Boxing Historian's (NEW) Featured Fighters
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Heavyweight Boxer, 1858-1918
Born: Roxbury, Mass.
Died: Abington, Massachusetts
One of the most famous boxers of all-time, John L. Sullivan was
the first Heavyweight Champion of the World. Fighting bare-knuckled,
as was the style in this era, John L. Sullivan pounded Paddy Ryan
in 1882 for the title after challenging him in a newspaper ad. The
two prizefighters fought for a purse of $5,000 and the London Prize
Ring Championship. John L. Sullivan toured England, Ireland and
the US, and took on all-comers, winning every fight during his reign
as champion, 1882-1892. His greatest battle during this period was
fought against Jake Kilrain in 1889. The two bare-knuckled boxers
squared-off for 75 rounds until John L. Sullivan finally knocked
out Kilrain. In 1892, James J. Corbett stopped John L. Sullivan.
It was John L.'sonly defeat and the first fight held under the new
Marquis of Queensbury Rules.
Welterweight and Middle Weight Champion -
Record: Won 56, Lost 16, Draws 7, KOs 27
A power-packed fighter from New York, Carmen Basilio
captured the attention of boxing fans across the world during the
mid-to-late-1950s. Rated as one of the top fighters in boxing history,
he was a three-time welterweight champ and also won a 15 round decision
over Sugar Ray Robinson to collect the middleweight crown in Sept
1957. In his first try at the world title, Basilio was kayoed in
the 4th round by Kid Gavilan on Sept 18, 1953. Basilio came back
and beat Tony DeMarco in a World Title bout in '55, and won again
in their rematch in the same year - winning both fights with TKOs
in the 12th round.
1923-1969 Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the
Rocky Marciano retired as the only undefeated
heavyweight champion in boxing history. When he retired in April
1956, Marciano had a 49-0 record, and scored 43 wins by knockouts.
He began boxing in the United States Army in 1943 and turned professional
in 1947. Full of heart, brut power, and tenacity, Marciano wept
after knocking out his boyhood hero, former heavyweight champion
Joe Louis in 1951.
In 1952, Marciano knocked out Jersey Joe Walcott
to win the World Heavyweight Crown. He successfully defended his
crown six times between 1953-1955. The world was deeply saddened
to learn the news that Marciano died in a light plane crash
Light Heavyweight 1922-23 and Heavyweight
A slick boxer with a potent punch Gene Tunney
was a champion in both the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions.
He was born James Joseph Tunney in New York City in 1897 and while
a member of the US Marine Corps during World War I - 1914-1918 -
won the championship of the American Expeditionary Force in Paris,
France in 1919.
In 1922 he was the American light heavyweight
champ before losing it to Harry Greb. Tunney won the title back
in 1923 in a rematch, then, abandoned it and turned heavyweight.
In 1926 he won the World Heavyweight by beating Jack Dempsey. In
their rematch the following year, Tunney again defeated Dempsey
in a controversial bout during which Dempsey's delay in moving to
a neutral corner after knocking Tunney to the
canvas resulted in the famous 'long count' that allowed Tunney time
to regroup and in, and retain his heavyweight crown.
During 1928 Tunney retired after going undefeated
during his heavyweight career. When World War II raged, Tunney headed
the United States Navy physical fitness program.
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