John Henry Lewis

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John Henry Lewis
John.Henry.Lewis.jpeg
Statistics
Real nameJohn Henry Lewis
Weight(s)Light Heavyweight
Height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Reach6 ft 3.0 in (1.91 m)
NationalityAmerican
Born(1914-05-01)May 1, 1914
Los Angeles, California
DiedApril 18, 1974(1974-04-18) (aged 59)
Berkeley, California
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights117
Wins101
Wins by KO58
Losses11
Draws5

John Henry Lewis (May 1, 1914 – April 18, 1974) was a hall of fame American boxer who held the World Light Heavyweight Boxing Title from 1935 to 1938. The Ring boxing magazine named Lewis the 16th greatest light heavyweight of all-time. His trainer was Larry Amadee, and his managers included Ernie Lira, Larry White, Frank Schuler and Gus Greenlee.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Lewis was born in Los Angeles on May 4, 1914, to Mattie Drake Foster and John Edward Lewis. The family settled in Phoenix, Arizona,[3] where he grew up and was taught to box at an early age by his father, a former lightweight who ran a Phoenix gym. Lewis claimed a great-uncle was the noted bare-knuckle brawler Tom Molineaux.[4]

Lewis battled in exhibition "midget boxing" matches at the age of five. Turning professional as a welterweight at 14, he gained a reputation for speed and rapidly improving scientific boxing skill.

Early career[edit]

Lewis began his professional career in 1928, beating Buster Grant by a four-round decision in Phoenix, where he fought his first fourteen bouts.[1] In 1931, he traveled to Prescott, to fight Sam Terrain on March 11. This proved to be a tragic event, as Terrain later died from the blows received during Lewis' fourth round knockout win.[1][4]

On July 1, 1931, he won his first title, the USA Arizona State Middleweight Championship, in an eight-round points decision against Lloyd Phillips, in Mesa, Arizona. The crowd violently resented the ruling, possibly as a result of racial basis, but the Arizona Republic called the ruling "eminently just".[1]

Lewis faced future World Heavyweight champion, James J. Braddock on September 21, 1932, defeating him in a ten-round points decision at Civic Auditorium in San Francisco.[1] Though only eighteen and still in school at the time of the fight, he took nine of the ten rounds by wide margins. Braddock forced the fighting to take the seventh round.[5]

Taking a break from his high school studies, Lewis won a ten-round decision over Lou Scozza, a veteran Light Heavyweight contender, on October 26, 1932, in San Francisco. He was awarded six of the ten rounds, despite a half-inch cut over his right eye received in the second.[6] According to most accounts, Scozza had an edge in the fourth and tenth, while the third and ninth were even.[7] Lewis landed cleaner punches and in three rounds sent Scozza back on his heels with strong rights to the jaw. Lewis nearly dropped Scozza in the seventh, and in the eighth scored a terrific right to the jaw that landed him on the ropes.[1][8][9]

In 1934, Lewis had 12 bouts, going 9-1-2. On September 20 of that year, he made an unsuccessful attempt at the Pacific Coast Light Heavyweight title in Portland, Oregon, but drew with Young Firpo in ten rounds. The first six rounds were extremely close, but in the seventh, eighth, and ninth, Firpo gained a moderate points margin.[1][10] In the seventh, Firpo used his unorthodox punches to pull ahead, and in the eighth and ninth, he used aggressive rights and lefts to Lewis's body and chin. In round ten, Lewis rallied with a two-fisted attack to secure the draw decision. When John Henry unexpectedly lowered his punches, a tiring Firpo succumbed to a body attack. Two lefts and a stiff right to the head gained Lewis a slight lead, but Firpo recovered, and the brisk fighting looked even at the final bell.[11]

Light Heavyweight contender Yale Okun became Lewis's third-round technical knockout victim in Madison Square Garden on November 23, 1934. In the first two rounds, Okun made a fair showing and prevented Lewis from gaining a points margin. Okun was first staggered by a whizzing right to the face in the third, and after another of Lewis's rights dropped him for a nine-count, the referee called the fight.[12] This bout, and a previous victory against Lewis, were two of Okun's most important career matches.[13]

Facing Frank Rowsey in San Francisco on May 10, 1935, Lewis won a decisive ten-round points decision in San Francisco. Rowsey, outweighed by eight pounds, lost all but the fourth, but nearly knocked Lewis out in the eighth with a clean right to the jaw. The blow staggered Lewis and spun him around, but he recovered and delivered more than he received by the closing bell. Lewis showed superior ring craft, and aggression in the win.[14][15]

Lewis quickly knocked out Tom Patrick at Hickey Park in Millvale in the first of a ten-round bout on June 4, 1935. The Pittsburgh audience watched Lewis knock Patrick to the mat within the first minute of fighting for a count of three, and shortly after he arose, he went down for the full count from a left and right to the jaw.[16][17]

Taking the World Light Heavyweight Championship, October 1935[edit]

Lewis took the World Light Heavyweight Title from Bob Olin on October 31, 1935, in a fifteen-round unanimous decision at the Arena in St. Louis. Due to the Depression and a lack of interest in the Light Heavyweight class, Olin's manager had a difficult time finding a promoter or an audience for the fight, finally settling on a payment of $15,000 to fight Lewis in St. Louis. The meager audience of 9,219 that showed on fight day could not provide enough in receipts to pay Olin half of what he was promised. Olin's trainer, Ray Arcel, later wrote that his boxer lost the nerve to fight Lewis and had to be encouraged to change his mind up to the day of the match.

