“Victory of the Foreigner”: Pierre Vigny vs. Professor Perkins (May, 1899)

  • Originally published on the Bartitsu.org site on Saturday, 2nd September 2017

This newly-discovered article from the Sporting Life of 24 May, 1899 records one of Pierre Vigny’s first public forays into the London antagonistics scene.  

Above: Pierre Vigny adopts the regulation Marquis of Queensberry stance.
Professor Perkins (England) vs. Professor Vigny (Switzerland)

Six Rounds Hardly Fought With 6-oz Gloves

At a snug and luxurious retreat in a swell part of London, about thirty sportsmen met to see the above two men do battle after the Marquis of Queensberry’s rules. With Bat Mullins as timekeeper, and M. Skeate as judge, the affair was entire success.  A difference of age told its own tale, although the loser took his gruel like a man.

Professor Vigny hails from France, where he first saw the light in 1865, but he has settled down in Switzerland. He is a strong, strapping fighter, who makes deadly use of his left. He has boxed with most of the European professors, and means touring through England so as to gain experience. He can use foils, fleurets, swords, singlesticks, and is expert in French and English boxing.

Professor Perkins is teacher of boxing to the Brigade of Foot Guards and 2nd Life Guards. He hails from Cornwall (same parish as Fitzsimmons), is forty-two years of age, scales 12st 8oz. (2 lb. more than his opponent), and has done battle with Tom Lees (Australia). Peter McCoy (New York), Jim Kane (Californian Giant), and many others.


Both looked hard as nails as they stripped, very little time being lost ere they shaped up for

Round 1.—The visitor landed several times on face and chest, Perkins going for the body.

Round 2.—Animated sparring on both sides, and hard hitting characterised this bout, both playing for opening. Slightly in favour the Swiss was this round.

Round 3.—Savage slogging, the visitor being cautioned for hitting low. A give and take set-to made honours easy.

Round 4.—Both looked anxious and sparred for a breather, the time expiring with little done.

Round 6.—Fast fighting and hard hitting by the Swiss, who stood, then crouched as he lashed out, his left getting dangerously near to Perkin’s heart. Little to choose at the close of three minutes.

Round 6 and last.—ln-fighting by Vigny, who tried repeatedly for the knock-out blow. Down went Perkins, he rising and appeared groggy. Warming to his work he did his best, only to lose a game battle which was credit to both the men.

After winning this fight, Vigny remained in London where he gave a series of fencing and self-defence exhibitions including several organised by E.W. Barton-Wright.  Vigny later became the Chief Instructor at Barton-Wright’s Bartitsu Academy of Arms and Physical Culture, where he taught savate and walking stick defence.

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