Reported in the News Letter on January 3, 1959: Death of woman boxing champ who fought up to 40 men a day

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Mrs Polly Burns, once known as “woman boxing champion of the world”, died in a Dublin hospital yesterday, aged 77.

Known by her maiden name of Polly Fairclough, she was reported to have boxed with such fighters as Billy Wells, British heavyweight champion 1911-19, and Jack Johnson, world heavyweight champion 1908-15.

She was the widow of Thomas Burns, a boxer and bookmaker, of Dublin.

Her career began in her native St Helens, Lancashire, at the age of eight, when she performed in a circus.

Later, with her family, she toured Britain and Ireland with a boxing booth, fighting up to 40 men a day.

Her brothers, Tim and Jack, were also boxers.

Polly first married Tom Lynch, a boxer.

She specialised in weight-lifting acts and used to lift a pony with her teeth.