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Doncaster Features: Famous Doncastrian: William 'Iron' Hague

William 'Iron' Hague

William was the British Heavyweight Champion between 1908 and 1911. He was born November 6 1885 Mexborough.
Mexborough's William Hague, Boxing Champion

He was famous for having risen from bare-knuckle fighting on canal banks to fairground boxing. His first major bout was for the Yorkshire Heavyweight title against Dick Parkes in Doncaster, which he won in the 5th round. After a few more victory's Hague was invited to enter the Heavyweight Novice competition (3 rounders) held at the National Sporting Club, London in January 1908. He won this with a series of knockouts and not long after knocking out Jim Moir in the 1st round to win the English Heavyweight title on 19 April 1909.

This was the fastest win for a title on record and caused quite a sensation that he returned to Doncaster a hero with thousands lining the streets. He defended the title five times and lost the next to Billy Wells.

At the height of his fame Hague also fought strongly for race equality so he could fight one of America's most renowned black boxers - Sam Langford. He lost after breaking a bone in his hand, but it was a sensational fight with Hague knocking Langford over early on.

A famous Hague quote is "unless all men are allowed to freely compete how can you ever find the true champion".

One descendent has said on the web "There are a number of family stories about Iron Hague one was that he worked in an iron foundry where they cast anvils. He used to be able to straight arm lift 2 anvils, one on each arm and would challenge any man working at the foundry to do the same and he would pay them a pound... he did not pay up very often, if at all!."

Hague's last fight was in London, August 1915, and on retirement he joined the Grenadier Guards, and he died in Mexborough in 1951 aged 66.

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