Ad Wolgast

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Ad Wolgast
Adolph Wolgast.jpg
Real name Adolphus Wolgast
Rated at 118–133 lb.[1]
Height 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)[1]
Nationality United States USA
Born (1888-02-08)8 February 1888
Cadillac, Michigan
Died 14 April 1955(1955-04-14) (aged 67)
Camarillo, California
Stance Orthodox[1][2]
Boxing record
Total fights 90[1]
Wins 61[1]
Wins by KO 42[1]
Losses 13[1]
Draws 16[1]

Adolphus Wolgast (8 February 1888 – 14 April 1955), nicknamed Michigan Wildcat, was a world lightweight boxing champion.[1][2][3]


He was born on 8 February 1888, his siblings were fellow boxers Johnny Wolgast and Al Wolgast.

World lightweight champion[edit]

Wolgast (right) in his title fight against Willie Ritchie, 1912.

He turned professional in boxing in 1910 and in 1911 captured the World Lightweight Title with a TKO win over Battling Nelson. After the California bout, both fighters were arrested and charged with violating the anti-prizefight law. Wolgast would later defend the title against Mexican Joe Rivers in 1912, a bout that caused controversy.[4] Delivering simultaneous blows, they knocked each other out. Referee Jack Welch counted to ten and the bout was over. However, he awarded the win to Wolgast, claiming that Ad had started to rise before the fatal ten. Rivers' fans let out a roar, believing he had been fouled. To add to the confusion, the timekeeper insisted the round had ended when Welch reached the count of four. But Welch's ruling became the official verdict. Wolgast ultimately defended the belt five times before losing it to Willie Ritchie in 1912.[3]

Later life[edit]

Wolgast was declared incompetent in 1917 and a guardianship was established for him.[3] He suffered a nervous breakdown in 1918 and was placed in a sanitarium.[3] He escaped and was later found living in the "North Woods" of California as a "mountain man." In December 1918 a Los Angeles court found him competent to handle his own affairs, and terminated the guardianship.

In the early 1920s, Jack Doyle, owner of a Vernon, California boxing venue, took Wolgast "under his wing," and allowed him to train at his boxing gym, although Wolgast was not to fight again.


In 1927 he was committed to Stockton State Hospital. He was injured by guards trying to restrain him and he had ribs broken. He died 14 April 1955 in Camarillo, California of heart complications.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Ad Wolgast". The Cyber Boxing Encyclopedia. 2008-01-07. Archived from the original on 17 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-28. 
  2. ^ a b "Adolph Wolgast". BoxRec. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "The Michigan Wildcat". Time magazine. 25 April 1955. Archived from the original on 15 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-12. Even at 61, the broken-nosed, greying little battler was more than a match for most men. It took two husky hospital attendants to handle him when they decided to get him under control. He got a chestful of broken ribs during the mauling, but he recovered quickly enough. He was used to beatings. It was a long series of beatings that had put Adolph ("Ad") Wolgast into the psychopathic ward of California's Stockton State Hospital in the first place. 
  4. ^ "Joe Rivers Dead at 65. Boxer Lost to Wolgast in 1912 Double Knockdown". New York Times. 26 June 1957. Retrieved 2010-10-05. It was on 4 July 1912, that Wolgast, the world lightweight champion, and contender Mexican Joe Rivers met for the title. For twelve rounds Rivers had the ... 

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