The fight, however, was spectacular, with Olin showing gameness throughout the fifteen rounds, though outmatched by Lewis. Many in the crowd urged the referee to end the fight in the twelfth, but Olin gamely continued. He came out charging and won the first two rounds with a significant margin in points. In the third, finding his range, Lewis battered Olin with precision lefts to the head and straight rights to the body. Both boxers punched with precision and skill, until the thirteenth when Lewis, struggling for a knockout, inadvertently struck Olin after the bell sounded. Faced with the "machine-like precision" of Lewis, Olin lost twelve rounds, while managing to keep two even. Olin, with the will of a former champion, courageously remained on his feet through the entire fifteen rounds, refusing to suffer a knockdown.[18][19][20]

In his next fight on November 29, 1935, Lewis lost to Maxie Rosenbloom in a close, dull, 10-round non-title decision at Dreamland Auditorium in San Francisco. Lewis may have taken the fifth, but for his low blow penalties. One reporter scored five for Rosenbloom, three for Lewis, and two even. Rosenbloom's cautious strategy of striking a blow and then clinching bored many ringside, but demonstrated experience as he adjusted for the talent of his younger opponent.[1] Lewis's strategy centered on a body attack, which he executed most effectively in the second, eighth and ninth rounds. In the tenth round, Lewis tried for a knockout, but was rebuffed by the scientific skill of Rosenbloom, who blocked his attacks and showered him with blows. Maxie gained his winning points advantage in the final round,[21] though the resulting decision failed to please the crowd.[22] Lewis's handlers may have been wise to insist both boxers enter the ring overweight to forgo the risks of a title match, though each boxer had previously split two wins and two losses in their previous meetings.[23]

Successful title defenses and boxing highlights, 1936–38[edit]

In 1936, Lewis was nearly undefeated with a record of 18–1–1.

Facing "Tiger" Fox, leading contender for his World Light Heavyweight Title, at the Armory in Spokane, Washington on January 10, 1936, Lewis gained a third-round knockout in a non-title bout. Both boxers weighed in above the required Light Heavyweight limit. Carrying the fighting to Lewis in the first round, Fox dominated with an aggressive but unpolished style. In the second, the tide turned, and Lewis let loose with a dozen long-range rights that left Fox on his knees.[24] In the middle of the third, Lewis uncorked three long-range rights that left Fox off balance, and then sent him to the mat with a powerful left hook to the chin that left him sprawling. His seconds had to carry him to his corner.[25]

On March 6, 1936, Lewis defeated southpaw Eddie Simms in a thrilling ten-round points decision at Municipal Auditorium in St. Louis, Missouri. Though fifteen pounds lighter, Lewis carried five of the ten rounds in the bitter fight. Simms took four rounds, and gave Lewis one of the toughest battles of his life. As so often occurred, Lewis cut his left eye, and had a bruised nose and mouth to show for his night's work. In the close bout, Simms appeared to be the aggressor, which caused some in the crowd of 10,840 to dispute the final ruling, but Lewis waged an exceptional defense and scored with counter punches that were clean and decisive. Lewis used stiff left jabs to throw Simms off balance, and prevented him from using his deadly right. Simms took the first two rounds, but Lewis carried four of the last six. He shone in the tenth, with a dazzling display of punching in the final minute. Though exceedingly close, both judges and the referee scored for Lewis.[26][27]

He retained the title on March 13, 1936, against Jock McAvoy in Madison Square Garden in a fifteen-round unanimous decision. Though Lewis dominated in all fifteen rounds, the majority of the crowd of 15,000, cheered for McAvoy, the game Englishman with the fast punch.[1] McAvoy had the ability to duck quickly like many English boxers, but he took a heavy beating from Lewis, and mounted an effective defense in only the first five rounds. With a two-inch height and reach advantage, Lewis landed more punches and had no trouble with the crouch position of McAvoy, looping blows to his head with frequency.[28] Round seven through ten clearly belonged to Lewis and greatly influenced the final decision.

