Les Darcy

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Les Darcy
Les Darcy Suit 2.jpg
Statistics
Real name James Leslie Darcy
Nickname(s) The Maitland Wonder
Rated at Middleweight
Height 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Reach 71 in (180 cm)
Nationality Australian
Born (1895-10-31)31 October 1895
Stradbroke, near Woodville, New South Wales
Died 24 May 1917(1917-05-24) (aged 21)
Memphis, Tennessee, US
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 56
Wins 52
Wins by KO 32
Losses 4
Draws 0
No contests 0

James Leslie ("Les") Darcy (31 October 1895 – 24 May 1917) was an Australian boxer. He was a middleweight, but held the Australian Heavyweight Championship title at the same time.

History[edit]

Portrait of Darcy

Les Darcy was born near Maitland, New South Wales. He started boxing as an amateur at age fifteen and quickly turned professional. He won his first sixteen fights before challenging the veteran Bob Whitelaw for the Australian welterweight title. Darcy lost the twenty-round decision but, in a rematch, knocked Whitelaw out in five rounds.

Darcy graduated from regional bouts to fighting in Sydney Stadium, in Rushcutters Bay, and promoters began to import talent to challenge him. He lost his first two fights in Sydney, one by decision and one by foul, to America's Fritz Holland. The next year Darcy faced another American, Jeff Smith, in what was considered a contest for the Australian world middleweight title. When Darcy complained of a low blow at the end of the fifth round, the referee believed that Darcy did not want to continue and awarded the decision to Smith. In a rematch, Darcy was awarded the victory when Smith punched him in the groin.

As Australian world middleweight champ, Darcy defeated such top-flight visiting Americans as Eddie McGoorty, Billy Murray, Jimmy Clabby, George Chip, George "KO" Brown, and Buck Crouse, as well as knocking out Smith and Holland in rematches.Darcy's opponents are said to have admired his courage, stamina, and punching power. In 1916, Darcy KO'd Harold Hardwick to capture the Australian heavyweight title.

Darcy became embroiled in the politics of conscription during the First World War, and left Australia for the United States to avoid the aggravation. He died on 24 May 1917 from Septicaemia and medical complications, which it was speculated to be from dental work he received to replace teeth which had been knocked out during a bout.(FitzSimons, Peter. 2007, The Ballad of Les Darcy)

After his death, his embalmed body was returned to Australia, where an estimated half-million people paid their respects.

Legacy[edit]

Darcy was inducted into The World Boxing Hall of Fame in October 1998 and the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame in 2003.

In 2001, Raffaele Marcellino's opera The Flight of Les Darcy, with libretto by Robert Jarman, premiered at the "10 Days on the Island" festival in Hobart. The character of Darcy has no singing role but is portrayed by a dancer, and draws on the story that he played the violin to prepare himself for fights.[1]

Professional boxing record[edit]

