‘Little Giants of the Ring’: Fighting Race and Making Men on the Australia-Philippines Boxing Circuit, 1919-1923

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

During the years 1919–1923, the Australia-Philippines boxing circuit was highly
profitable and created a transnational community of fans. Allowed into Australia as exceptions to the White Australia Policy, Filipino boxers were matched against white fighters and drew large crowds both despite and because of racial stereotyping. Using evidence drawn primarily from Australian sports papers, this article argues that boxing was a realm—at home and abroad—in which Filipino fighters challenged a racial hierarchy that deemed them primitive, unskilled, and inferior. Successful Filipino boxers thus became symbols of hope to their people. The ring was also a place in which Filipino and Australian boxers deemed too small or “pretty” to be significant men challenged narrow definitions of masculinity through their fighting prowess. While boxing provided an arena to fight and transcend social hierarchies, boxers from both countries were subject to the control and demands of the men who made profits from their fights.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAustralia’s Asian Sporting Context, 1920-1930s
EditorsSean Brawley, Nick Guoth
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Pages27-41
ISBN (Print)9780415560498
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Originally published in Sport in Society (2012) Vol. 15 No. 4 p.447-461

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  • Cite this

    Sheehan, R. (2013). ‘Little Giants of the Ring’: Fighting Race and Making Men on the Australia-Philippines Boxing Circuit, 1919-1923. In S. Brawley, & N. Guoth (Eds.), Australia’s Asian Sporting Context, 1920-1930s (pp. 27-41). London: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.