New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Tag Archives: boxing

Willie Ratner

Willie Ratner (Sportswriter.  Born, Newark, NJ, June 3, 1895; died, Newark, NJ, Apr. 3, 1980.)  For longevity at a single newspaper, the career of Willie Ratner may be unique.  Ratner joined the Newark Evening News as a copy boy in 1912 and remained with the paper until it closed Aug. 31, 1972.  He became a […]

Max Schmeling

Max Schmeling (Boxing.  Born, Klein Luckaw, Brandenburg, Germany, Sept. 28, 1905; died, Hollenstedt, Germany, Feb. 2, 2005.)  A reluctant symbol of the pre-World War II Nazi regime in Germany, Max Schmeling was the world heavyweight champion (1930-32).  Schmeling gained lasting fame for two bouts with Joe Louis (q.v.), which became charged with international political and racial […]

Walter St.Denis

 Walter St. Denis (Sports editor.  Born, Pembroke, Ont., Mar. 19, 1877; died, New York, NY, Feb. 15, 1947.)  When boxing returned to New York as a legal sport in 1911, the Frawley Law did not permit official decisions on bouts.  Fans (and bettors) turned to newspaper experts for the determination of winners (and losers).  Of the […]

Jake Kilrain

Jake Kilrain (Boxing.  Born, Greenpoint, NY, Feb. 9, 1859; died, Quincy, MA, Dec. 22, 1937.)  Born John Joseph Killion in what is now Brooklyn, Jake Kilrain became a professional prize fighter at 21.  Although prize fighting was illegal in New York during most of his career, Kilrain fought once in Brooklyn (1886), once at Coney […]

Roy Jones

Roy Jones (Boxing.  Born, Pensacola, FL, Jan. 16, 1969.) No one knows more ways to ruin a fighter’s evening than Roy Jones. If an opponent wants to slug, he soon discovers that this champion arrives at work smuggling nitro in both gloves. Jones is also a superb ring strategist who often leaves even the most […]

Jimmy Johnston

Jimmy Johnston (Boxing.  Born, Liverpool, England, Nov. 28, 1875; died, New York, NY, May 7, 1946.)  Emigrating to the U.S. at age 12 in May 1888, James Joy Johnston was to become one of the leading boxing managers and promoters in his adopted country.  Johnston was to manage four world champions – welterweight Ted (Kid) […]

Ingemar Johansson

Ingemar Johansson (Boxing.  Born, Gothenburg, Sweden, Oct. 16, 1932; died, Kungsbacka, Sweden, Jan. 30, 2009.)  Heavyweight champion for just over 51 weeks in 1959-60, Ingemar Johansson both won and lost the title in New York.  Johansson became the champion June 26, 1959, by virtue of a third-round knockout of Floyd Patterson at Yankee Stadium.  He lost the […]

Les Keiter

Les Keiter (Broadcasting.  Born, Seattle, Wash., Apr. 27, 1919; died, Kailua, Hawaii, April 14, 2009.)  For nearly a decade starting in 1954, Les R. Keiter was one of the most recognizable voices in New York sports radio.  Keiter became sports director at WINS (AM 1010) in 1954 and began doing a pre-game show before Yankees […]

Jack Kearns

Jack Kearns (Boxing.  Born, Waterloo, MI, July 17, 1883; died, Miami Beach, FL, June 17, 1963.)  One of the celebrated characters of boxing for decades, Jack Kearns (born John Leo McKernan) managed six world champions.  Kearns managed heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey for eight years (1917-25) and combined with Tex Rickard to promote Dempsey into a million-dollar gate […]

Rocky Kansas

Rocky Kansas (Boxing.  Born, Buffalo, NY, Apr. 21, 1895; died, Buffalo, NY, Jan. 10, 1954.)  Born Rocco Tozzo, Kansas was a lightweight who fought 165 times in a 21-year career (1911-32) and won the division championship in 1925.  Kansas fought just seven times in New York but earned headlines for two bouts against champion Benny […]

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The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

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A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

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