52 Wins (32 knockouts, 19 decisions, 1 disqualification), 4 Losses, 0 Draws[2]
Res. Record Opponent Type Rd. Date Location Notes
Win 52–4 United States George Chip KO 9 (20) 1916-09-30 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales For world middleweight title (Australian version)
Win 51–4 United States Jimmy Clabby Decision 20 (20) 1916-09-09 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales For world middleweight title (Australian version)
Win 50–4 Australia Dave Smith TKO 11 (20) 1916-08-16 Australia Brisbane Stadium, Brisbane, Queensland For Australian heavyweight title
Win 49–4 Australia Dave Smith KO 12 (20) 1916-06-24 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales For Australian heavyweight title
Win 48–4 United States Buck Crouse KO 2 (20) 1916-05-29 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales
Win 47–4 Romania Alex Costica TKO 4 (20) 1916-05-13 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales For world middleweight title (Australian version)
Fight stopped by police inspector after Costica had been badly beaten
Win 46–4 United States George "K.O." Brown Decision 20 (20) 1916-04-08 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales
Win 45–4 Australia Les O'Donnell TKO 7 (20) 1916-03-25 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales For Australian heavyweight title
Win 44–4 Australia Harold Hardwick TKO 7 (20) 1916-02-19 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales For Australian heavyweight title
Win 43–4 United States George "K.O." Brown Decision 20 (20) 1916-01-15 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales
Win 42–4 United States Eddie McGoorty TKO 8 (20) 1915-12-27 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales For world middleweight title (Australian version)
Win 41–4 United States Billy Murray TKO 6 (20) 1915-11-01 Australia West Melbourne Stadium, West Melbourne, Victoria
Win 40–4 United States Jimmy Clabby Decision 20 (20) 1915-10-23 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales For world middleweight title (Australian version)
Win 39–4 Wales Fred Dyer TKO 6 (20) 1915-10-09 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales For world middleweight title (Australian version)
Win 38–4 United States Billy Murray Decision 20 (20) 1915-09-04 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales For world middleweight title (Australian version)
Win 37–4 United States Eddie McGoorty TKO 15 (20) 1915-07-31 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales For world middleweight title (Australian version)
Win 36–4 Australia Mick King TKO 10 (20) 1915-06-12 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales For world middleweight title (Australian version)
Win 35–4 United States Jeff Smith DQ 2 (20) 1915-05-22 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales For world middleweight title (Australian version)
Win 34–4 United States Fritz Holland TKO 13 (20) 1915-05-01 Australia West Melbourne Stadium, West Melbourne, Victoria
Win 33–4 Belgium Henri Demlen TKO 5 (20) 1915-04-03 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales
Win 32–4 United States Fritz Holland Decision 20 (20) 1915-03-13 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales
Win 31–4 United States Frank Loughrey Decision 20 (20) 1915-03-13 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales
Loss 30–4 United States Jeff Smith DQ 5 (20) 1915-01-23 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales For world middleweight title (Australian version)
Win 30–3 Wales Fred Dyer Decision 20 (20) 1914-12-26 Australia Baker's Stadium, Brisbane, Queensland
Win 29–3 United States Gus Christie Decision 20 (20) 1914-11-07 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales
Win 28–3 France Victor "K.O." Marchand KO 5 (20) 1914-10-05 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales
Loss 27–3 United States Fritz Holland DQ 18 (20) 1914-09-12 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales
Loss 27–2 United States Fritz Holland Decision 20 (20) 1914-07-18 Australia Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales
Win 27–1 Australia Billy McNabb TKO 4 (20) 1914-04-23 Australia Andrews Ascot Stadium, West Maitland, New South Wales[3]
Win 26–1 Australia Bob Whitelaw KO 5 (20) 1914-03-21 Australia Andrews Ascot Stadium, West Maitland, New South Wales
Win 25–1 Australia Young Hanley TKO 5 (20) 1914-01-30 Australia Olympia A.C., Newtown, New South Wales
Win 24–1 England Jack Clarke TKO 9 (20) 1914-01-05 Australia Olympia A.C., Newtown, New South Wales
Loss 23–1 Australia Bob Whitelaw Decision 20 (20) 1913-11-03 Australia Victoria Theatre, Newcastle, New South Wales For Australian welterweight title
Win 23–0 Australia Billy McNabb Decision 20 (20) 1913-10-25 Australia Andrews Ascot Stadium, West Maitland, New South Wales
Win 22–0 Australia Joe Shakespeare TKO 7 (20) 1913-09-27 Australia Andrews Ascot Stadium, West Maitland, New South Wales
Win 21–0 Australia Reg Regio Delaney TKO 8 (20) 1913-07-19 Australia Andrews Ascot Stadium, West Maitland, New South Wales
Win 20–0 Australia Billy Hannan TKO 18 (20) 1913-03-15 Australia Andrews Ascot Stadium, West Maitland, New South Wales Police intervened
Win 19–0 Australia Jim Burns KO 11 (20) 1912-12-14 Australia Adelphi Hall, West Maitland, New South Wales[4]
Win 18–0 United States Dave Depena TKO 9 (20) 1912-11-04 Australia Summer Park, Newcastle, New South Wales[5]
Win 17–0 Australia Peter Barnes TKO 9 (10) 1912-09-28 Australia Summer Park, Newcastle, New South Wales Final, 10-stone competition
Win 16–0 Australia Peter Devon[6] TKO 6 (8) 1912-09-21 Australia Summer Park, Newcastle, New South Wales Semi-final, 10-stone competition
Win 15–0 Australia Harry Richards Decision 8 (8) 1912-09-14 Australia Summer Park, Newcastle, New South Wales
Win 14–0 Australia Jim Burns Decision 6 (6) 1912-08-24 Australia Summer Park, Newcastle, New South Wales
Win 13–0 Australia Tom Page Decision 10 (10) 1912-05-04 Australia Summer Park, Newcastle, New South Wales Summer Park tournament, 10 stone division, final
Win 12–0 Australia Harry Emery Decision 8 (8) 1912-04-27 Australia Summer Park, Newcastle, New South Wales Summer Park tournament, 10 stone division, semi-final
Win 11–0 Australia Tom Rhymer[7] TKO 6 (8) 1912-04-06 Australia Summer Park, Newcastle, New South Wales Summer Park tournament, 10 stone division, round two
Win 10–0 Australia Roger Fairbairn TKO 4 (6) 1912-03-30 Australia Summer Park, Newcastle, New South Wales Summer Park tournament, 10 stone division, round one
Win 9–0 Australia Harry Ford[8] KO (11) 10 1912-02 Australia Summer Park, Newcastle, New South Wales
Win 8–0 Australia Peter Cook[8] KO (10) 10 1912-02 Australia Summer Park, Newcastle, New South Wales
Win 7–0 Australia Harry Emery[8] KO 6 (10) 1912-01-10 Australia Summer Park, Newcastle, New South Wales
Win 6–0 Australia Les Althorne[8] KO 3 (4) 1911-09-12 Australia Maitland Showground, Maitland, New South Wales
Win 5–0 Australia Sam Norman[9] Decision (4) (4) 1911-09-12 Australia Maitland Showground, Maitland, New South Wales
Win 4–0 Australia Sid Pascoe[8] KO 2 (10) 1911-08-08[10] Australia Andrews Ascot Stadium, West Maitland, New South Wales
Win 3–0 Australia Tom Donohue[11] Decision 4 (4) 1911-07-26 Australia West Maitland Town Hall, West Maitland, New South Wales[12]
Win 2–0 Australia Young Texas[11] Decision 4 (4) 1911-04-07[13] Australia West Maitland Town Hall, West Maitland, New South Wales
Win 1–0 Australia George 'Governor' Balser Decision 11 (10) 12-1910 Australia Thornton, New South Wales

