“I Fought Them All”


The Life and Ring Battles of Prize-fighting Legend Tom Sharkey


In the 1890s the fight game was changing.

The prize-fighters and bare-knuckle brawlers were disappearing as the new “scientific” boxers emerged to fight under the Marquis of Queensberry rules.

Irishman Tom Sharkey was the never-say-die fighter who bridged the gap between old and new.

Within a short time of arriving in America he took on all the top boxers of his day: his hero John L Sullivan, Gentleman Jim Corbett, Bob Fitzsimmons and the man who would become not only his greatest foe but his best friend, Jim Jeffries.

Their 25-round world title fight at Coney Island was one of the most gruelling and compelling encounters ever seen inside a ring.

I Fought Them All prints the fact and the legend, and is chocked full of the rich characters who dominated the sport and politics of the period, from Wild West gunman Wyatt Earp to Tim “Dry Dollar” Sullivan of New York’s Tammany Hall.

It is the story of an Irish immigrant, a sporting celebrity who won and lost a fortune, and of a man described by the New York Times as a “ring immortal”.


“Hugely entertaining and exquisitely researched, I Fought Them All shines a penetrating and long-overdue spotlight on one of the most fascinating figures in boxing history. Revelations about Sharkey’s private life are eye-popping, and the book is especially thorough in covering the Earp controversy. ‘Sailor’ Tom himself would growl his approval, and his massive chest would swell even larger. It’s a great contribution to ring history.”

Pete Ehrmann, boxing writer, contributor to The Ring

I Fought Them All is an excellent read. It’s well-researched and is good news for boxing fans everywhere. ‘Sailor’ Tom Sharkey was an aggressive, relentless and powerful heavyweight who ranks among the greatest who ever entered the ring. He was an earlier version of the splendid fighter, Rocky Marciano. Tom had the misfortune of fighting when boxing legends Jim Jeffries and Bob Fitzsimmons were at their best. Had he fought at any other time in history, he very likely would have been heavyweight champion of the world.”

Tracy Callis, boxing historian

 “The book features an array of characters including Wild West gunman Wyatt Earp and boxing legends such as John L. Sullivan, Gentleman Jim Corbett and Bob Fitzsimmons. At its heart is the astonishing 50-year rivalry and friendship between Sharkey and Jim Jeffries, which started after their 25-round world title fight at Coney Island and lasted until the two men died a few weeks apart in 1953.”

Boxing Ireland

“…it emits quality from the first opening crack of the hardcover until its final satisfying closing.”

Marty Mulcahey, Max Boxing

“…A fascinating story… Very well-researched piece of work with many anecdotal gems… I Fought Them All is a tale of one man who travelled from his homeland and ended up inAmericato swap blows with arguably the toughest pugilists to have ever fought in the ring. Along the way we are introduced to ‘injuns’, gun-slingers, shipwrecks, tragic love stories, gambling, acts of heroism and, of course, gruelling fights. I thoroughly recommend this book.”

Glenn Wilson


I FOUGHT THEM ALL is available in hardback for a short time at a special price:



3 thoughts on ““I Fought Them All”

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  1. Great article in the current issue of the Irish Emigrant – an excellent website for Irish communities around the world – about Magic Rat Books’ brand new biography of boxing legend Tom Sharkey.

    ‘The colorful life and times of one of Ireland’s forgotten sporting heroes is revealed in I Fought Them All, a new biography by Greg Lewis and Moira Sharkey,’ writes the website and magazine.

    ‘”Sailor” Tom Sharkey, whom the New York Times once described as a “ring immortal,” fought the first four heavyweight champions under the Marquis of Queensberry rules – becoming a boxing legend and a very wealthy man in the process.

    ‘Yet the amazing full story of his early life in Dundalk, Co. Louth, his career in the U.S. Navy and his controversial ring career has never been told – until now.’


  2. Greg

    Our family (Sharkey) would like to buy the book (hard copy). Amazon.ca and Amazon.com are sold out. Thank you.

    1. Hi Marianne
      I’m very sorry but the only version of the book currently available is the e-book on Kindle.
      There may well be another print run of the hardback, or a paperback, in the future but probably not for some time.
      I hope the Kindle version may be of some use.

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