PHO2009_335.jpg Donovan v. Sarron boxing match, Western Park, New Plymouth (15 March 1930). Thomas Charters. Collection of Puke Ariki (PHO2009-335).

On March 15,1930, Western Park was the venue for a much anticipated boxing bout between featherweight boxer Tom Donovan, a Waitara fighter, and American Pete Sarron.

Due to the professional status of Sarron, possibly the finest featherweight boxer to visit New Zealand, the New Plymouth fight gained a great deal of public interest and drew a crowd of approximately 9,000. The bout ended controversially in the seventh round after Sarron was disqualified for pummelling Donovan with a series of illegal blows. Donovan went on to beat Sarron in two subsequent fights held in Wellington and Dunedin. The estimated combined attendance of the three fights was approximately 32,000.

Donovan later competed for New Zealand in Commonwealth and Olympic Games and Sarron continued a successful professional career in America, competing for the title of Featherweight Champion of the World.

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