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Peter FitzSimons, The Ballad of Les Darcy
  2. ^ Table information is compiled from "Les Darcy – Boxer"; Maitland Tourism, p. 1; Park and Champion, pp. 354–355; and Power, p. 159. Any conflicting data is footnoted.
  3. ^ Andrews Ascot Stadium, also known simply as Andrews' Stadium, was an open-air arena in Abbott Street, West Maitland, behind the Currency Lass Hotel. It measured 75 feet (23 m) by 90 feet (27 m), and held about 1000 people (Power, p. 132). Billy Hannan, one of Darcy's opponents, describes it as a 'ponced-up dump' (Park and Champion, p. 30) 32°44′24.42″S 151°33′44.38″E / 32.7401167°S 151.5623278°E / -32.7401167; 151.5623278.
  4. ^ Now defunct; current address 196 High Street, Maitland. 32°44′23.76″S 151°33′49.22″E / 32.7399333°S 151.5636722°E / -32.7399333; 151.5636722
  5. ^ Summer Park Stadium was built in 1905 and was originally known as Rowes Running Track, later as Newcastle Athletic Pavilion (Power, p.151). It was located 'directly opposite Honeysuckle Station, Hunter St West, Newcastle, where the present Waterboard Offices now stand' (Power, p.111) 32°55′38.97″S 151°45′54.55″E / 32.9274917°S 151.7651528°E / -32.9274917; 151.7651528
  6. ^ Also listed as 'Hugh Devon' (Power, p. 125
  7. ^ Alternatively spelled as 'Rymer' (Power, p.159; Maitland Tourism, p.1.
  8. ^ a b c d e Carr, Matt (11 February 2010). "Extra bouts win for Darcy grave plan". Newcastle Herald (Newcastle: Fairfax Media). p. 11. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  9. ^ Swanwick, p.30
  10. ^ Popling, J. V. (20 December 1946). "Boxing Recollections". Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Queensland). p. 12. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  11. ^ a b Leo James Lonergan fought Darcy twice, first under the name of 'Young Texas' in April 1911, then under the name of 'Tom Donohue' (listed as 'Dan Donohue' in Power, p. 159) in July 1911. Darcy fought the April bout under the name of 'Pat Donohue', and the July bout under his real name (Park and Champion, p. 31).
  12. ^ Park and Champion, p. 31.
  13. ^ This match was a preliminary to the fourth match-up between Peter Cook and Billy Hannan (Park and Champion, p. 159), which, according to BoxRec, was held on 7 April 1911.

References[edit]

  • "Les Darcy – Boxer". BoxRec.com. 
  • Maitland Tourism (2008). Les Darcy: The Legend: 1895–1917. [Brochure]. Maitland, New South Wales: Maitland Tourism & Maitland City Council.
  • Swanwick, Raymond (1965). Les Darcy, Australia's golden boy of boxing. Sydney: U. Smith. 
  • Park, Ruth; Champion, Rafe (1995). Home before dark. Ringwood, Victoria: Viking. ISBN 0-670-85739-4. 
  • Power, Bob (1976). Fighters of the North: A saga of early battling days on the Northern fistic front. Newcastle, New South Wales: Bob Power [self-published]. 

Reference sources[edit]

Pictures held and digitised as part of the Arnold Thomas boxing collection by the National Library of Australia

Further reading[edit]

  • The Ballad of Les Darcy, by Peter Fitzsimons
  • Les Darcy, by Peter Fenton
  • Home Before Dark, by Ruth Park and Rafe Champion
  • The Les Darcy American Venture, by Bob Power

External links[edit]

Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Jeff Smith
World Middleweight Champion
22 May 1915 – 24 May 1917
Died
Title Defunct