|Real name||James Leslie Darcy|
|Nickname(s)||The Maitland Wonder Bub|
|Height||5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)|
|Reach||71 in (180 cm)|
|Born||28 October 1895|
Stradbroke, near Woodville, New South Wales
|Died||24 May 1917 (aged 21)|
Memphis, Tennessee, USA
|Wins by KO||32|
Les Darcy was the 2003 Inductee for the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame Old Timers category and was the first to be elevated to Legend status in 2009.
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 knocked Harold Hardwick out 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 was speculated to be from dental work he received to replace teeth that had been knocked out during a bout.
After his death, Darcy's embalmed body was returned to Australia, where an estimated half-million people paid their respects. His brother Frank, also a boxer who showed many of the attributes of his brother, including pluck, died on 9 May 1919 from influenza, and was buried in the Catholic Cemetery, East Maitland.
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.
Professional boxing record
- The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), Sat 26 May 1917, Page 20 "Death of Les Darcy" Retrieved 12-02-2018
- FitzSimons 2007, p. 187.
- "Frank DARCY dead". The Sun. No. 2761. New South Wales, Australia. 8 May 1919. p. 7. Retrieved 4 October 2021 – via National Library of Australia.
- Peter FitzSimons, The Ballad of Les Darcy
- 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.
- 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) .
- Now defunct; current address 196 High Street, Maitland.
- 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)
- Also listed as 'Hugh Devon' (Power, p. 125
- Alternatively spelled as 'Rymer' (Power, p.159; Maitland Tourism, p.1.
- Carr, Matt (11 February 2010). "Extra bouts win for Darcy grave plan". Newcastle Herald. Newcastle: Fairfax Media. p. 11. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- Swanwick, p.30
- Popling, J. V. (20 December 1946). "Boxing Recollections". Morning Bulletin. Rockhampton, Queensland. p. 12. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- 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).
- Park and Champion, p. 31.
- 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.
- "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].
Pictures held and digitised as part of the Arnold Thomas boxing collection by the National Library of Australia
- James Lesley Darcy
- James Lesley Darcy
- Les Darcy giving demonstration of punches with his tutor Dave Smith
- FitzSimons, Peter (2007). The Ballad of Les Darcy. Sydney: Harper Collins Publishers. ISBN 9780732286361.
- Fenton, Peter. Les Darcy.
- Park, Ruth; Champion, Rafe. Home Before Dark: The Story of Les Darcy, a Great Australian Hero.
- Power, Bob. The Les Darcy American Venture.