Alf Barnard (he also fought to a draw with Barnard) and then was stopped in four rounds by the much lighter Arthur Douglas, in Durban.

From 1909 to 1911 he had six recorded fights with wins over Jem Donovan, Lionel Hart, Jimmy Chapman, Private F Delmaine and fought to a 25-round draw with Harry Price. His only loss was against Jack Lalor.

On January 3, 1913 at the St Patrick's Hall in Port Elizabeth he outpointed Watty Muller over 20 rounds in a bout billed as the South African Coloured heavyweight title.

In 1914 he remained unbeaten through eight fights, retaining the South African Coloured heavyweight title against Watty Muller on two occasions, John Morris on two occasions, Frikkie Paulse; and also claimed the South African Coloured middleweight title with a fourth-round stoppage win over George McKriel at The National Theatre in Cape Town on September 22.

He made three successful defences of the South Coloured heavyweight title against Watty Muller and Jim Johnson on two occasions in 1915.

However, after his last fight in 1915 against Johnson, no further fights have been traced in 1916 and 1917 -- with only two recorded in 1918 and 1919, both wins over Willie Louw.

On October 30, 1920 at Rawat’s Bio in Durban he went in against the tough Jimmy Dixon and was stopped in the 16th round.

He would have another four fights with Dixon over the next three years, losing on three occasions; and then on August 1923 at the Athletic Grounds in Kimberly he regained the South African Coloured heavyweight title with an upset fourth-round knockout over Dixon.

On November 19, 1923 in a bout billed as the Coloured heavyweight title he won on points against Rannie Kippie.

In his last recorded fight on December 17, 1925 in Cape Town he was outpointed over 20 rounds by Rannie Kippie and finished with a record of 32 wins, with 21 inside the distance, seven losses and three draws.

It was reported that he died in Mafeking in 1964 at the age of 78.


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