Bob Godwin fell to Lewis at New York's Madison Square Garden in a technical knockout only 1:27 into the first round, on May 29, 1936. Before a tiny crowd of 2,988, Lewis batted Godwin to the mat with a stunning right cross, and after he rose unleashed a flurry of blows that forced the referee to call the fight.[29]

Before a sizable crowd of 10,000, Lewis won a non-title ten-round decision against George Nichols, former Light Heavyweight Champion, at Municipal Auditorium in St. Louis, Missouri on August 12, 1936. Nichols staggered Lewis in the fifth with a crushing left, but Lewis piled up points in all the other rounds, and had Nichols hanging on groggily in the eighth and ninth.[1][30][31]

Red Burman, a future World Heavyweight contender, became Lewis's knockout victim 2:20 in the second round, at Chicago Stadium on October 2, 1936. Shortly after the first round opening bell, Lewis dropped Burman for a nine-count with a right to the chin, and quickly scored three more knockdowns. The referee immediately attempted to call the fight, but Burman was saved by the first round closing bell. Burman was down for a two count within a minute of the second round bell. After being floored for a nine-count, Burman arose only to go down again, and the referee called the fight.[32]

Lewis defeated British ring master, Londonite Len Harvey before an impressive audience of 11,800 in a decisive fifteen-round title decision at London's Wembley Stadium, on November 9, 1936. His attack caused Harvey to cling and clutch throughout the bout. From a slow start in the first two rounds, Lewis increased the fury of his attack using both fists in the remaining rounds, and trying hard for a knockout in the last three. Harvey was able to protect himself from a knockout in the final rounds.[33] Lewis received few injuries, but slight damage to one of his eyes, which had been partially caused during his training for the bout. The injury later proved to be serious and catastrophic to his boxing career. Harvey complained of an injured right hand after the bout.[34][35]

On February 8, 1937, Lewis defeated Al Ettore at Convention Hall in Philadelphia in a savage fifteen-round split decision before a crowd of 13,000. In round three, Ettore was down twice for nine counts from hard rights by Lewis. In a remarkable show of determination, he came back to take the fourth by a wide margin, staggering Lewis at one point, and waging battle all over the ring. One judge ruled for a draw, while the other judge and the referee ruled for Lewis. The Philadelphia Inquirer scored only six rounds for Ettore.[36] The United Press gave eight rounds to Lewis, with seven for Ettore. Ettore dominated the first two rounds, doling out considerable punishment to Lewis, effectively using his eleven-pound weight advantage. He managed to win the ninth and tenth, but still was behind on points. Lewis suffered eye injuries in the eleventh round, as did Ettore.[37] Several reporters attributed Lewis's dominance in rounds thirteen through fifteen, to Ettore's growing fatigue.[38][39] Previously on January 4, 1937, Lewis had officially lost to Ettore at Convention Hall in a ten-round decision that was later changed to a very controversial draw by the Pennsylvania Boxing Commission. Ettore likely lost the first five rounds. In the final six rounds, Ettore seemed to dominate Lewis until the final bell. Lewis seemed to take the ninth and the tenth in the close bout according to one reporter, and in the scoring of Judge Al Levit.[40] Most of the fans were rooting for a draw decision, which was not the official ruling.[41]

Lewis won over heavyweight Willie Reddish at Griffith Stadium in Washington DC in a ten-round unanimous decision on June 29, 1937. In the eighth, ninth, and tenth, Lewis's right and left jabs to the head and a hard attack to the body wore out his opponent. After the fourth, Reddish won several rounds, when he became the aggressor, and gained the crowd's favor by appearing to take the lead throughout the bout. The crowd of 10,000 booed the decision. Lewis received damage to his eyes in the bout.[42][43]

On December 17, 1937, Lewis defeated Johnny Risko before a crowd of 5,000 in a ten-round decision in Cleveland. Risko, fighting at 35, was nearing the end of a long boxing career. Lewis built a large margin in the early rounds, but appeared to coast in the end. The Associated Press gave him nine of the ten rounds, with one even.[1][44][45]

Lewis was undefeated in twelve bouts in 1938. He won a title bout on April 25, with a fourth-round knockout against Emilio Martinez at the Auditorium in Minneapolis. Though a title match, the fight was not recognized as a World Light Heavyweight Title bout by the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC).[1] Lewis took the offensive throughout the bout and received few blows from his opponent. His knockout blow was a straight right to the jaw of Martinez in the fourth, a punch he used once effectively in the first.[46]

Elmer Ray was stopped by Lewis at Ponce de Leon Ball Park in Atlanta, Georgia in the twelfth round of a scheduled fifteen on May 19, 1938. Lewis, still reigning champion, floored Ray late in the eleventh with a punch to the kidneys, and finished him early in the twelfth. Ray, fighting with a fifteen-pound weight advantage, fought in a sideways crouch that baffled Lewis for a few rounds.[1][47][48][49]

Stripped of the NYSAC Light Heavyweight Championship, July 1938[edit]

On July 28, 1938, the New York State Athletic Commission stripped Lewis of his title for failing to accept the challenge filed by "Tiger" Jack Fox.[1]

Jimmy Adamick fell to Lewis in a ten-round split decision at Convention Hall in Philadelphia on September 15, 1938.[1] Lewis started the first eight rounds with a commanding lead in points.[citation needed] In the ninth and tenth, he was at risk of losing by knockout to his heavyweight challenger, but weathered the challenge.[50] Lewis outboxed, and outpunched his rival in the first seven rounds, but appeared to tire in the eighth. In the ninth, he was stunned by a crushing right that appeared to leave him unconscious on his feet, before he recovered and clinched. Adamick could not land the final blow before the bell ended the round, silencing the crowd of 15,000 rooting for a knockout. In the tenth, Lewis was quickly stunned by a solid left hook to the body and retreated, but used his experience and well-timed clinches to hang on. Dodging several of Adamick's best blows, Lewis gained confidence and lashed out with stiff rights to the face before the final bell ended the match. The judges gave six rounds to Lewis, and three or four to Adamick.[51][52]

