Ted "Kid" Lewis
|Ted "Kid" Lewis|
|Real name||Gershon Mendeloff|
|Nickname(s)||ted "kid" lewis|
|Born||Varies depending on source, either 28 October 1893 or 24 October 1894
|Died||20 October 1970(aged 75)|
|Wins by KO||80|
It was as a member of London’s Judean Athletic Club that Mendeloff assumed the name "Kid" Lewis ("Ted" was added later, in America). At 14 he fought for sixpence and a cup of tea. He later won the Club’s Flyweight title and took home a cup of imitation silver.
He became a professional boxer in 1909. On 6 October 1913, Lewis won the British Featherweight Championship with a 17th round knockout of Alec Lambert at London’s National Sporting Club. A year later, on 2 February 1914, at London’s Premierland, he won the European Featherweight title from Paul Til via a 12th round foul.
Still in 1914, campaigning as a lightweight and welterweight, Lewis left London and toured Australia. In 1915 Lewis traveled to the United States, fighting Phil Bloom in New York’s Madison Square Garden. He won a decision.
In Boston’s Armory, on 31 August of that same year, he fought the man known as the "Boxing Marvel," Jack Britton, for the Welterweight title. Lewis won in a twelve-round decision, becoming World Welterweight Champion and beginning an historic rivalry. From 1915 to 1921 Lewis and Britton fought 20 times, a total of 224 rounds.
On 24 April 1916, in New Orleans, Lewis lost the title to Britton. He reclaimed it on 25 June 1917, at Westwood Field, Dayton, Ohio. He lost the title for the last time on 17 March 1919, in Canton, Ohio, when Britton knocked him out in the 9th round — the only knockout of the series.
The roundup of his matches with Britton: Lewis won 3, lost 4, and had 1 draw. There were 12 no decisions. After his last loss to Britton, Lewis returned to England.
On 9 June 1920, at London’s Olympia Exhibition Centre, he beat Johnny Basham to win the British and European Welterweight titles. He relinquished these in December of that year due to difficulty in making the weight.
His drive to fight Georges Carpentier, World and European Light Heavyweight Champion, came to fruition on 11 May 1922, in the Olympia. Lewis, fighting at 150 pounds to Carpentier’s 175, spent most of the first round giving the heavier man a drubbing. Then referee Joe Palmer put a hand on Lewis’s shoulder to warn him against holding. Carpentier took advantage of this distraction and sneaked in a vicious right. The Kid went crashing to the canvas and was counted out. The Olympia crowd erupted furiously, crying, "foul," but to no avail. The Kid remained nonplussed. "I felt cheated, but I didn’t bear any grudge," he would later say.
On 6 June 1922, at Holland Park Rink, London, Lewis knocked out Frankie Burns to win the BritishMiddleweight title. On 11 November the same year, also at Holland Park Rink, he beat Roland Todd to win the European Middleweight title. He did not hold either title long, losing both at the Royal Albert Hall on 15 February 1923 after a gruelling rematch with Todd.
Lewis won his last two titles, the British and European Welterweight crowns, on 3 July 1924 — again at London’s Royal Albert Hall — by defeating Hamilton Johnny Brown. Two years later, on 26 November 1924, at Waverley Market Hall in Edinburgh, he lost these championships to the much younger Scotsman, Tommy Milligan.
He continued boxing until 1929, adding 20 more fights. His final record was: 299 bouts, 233 won, 41 lost, 25 draws, 65 no decisions, 80 knockouts.
He died in 1970.
Lewis started his career as an evasive boxer, with a long left. During the six years he spent in America he changed his style, becoming a swarming, combination boxer-fighter.
Halls of Fame
He was elected to the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1964.
Lewis was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992.
He would later act as a bodyguard and local election candidate for Oswald Mosley's New Party. However, Lewis fell out with Mosley when his subsequent political movement, the British Union of Fascists became openly anti-Semitic.
Place in history
Bert Randolph Sugar, in his authoritative book, The 100 Greatest Boxers of All Time, ranked Lewis # 33, ahead of such fighters as “Gentleman Jim” Corbett, Jake LaMotta, Sugar Ray Leonard and Georges Carpentier.
- Professional boxing record for Ted "Kid" Lewis from BoxRec
- Cyber Boxing Zone
- Bert Randolph Sugar, The 100 Greatest Boxers of all Time, 1984, A Rutledge Book published by Bonanza, Crown Publishers, pp. 88–89.
- Nat Fleischer and Sam Andre, updated by Dan Rafael, An Illustrated History of Boxing, 2001 Edition, Citadel Press, pp. 262, 264, 265.
- Morton Lewis, Ted "Kid" Lewis, His Life and Times, 1990, Robson Books, LTD, Great Britain.