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The retired heavyweight boxer "Sailor" Tom Sharkey ran "stags," that is, illegal prizefights for all-male audiences, in the cellar of his saloon at Broadway and 65th Street on Manhattan's Upper West Side. George Bellows's studio was across the street. An all-around athlete at Ohio State University, Bellows parlayed his knowledge of sports into paintings of boxing that displayed a new and unflinching realism. He frequented an informal group of artists, later dubbed the Ashcan School, who painted urban life on the unfashionable side of the street in early 1900s New York City.

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