Final NBA World Light Heavyweight Title defense against Al Gainer, October 1938[edit]

On October 28, 1938, he won a fifteen-round National Boxing Association (NBA) World Light Heavyweight title decision against Al Gainer in New Haven before a crowd of only 2,486, the smallest ever assembled for a title bout in any weight class.[1] The fight was recognized as an NBA Light Heavyweight Title and was sanctioned by the state of Connecticut. Lewis claimed his refusal to fight Tiger Fox, the reason he was stripped of the NYSAC Light Heavyweight Title, was an economic necessity, as he knew Fox would not draw a significant audience.[53] Lewis won decisively, but Gainer made a stronger showing in the first twelve rounds, visibly shaking Lewis with a few of his blows. Lewis took the decision, with a strong finish in the last three heats. The local Courant gave Lewis six rounds, Gainer four, with five even. Gainer's sluggishness in the last three rounds was the result of an illness he suffered the week before the fight. There were no knockdowns in the bout.[54]

Unsuccessful attempt at the World Heavyweight Championship, January 1939[edit]

Joe Louis

On January 25, 1939, Lewis attempted to become the first Light Heavyweight champion in boxing history to go up in weight and conquer the World Heavyweight championship, but lost to reigning champion Joe Louis, in a knockout 2:29 into the first round in New York's Madison Square Garden.[1] John Henry was down three times in less than three minutes from the lightning-fast blows of the reigning heavyweight champion.[55] It was the only loss by knockout in Lewis's career, though his most memorable by many boxing fans.[56]

Boxing retirement[edit]

His next fight would have been a rematch with Len Harvey in London, but it was cancelled after Lewis failed the pre-fight medical tests. The blindness in his left eye and impaired vision in his right was of primary concern and he subsequently announced his retirement aged twenty-five years old.[57] Lewis had a record of 103 wins, 9 losses and 6 draws, with 60 wins by knockout.[1]

Life after boxing[edit]

Though he had always abstained from alcohol, Lewis worked as a liquor salesman for a Baltimore company near the end of his career.[58]

He had two brothers who boxed professionally; Christy and Paul. Christy was a club fighter, who often appeared in preliminary bouts before him. Paul was a Middleweight who fought feature bouts during the mid-1940s, primarily in Oakland. On an episode of the PBS show "Finding Your Roots", DNA analysis proved that Christy Lewis was actor and musician L. L Cool J's maternal grandfather who gave up his daughter for adoption.

Lewis died in Berkeley, California, in 1974 at the age of 59.[56] He had suffered from emphysema and Parkinson's.[3][56]

Professional boxing record[edit]

