James Red Herring

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James Red Herring
Real name James Bryan Herring
Nickname(s) Rebel Red
Rated at Lightweight
Nationality United States American
Born March 19, 1896
Paducah, KY
Died May 7, 1974(1974-05-07) (aged 78)
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 207
Wins 140
Wins by KO 58
Losses 38
Draws 28
No contests 1

James Bryan Herring, also known as Red Herring, was a boxer and a champion in the light welterweight division.

Herring was born on March 19, 1896, in Paducah, Kentucky, and began boxing in 1913 when he won a bout as a featherweight by KO, fighting on a benefit card for striking railroad workers in Paducah.

He was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army during World War I, and was stationed at both Camp Pike, Arkansas and Camp Shelby, Mississippi where he served as boxing instructor. He claimed to have gone 35-0-1 in 36 army bouts with the draw coming against the camp's heavyweight. He was the All-Southern Army Lightweight Champion in 1917. He is also said to have been the Featherweight, Lightweight, and Welterweight Champion at Camp Shelby.

In 1919 after winning a Lightweight elimination tournament in the South, Herring got a chance to meet World Lightweight Champion Benny Leonard on December 19, 1919, in Memphis, Tennessee. Leonard won the bout by TKO in the sixth round.

Herring fought Young Stribling twice in 1922 in Macon, Georgia, earning a 10-round draw in the first fight and losing a 10 round decision in the second fight. Stribling would later tell the New Yorker magazine that Herring hit him with one of the hardest punches he had ever felt in his career.

Herring won the World Jr. Welterweight title March 27, 1925 from Pinky Mitchell, when Mitchell was disqualified by referee Slim McClelland. This was disputed due to Mitchell weighing in at 146 pounds, well above the Jr. Welterweight limit. Nonetheless Herring claimed the title until 1929. He was also photographed with the title at times well after 1925.

Herring retired from boxing in 1930 after fighting a ten-round draw with former British Lightweight and Welterweight title holder Harry Mason at Utica Stadium. Herring returned to the ring in 1933 for four fights, in an attempt to bring fans to Convention Hall in Utica where he was a fight promoter from 1933-1937.

Outside the Ring[edit]

He ran a gym in Utica, NY in the late 1920s, with minor league baseball player Art Mills running the gym when Herring was on the road.

From 1938-1940 he was the Recreational Director for the town of New Hartford, New York.

From 1955-1960 he was the athletic director at Griffis Air Force Base in Rome, New York.


Herring died at home on May 7, 1974 after a brief illness. He was laid to rest in Carr Cemetery in Marcy, New York.

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