Billy Miske

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Billy Miske
Billy Miske portrait.jpg
Statistics
Real name William Arthur Miske
Nickname(s) The St. Paul Thunderbolt
Rated at Light Heavyweight
Heavyweight
Height 6 ft 0 12 in (1.84 m)
Reach 76 in (193 cm)
Nationality American
Born (1894-04-12)April 12, 1894
St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
Died January 1, 1924(1924-01-01) (aged 29)
Boxing record
Total fights 105
Wins 74
Wins by KO 34
Losses 13
Draws 16

Billy Miske, alias The Saint Paul Thunderbolt (April 12, 1894 - January 1, 1924), was a professional boxer from Saint Paul, Minnesota.[1] During his tenure as a pugilist he had multiple-bout series with a plethora of all-time greats including Harry Greb, Jack Dempsey, Jack Dillon, Tommy Gibbons, and Battling Levinsky, among others. Despite a career shortened by illness and an early death, statistical website BoxRec still lists Miske as the #26 ranked heavyweight of all-time.[2]

Professional Boxing Career[edit]

Miske falling to the mat during his 1920 bout with Jack Dempsey

An American of German descent, Billy stood at 6'0" and over the course of his career weighed between 158 and 190 lbs. He was managed by John Pearl "J.P" Smith (1913–18) and Jack Reddy (1918–23).

Miske was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. He began his career as a middleweight. During the course of his career, he competed successfully as a light-heavyweight and heavyweight, defeating many well known fighters. On September 6, 1920, Miske lost to Jack Dempsey in the third round of a fight to decide the World Heavyweight Boxing title. It was the first heavyweight title match to be broadcast on radio, and it was the only time Billy Miske was ever knocked out.

Illness and death[edit]

Miske fought his last bout against Bill Brennan, whom he met on November 7, 1923. At this point in his life, Miske knew he didn't have much time left before his kidneys gave out (doctors had told him he had only months to live because of his Bright's Disease). Due to his family's economic situation, however, Miske decided he had to step into the ring one more time.[3][4] His health prevented him from training for the fight. Amazingly, though, Miske knocked Brennan out in the fourth round.[5] On Christmas Day, 2013, legendary sports writer Blackie Sherrod published an inspiring article telling how Miske needed the money from the fight to give his family one last Christmas which he did.[6] Miske died in St. Paul, Minnesota of kidney failure less than 2 months later on January 1, 1924. [7][8]

Legacy[edit]

Miske's enduring legacy is that of an underappreciated fighter. It is argued that Miske deserved, but never received, title matches against Jack Dillon, Battling Levinsky and Georges Carpentier. His three recorded losses are against Hall of Famers Jack Dempsey, Kid Norfolk and Tommy Gibbons, while his list of defeated opponents boasts some of the most storied names in boxing history. Miske's final professional record was 72-15-14 with 33 wins by knockout.[9] On December 8, 2009, it was announced that Miske would be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2010. On September 28, 2012 Miske was inducted into the Minnesota Boxing Hall of Fame.

Notable bouts[edit]