117 fights 101 wins 11 losses
By knockout 57 1
By decision 44 9
By disqualification 0 1
Draws 5
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
117 Loss 101–11–5 Joe Louis KO 1 (15) Jan 25, 1939 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S. For NYSAC, NBA, and The Ring heavyweight titles
116 Win 101–10–5 Al Gainer UD 15 Oct 28, 1938 Arena, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S. Retained NBA and The Ring light-heavyweight titles
115 Win 100–10–5 Jimmy Adamick MD 10 Sep 15, 1938 Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
114 Win 99–10–5 Domenico Ceccarelli KO 3 (10) Aug 25, 1938 Velodrome, Nutley, New Jersey, U.S.
113 Win 98–10–5 Elmer Ray KO 12 (15) May 19, 1938 Ponce de Leon Ballpark, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
112 Win 97–10–5 Domenico Ceccarelli UD 10 May 5, 1938 5th Regiment Armory, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
111 Win 96–10–5 Emilio Martinez KO 4 (15) Apr 25, 1938 Auditorium, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. Retained NYSAC, NBA and The Ring light-heavyweight titles
110 Win 95–10–5 Bob Tow UD 10 Apr 4, 1938 Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
109 Win 94–10–5 Bud Mignault PTS 10 Mar 25, 1938 Auditorium, Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
108 Win 93–10–5 Fred Lenhart KO 3 (10) Feb 11, 1938 Auditorium, Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
107 Win 92–10–5 Emil Scholz PTS 10 Jan 31, 1938 Motor Square Garden, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
106 Win 91–10–5 Leroy Neblett KO 3 (8) Jan 20, 1938 Ellis Auditorium, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
105 Win 90–10–5 Marty Gallagher KO 3 (10) Jan 18, 1938 Municipal Auditorium, Saint Louis, Missouri, U.S.
104 Win 89–10–5 Leonard Neblett TKO 8 (10) Jan 10, 1938 Hippodrome Arena, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
103 Win 88–10–5 Johnny Risko PTS 10 Dec 17, 1937 Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
102 Win 87–10–5 Isidoro Gastanaga TKO 9 (15) Dec 7, 1937 Arena, Saint Louis, Missouri, U.S.
101 Win 86–10–5 Salvatore Ruggirello TKO 4 (10) Nov 26, 1937 Auditorium, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
100 Loss 85–10–5 Isidoro Gastanaga UD 10 Oct 15, 1937 Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
99 Win 85–9–5 Italo Colonello PTS 12 Aug 19, 1937 Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
98 Win 84–9–5 Willie Reddish UD 10 Jun 28, 1937 Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C., U.S.
97 Win 83–9–5 Al Ettore UD 15 Jun 15, 1937 Baker Bowl, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
96 Win 82–9–5 Bob Olin TKO 8 (15) Jun 3, 1937 Arena, Saint Louis, Missouri, U.S. Retained NYSAC, NBA, and The Ring light-heavyweight titles
95 Win 81–9–5 Jack Kranz KO 3 (10) May 21, 1937 Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
94 Win 80–9–5 Patsy Perroni UD 10 May 14, 1937 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
93 Win 79–9–5 Emilio Martinez PTS 10 May 4, 1937 Municipal Auditorium, Saint Louis, Missouri, U.S.
92 Win 78–9–5 Pret Ferrar KO 6 (10) Apr 19, 1937 Coliseum, Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
91 Win 77–9–5 Harold Murphy TKO 4 (10) Apr 13, 1937 Ak-sar-ben Coliseum, Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
90 Win 76–9–5 Babe Davis KO 3 (10) Apr 9, 1937 Armory, Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
89 Win 75–9–5 Don Barry TKO 5 (10) Apr 2, 1937 Municipal Auditorium, Saint Louis, Missouri, U.S.
88 Win 74–9–5 Hans Birkie UD 10 Mar 15, 1937 Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
87 Win 73–9–5 Al Ettore MD 15 Feb 8, 1937 Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
86 Win 72–9–5 Chester Palutis TKO 7 (10) Jan 28, 1937 Watres Armory, Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S.
85 Win 71–9–5 Art Sykes KO 6 (10) Jan 21, 1937 Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
84 Loss 70–9–5 Al Ettore SD 10 Jan 4, 1937 Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
83 Win 70–8–5 Len Harvey PTS 15 Nov 9, 1936 Empire Pool, Wembley, London, England Retained NYSAC, NBA, and The Ring light-heavyweight titles
82 Win 69–8–5 Red Burman TKO 2 (10) Oct 2, 1936 Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
81 Win 68–8–5 Tiger Hairston KO 1 (10) Sep 17, 1936 Kanawha Park, Charleston, West Virginia, U.S.
80 Win 67–8–5 George Nichols PTS 10 Aug 12, 1936 Municipal Auditorium, Saint Louis, Missouri, U.S.
79 Win 66–8–5 Al Gainer PTS 12 Jul 30, 1936 Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
78 Win 65–8–5 Max Marek PTS 10 Jul 10, 1936 Comiskey Park, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
77 Win 64–8–5 James Merriott KO 3 (10) Jun 22, 1936 Peoria, Illinois, U.S.
76 Win 63–8–5 Tony Shucco TKO 8 (10) Jun 17, 1936 Municipal Auditorium, Saint Louis, Missouri, U.S.
75 Win 62–8–5 Dutch Weimer TKO 5 (10) Jun 12, 1936 Eagles Ball Park, York, Pennsylvania, U.S.
74 Win 61–8–5 John Andersson UD 10 Jun 8, 1936 Dexter Park Arena, Woodhaven, New York City, New York, U.S.
73 Win 60–8–5 Bob Godwin TKO 1 (10) May 29, 1936 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
72 Win 59–8–5 Charley Massera PTS 10 May 27, 1936 Greenlee Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
71 Win 58–8–5 Izzy Singer UD 10 Apr 22, 1936 Chicago Arena, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
70 Draw 57–8–5 George Nichols PTS 10 Apr 7, 1936 Broadway Auditorium, Buffalo, New York, U.S.
69 Win 57–8–4 Jock McAvoy UD 15 Mar 13, 1936 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S. Retained NYSAC, NBA, and The Ring light-heavyweight titles
68 Win 56–8–4 Eddie Simms PTS 10 Mar 6, 1936 Municipal Auditorium, Saint Louis, Missouri, U.S.
67 Win 55–8–4 Cyclone Lynch KO 3 (10) Jan 30, 1936 St. Mary's Auditorium, Walsenburg, Colorado, U.S.
66 Loss 54–8–4 Emilio Martinez PTS 10 Jan 29, 1936 City Auditorium, Denver, Colorado, U.S.
65 Win 54–7–4 Al Stillman TKO 4 (10) Jan 17, 1936 Municipal Auditorium, Saint Louis, Missouri, U.S.
64 Win 53–7–4 Tiger Jack Fox KO 3 (10) Jan 10, 1936 Armory, Spokane, Washington, U.S.
63 Win 52–7–4 Dutch Weimer PTS 10 Dec 20, 1935 Labor Temple, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
62 Win 51–7–4 Coleman Johns KO 2 (10) Dec 19, 1935 Madison Square Garden, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
61 Win 50–7–4 George Simpson TKO 2 (10) Dec 11, 1935 Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
60 Loss 49–7–4 Maxie Rosenbloom PTS 10 Nov 29, 1935 Dreamland Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
59 Win 49–6–4 Bob Olin UD 15 Oct 31, 1935 Arena, Saint Louis, Missouri, U.S. Won NSYAC, NBA, and The Ring light-heavyweight titles
58 Loss 48–6–4 Abe Feldman PTS 10 Jul 24, 1935 Coney Island Velodrome, New York City, New York, U.S.
57 Loss 48–5–4 Maxie Rosenbloom PTS 10 Jul 17, 1935 Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
56 Win 48–4–4 Lou Poster TKO 5 (10) Jul 8, 1935 Municipal Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
55 Win 47–4–4 Izzy Singer KO 1 (10) Jun 24, 1935 Hinchliffe Stadium, Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.
54 Win 46–4–4 Tom Patrick KO 1 (10) Jun 3, 1935 Hickey Park, Millvale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
53 Win 45–4–4 Frank Rowsey PTS 10 May 10, 1935 Dreamland Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
52 Win 44–4–4 Bob Olin PTS 10 Apr 12, 1935 Dreamland Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
51 Win 43–4–4 Emilio Martinez UD 10 Mar 13, 1935 City Auditorium, Denver, Colorado, U.S.
50 Win 42–4–4 Terry Mitchell TKO 6 (10) Mar 4, 1935 Arena, Syracuse, New York, U.S.
49 Win 41–4–4 Frank Wotanski KO 3 (10) Feb 25, 1935 Arena, Syracuse, New York, U.S.
48 Win 40–4–4 Don Petrin KO 7 (10) Jan 29, 1935 Motor Square Garden, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
47 Win 39–4–4 Tony Shucco UD 10 Dec 14, 1934 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
46 Win 38–4–4 Yale Okun TKO 3 (10) Nov 23, 1934 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
45 Loss 37–4–4 James J. Braddock PTS 10 Nov 16, 1934 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
44 Win 37–3–4 Earl Wise KO 3 (10) Oct 31, 1934 Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
43 Win 36–3–4 Pietro Georgi KO 3 (10) Oct 17, 1934 Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
42 Draw 35–3–4 Don Barry PTS 10 Oct 3, 1934 Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
41 Draw 35–3–3 Young Firpo PTS 10 Sep 20, 1934 Multnomah Stadium, Portland, Oregon, U.S. For Pacific Coast light-heavyweight title