Result Opponent Type Rd., Time Date Location Notes[10]
Loss United States Tommy Gibbons UD 10 1922-12-15 United States Saint Paul Auditorium, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Win United States Tommy Gibbons DQ 10 (15) 1922-10-13 United States Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
Loss United States Jack Dempsey KO 3 (10) 1920-09-06 United States Floyd Fitzsimmons Arena, Benton Harbor, Michigan For World Heavyweight Title.
Loss United States Battling Levinsky NWS 12 1919-07-03 United States Rossford Arena, Rossford, Ohio Newspaper Decision
Draw United States Tommy Gibbons NWS 10 1919-06-19 United States Nicollet Park, Minneapolis, Minnesota Newspaper Decision
Loss United States Kid Norfolk NWS 10 1919-06-09 United States Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Newspaper Decision
Loss United States Harry Greb NWS 10 1919-03-31 United States Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Newspaper Decision
Loss United States Jack Dempsey NWS 6 1918-11-28 United States Olympia A.C., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Newspaper Decision
Loss United States Harry Greb NWS 10 1918-09-21 United States Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Newspaper Decision
Win United States Gunboat Smith NWS 8 1918-07-12 United States International League Ballpark, Jersey City, New Jersey Newspaper Decision
Draw United States Jack Dempsey NWS 10 1918-05-03 United States Saint Paul Auditorium, Saint Paul, Minnesota Newspaper Decision
Win United States Gunboat Smith PTS 10 1918-04-12 United States Atlanta Auditorium, Atlanta, Georgia
Win United States Jack Dillon NWS 10 1917-11-13 United States Broadway Auditorium, Brooklyn, New York Newspaper Decision
Loss United States Kid Norfolk PTS 12 1917-10-16 United States Arena (Armory A.A.), Boston, Massachusetts
Loss United States Battling Levinsky NWS 10 1917-02-27 United States Saint Paul Auditorium, Saint Paul, Minnesota Newspaper Decision
Win United States Jack Dillon NWS 10 1917-01-16 United States Broadway Auditorium, Brooklyn, New York Newspaper Decision
Win United States Jack Dillon NWS 10 1916-12-19 United States Broadway Auditorium, Brooklyn, New York Newspaper Decision
Win United States Battling Levinsky NWS 10 1916-10-30 United States Clermont Avenue Rink, Brooklyn, New York Newspaper Decision
Win United States Battling Levinsky NWS 10 1916-10-12 United States Clermont Avenue Rink, Brooklyn, New York Newspaper Decision
Loss United States Jack Dillon NWS 10 1916-04-14 United States Saint Paul Auditorium, Saint Paul, Minnesota Newspaper Decision
Win United States Jack Dillon NWS 10 1916-01-28 United States Opera House, Superior, Wisconsin Newspaper Decision
Loss United States Tommy Gibbons NWS 10 1915-07-12 United States Saint Paul Auditorium, Saint Paul, Minnesota Newspaper Decision
Win United States Mike O'Dowd NWS 10 1915-04-06 United States Hudson Arena, Superior, Wisconsin Newspaper Decision
Draw United States Harry Greb NWS 6 1915-01-12 United States Fairmont A.C., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Newspaper Decision
Loss United States Tommy Gibbons NWS 10 1914-03-24 United States Hudson Arena, Superior, Wisconsin Newspaper Decision
NC United States Mike O'Dowd ND 10 1913-07-06 United States Saint Paul, Minnesota

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Billy Miske - Boxrec Boxing Encyclopaedia". Boxrec.com. Retrieved 2014-05-04. 
  2. ^ All-Time Heavyweight Rankings. BoxRec.com. Retrieved on 2014-04-11.
  3. ^ Ziglar, Zig, (2000). ''See You At The Top,'' pp. 331-332, Pelican Publishing Company, ISBN 1-56554-706-3. Books.google.com. 2010-10-19. Retrieved 2014-05-04. 
  4. ^ "''What If Your Number Came Up?'' Les Goates, May 4, 1952, The Deseret News". News.google.com. 1952-05-04. Retrieved 2014-05-04. 
  5. ^ "Newspaper Article: Fighter gave his all for family's holiday, Spokane Chronicle, December 25, 1985". News.google.com. 1985-12-25. Retrieved 2014-05-04. 
  6. ^ Sherrod, Blackie (2013-12-24). "Boxer needed one last fight for his family". Dallasnews.com. Retrieved 2014-05-04. 
  7. ^ "BoxRec Boxing Encyclopedia". Boxrec.com. Retrieved 2014-05-04. 
  8. ^ "The Evening Independent, 1924". News.google.com. 1924-01-04. Retrieved 2014-05-04. 
  9. ^ "Billy Miske". Boxrec.com. Retrieved 2014-05-04. 
  10. ^ Billy Miske's Professional Boxing Record. BoxRec.com. Retrieved on 2014-05-18.

External links[edit]