40 Win 35–3–2 Norman Conrad PTS 10 Sep 12, 1934 Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
39 Win 34–3–2 Tony Poloni RTD 1 (15) Sep 3, 1934 Dempsey Arena, Reno, Nevada, U.S.
38 Win 33–3–2 Sandy Garrison Casanova TKO 3 (10) Apr 9, 1934 Fort Huachuca, Arizona, U.S.
37 Win 32–3–2 Bobby Brown KO 1 (10) Feb 9, 1934 Broadway Arena, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
36 Win 31–3–2 Frank Rowsey PTS 10 Oct 31, 1933 Olympic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
35 Win 30–3–2 Maxie Rosenbloom PTS 10 Jul 31, 1933 Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
34 Win 29–3–2 Maxie Rosenbloom PTS 10 Jul 10, 1933 Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
33 Draw 28–3–2 Fred Lenhart PTS 10 Jun 16, 1933 Dreamland Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
32 Win 28–3–1 Tom Patrick PTS 10 May 15, 1933 Exposition Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
31 Win 27–3–1 Emmett Rocco TKO 7 (10) Apr 7, 1933 Dreamland Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
30 Win 26–3–1 Tuffy Dial KO 4 (10) Dec 9, 1932 Madison Square Garden, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
29 Loss 25–3–1 Maxie Rosenbloom PTS 10 Nov 16, 1932 Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
28 Win 25–2–1 Lou Scozza UD 10 Oct 26, 1932 Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
27 Win 24–2–1 Fred Lenhart TKO 4 (10) Oct 5, 1932 Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
26 Win 23–2–1 James J. Braddock PTS 10 Sep 21, 1932 Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
25 Win 22–2–1 Jimmy Hanna TKO 6 (10) Jul 29, 1932 Dreamland Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
24 Win 21–2–1 Pietro Georgi KO 1 (10) Jul 13, 1932 Dreamland Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
23 Win 20–2–1 Yale Okun PTS 10 Apr 22, 1932 Dreamland Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.
22 Win 19–2–1 Sammy Bass TKO 1 (4) Mar 23, 1932 Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
21 Win 18–2–1 Schoolboy KO 3 (6) Nov 27, 1931 State Fair Grounds, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
20 Win 17–2–1 Kid Valdon TKO 3 (10) Oct 9, 1931 Enterprise Park, Prescott, Arizona, U.S.
19 Win 16–2–1 Joe Arciniega KO 5 (8) Sep 14, 1931 Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
18 Win 15–2–1 Roy Guinn KO 4 (10) Jul 13, 1931 Prescott A.C. Arena, Prescott, Arizona, U.S. Retained USA Arizona State middleweight title
17 Win 14–2–1 Lloyd Phelps PTS 8 Jul 1, 1931 Mesa, Arizona, U.S. Won vacant USA Arizona State middleweight title
16 Win 13–2–1 Herb Coleman PTS 4 Jun 25, 1931 Pasadena Arena, Pasadena, Arizona, U.S.
15 Win 12–2–1 Soldier Hicks PTS 6 Jun 10, 1931 Labor Temple, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
14 Win 11–2–1 Evans Fortune KO 3 (6) May 29, 1931 Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
13 Win 10–2–1 Tony Cadena KO 1 (6) May 15, 1931 Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
12 Win 9–2–1 Sam Terrin KO 3 (10) Mar 11, 1931 O.K. Hall, Prescott, Arizona, U.S. Terrin died of injuries sustained in the fight[59]
11 Win 8–2–1 Bobby Richardson KO 2 (?) Feb 6, 1931 Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
10 Win 7–2–1 Palmleaf Wright KO 2 (?) Jan 30, 1931 Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
9 Win 6–2–1 Roy Guinn PTS 10 Jan 2, 1931 Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
8 Win 5–2–1 Tall Johnson KO 1 (6) Oct 30, 1930 O.K. Hall, Prescott, Arizona, U.S.
7 Loss 4–2–1 Palmleaf Wright DQ 2 (6) Oct 23, 1930 O.K. Hall, Prescott, Arizona, U.S.
6 Win 4–1–1 Leo Davis KO 1 (4) Oct 16, 1930 O.K. Hall, Prescott, Arizona, U.S.
5 Draw 3–1–1 Dynamite Hunter PTS 6 Jan 17, 1930 Madison Square Garden, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
4 Win 3–1 Battling MacGregor PTS 4 Jan 3, 1930 Madison Square Garden, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
3 Win 2–1 Young Tiger Flowers PTS 4 Nov 22, 1929 Madison Square Garden, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
2 Win 1–1 Jake Henderson PTS 4 Apr 17, 1929 Arcadia Hall, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
1 Loss 0–1 Buster Grant PTS 4 Jan 18, 1929 Arcadia Hall, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.

Primary boxing achievements[edit]

Achievements
Preceded by NYSAC light heavyweight champion
October 31, 1935 – July 27, 1938
Stripped
Vacant
Title next held by
Melio Bettina
NBA light heavyweight champion
October 31, 1935 – June 1939
Stripped & Retired
Vacant
Title next held by
Billy Conn
The Ring light heavyweight champion
October 31, 1935 – June 1939
Retired

Lewis was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1994.

Film depictions[edit]

Lewis is portrayed by Troy Amos-Ross in the 2005 Braddock biopic film Cinderella Man.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "John Henry Lewis". Boxrec.
  2. ^ "John Henry Lewis". Cyber Boxing Zone.
  3. ^ a b Finding Your Roots, February 16, 2016, PBS
  4. ^ a b "John Henry Lewis Bio". Boxrec.
  5. ^ "Lewis Triumphs", Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, Arizona, p. 6, September 22, 1932
  6. ^ Only five rounds in "Lewis Wins Bout in San Francisco", Santa Cruz Sentinel, Santa Cruz, California, p. 4, October 27, 1932
  7. ^ "John Henry Lewis Trims Lou Scozza", The Bakersfield Californian, Bakersfield, California, p. 17, October 27, 1932
  8. ^ "Lewis Captures Brisk Contest", Reno-Gazette Journal, Reno, Nevada, p. 6, October 27, 1932
  9. ^ "Lewis Beats Buffalo Boy", Arizona Republic, Phoenix, Arizona, p. 12, October 27, 1932
  10. ^ Lewis used both fists in round ten in "Late Sports", Statesman Journal, Salem, Oregon, p. 1, September 21, 1934
  11. ^ "John Henry Fails to Beat Firpo For Title", Reno Gazette, Reno, Nevada, p. 18, September 21, 1934
  12. ^ Hughes, Ed, "Lewis Flattens Okun", Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, p. 6, November 24, 1934
  13. ^ Okun's most important in Silver, Mike, "Stars in the Ring", (2016), Rowman and Littlefield, Guilford, Connecticut, p. 208
  14. ^ Ward, Alan, "Lewis Whips Rowsey; Road Ahead Blocked", Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California, p. 8, May 11, 1935
  15. ^ Spun him in "John Henry Lewis Defeats Rowsey", The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, California, p. 4, May 11, 1935
  16. ^ "Sports, Celebron is Deprived", The Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati, Ohio, p. 12, June 4, 1935
  17. ^ First knockdown for count of three in "Gee! That Bout Went By Quick!", The Pittsburgh Post, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, p. 30, June 4, 1935
  18. ^ "Defending Champion Outclassed Puts Up a Courageous Battle", McGoogan, W. J., St Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, Missouri, p. 28, November 1, 1935
  19. ^ Lewis battered Olin in the third in "Negro Lifts Olin's Title", The Kokomo Tribune, Kokomo, Indiana, p. 16, November 1, 1935
  20. ^ McGoogan, W. J., "Bob Olin Lost His Title Here", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, Missouri, p. 27, December 17, 1956
  21. ^ Showered him with his own punches in "Max Rosenbloom Wins Verdict", The Evening Herald, Klamath Falls, Oregon, p. 2, November 30, 1935
  22. ^ Crowd displeased with decision in "Rosenbloom Given Unpopular Victory", Wilmington Daily Press Journal, Wilmington, California, p. 2, November 30, 1935
  23. ^ "Champ Unable to Get Over Kayo Blow", Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California, p. 8, November 30, 1935
  24. ^ "Lewis Knocks Out Tiger Jack Fox", The Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, p. 8, January 11, 1936
  25. ^ Carried to his corner in "John Henry Lewis Kayoes Jack Fox in the Third Round", The St. Louis Star and Times, St. Louis, Missouri, p. 6, January 11, 1936
  26. ^ McGoogan, W.J., "Champion Lewis is Winner Over Simms Before 10,840 Fans", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, Missouri, p. 9, March 7, 1936
  27. ^ "Cleveland Heavy is Hero of Sensational Ten-ROund Struggle", The St. Louis Star and times, St. Louis, Missouri, p. 7, March 7, 1936
  28. ^ Hughes, Ed, "Lewis Too Good For McAvoy", The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, pp. 8, 24, March 14, 1936
  29. ^ Conrad, Harold, "Lewis Scores 1-Round KO Over Godwin", The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, p. 8, May 30, 1936
  30. ^ "Lewis Wins Verdict Over George Nichols", Star Tribune, Minneapolis, Minnesota, p. 20, August 13, 1936
  31. ^ Crushing left in fifth in "Lewis Defeats Former Champ", The Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis, Indiana, p. 17, August 13, 1936
  32. ^ "Lewis Disposes of Burman in the Second Round", Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, p. 23, October 3, 1936
  33. ^ "John Henry Lewis Retains Light Heavyweight Crown", The Star Press Muncie, Indiana, p. 10, November 10, 1936
  34. ^ "Arizona Negro Too Clever For British Rival", The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, p. 23, November 10, 1936
  35. ^ "Lewis Defeats British Hope", Reno Gazette-Journal, Reno, Nevada, p. 11, November 10, 1936
  36. ^ Lewis, Perry, "Al Down Twice in Third Round As Champ Wins", Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, p. 21, February 9, 1937
  37. ^ "Champion Wins Nod in Another Hard Skirmish", Mount Carmel Item, Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, p. 5, February 9, 1937
  38. ^ "Arizona Negro Floors Ettore Twice in Third", Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, Arizona, p. 10, February 9, 1937
  39. ^ Hard rights by Lewis in the third in "John Henry Lewis Outpoints Ettore", Marshfield News-Herald, Marshfield, Wisconsin, p. 9, February 9, 1937
  40. ^ "Al Ettore Outpoints John Henry Lewis in Philadelphia Battle", Warren Times Mirror, Warren, Pennsylvania, p. 6, January 5, 1937
  41. ^ "Ettore Takes Ten Round Nod Over J. Lewis", The Times, Munster, Indiana, p. 13, January 5, 1937
  42. ^ "John Henry Lewis Beats Will Reddish", The Tampa Times, Tampa, Florida, p. 11, June 29, 1937
  43. ^ "Capital City Crowd Boos Lewis Victory", The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, p. 3, June 29, 1937
  44. ^ "Risko is Beaten", The Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati, Ohio, p. 15, December 18, 1937
  45. ^ Crowd of 5,000 in "Risko Loses But Pursues Comeback", The Marion Star, Marion, Ohio, p. 10, December 18, 1937
  46. ^ "John Henry Lewis Kayoes Foe in Fourth", Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, New York, p. 20, April 26, 1938
  47. ^ "John Henry Lewis Stops Elmer Ray", The Montana Standard, Butte, Montana, p. 12, May 20, 1938
  48. ^ "Lewis Knocks Out Ray in 12th Round", The St. Louis Star and Times, St. Louis, Missouri, p. 26, May 20, 1938
  49. ^ Fought in a crouch in "Lewis Knocks Out Ray", The Palm Beach Post, Palm Beach, Florida, p. 2, May 20, 1938
  50. ^ "Adamick Loses to John Henry Lewis", The Daily Tribune, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, p. 5, December 16, 1938
  51. ^ Webster, John, "Champ Staves Off Terrific Rally By Foe", The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, p. 25, September 16, 1938
  52. ^ Stiff rights to end the tenth in "Early Lead Disposes of Foe's Spurt", Rochester, New York, Democrat and Chronicle, p. 42, September 16, 1938
  53. ^ "Lewis Keeps Title Beating Gainer", Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California, p. 10, October 29, 1938
  54. ^ Hartford Courant, Hartford, Connecticut, p. 11, October 29, 1938
  55. ^ Ferguson, Harry, "Referee Stops Fight", Shamokin News-Dispatch, Shamokin, Pennsylvania, p. 12, January 26, 1939
  56. ^ a b c "John Henry Lewis Dead at age 59", Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, p. 58, April 19, 1974
  57. ^ Blind in left eye in "Lewis Refuses to Quit Ring", Oakland, California, p. 29, June 23, 1939
  58. ^ Dunbar, Lee, "J.H. Lewis Still Champion: Dad", Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California, p. 12, November 6, 1939
  59. ^ "Sam Terrin - BoxRec".

External links[edit]