Luis Ángel Firpo

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Luis Ángel Firpo
Luis Angel Firpo (cropped).jpg
Firpo in 1919
Nickname(s)El Toro Salvaje de las Pampas
Height6 ft 2.5 in (1.89 m)
Born11 October 1894
Junín, Buenos Aires, Argentina
DiedAugust 7, 1960(1960-08-07) (aged 65)

Luis Ángel Firpo (October 11, 1894 – August 7, 1960) was an Argentine boxer. Born in Junín, Argentina, he was nicknamed The Wild Bull of the Pampas.

Boxing career[edit]

In 1917, Firpo began his professional boxing career by beating Frank Hagney by a decision in six in Buenos Aires. Originally declared a no decision, the bout's result was later changed to a win for Firpo.[citation needed]

For his second bout, he traveled, in January 1918, to Montevideo, Uruguay, where he suffered his first defeat, a first round knockout at the hands of Angel Rodriguez. He put a string of six wins in a row after that, and so on November 1, 1919, he found himself challenging Dave Mills in Santiago, for the South American Heavyweight title. He lost on that occasion by a decision in 15 rounds, but then came back with a win over Andres Balsa by a knockout in round six.

Firpo and his handlers.

On April 20, 1920, he and Mills had a rematch and Firpo won the title with a first-round knockout. After one more win, he and Mills faced each other in a rubber match, and the result was the same as that of their second bout: Firpo the winner by a knockout in the first. In 1921, the quality of Firpo's challengers improved, when he defeated fringe contender Gunboat Smith twice, the first by decision in 12 and the second by knockout, also in 12.

In 1922, he continued his rise in the Heavyweight rankings by winning all four of his fights by a knockout.

Firpo began 1923 by knocking out former title challenger Bill Brennan in the 12th round. He followed that with seven more wins in a row, including wins over Jack McAuliffe and former world champion Jess Willard. After a win against Charlie Weinert, Firpo challenged world heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey at New York City on September 14, becoming the first Latin American in history to challenge for the title.

Firpo was floored seven times in the first round of the bout, before he trapped Dempsey against the ropes and launched a combination that sent the champion out of the ring. Dempsey hit his head against a writer's typing machine, and for a moment, it looked as if Firpo would become world Heavyweight champion. But Dempsey was helped into the ring at the count of nine (in spite of having been seventeen seconds outside the ring; fighters are given a twenty-second count when they are knocked through the ropes) and he eventually knocked out Firpo in the second round. This fight has been regarded by critics and experts as one of the greatest fights in history. Boxing historian Bert Sugar called it the greatest fight in the history of the sport. Despite losing, Firpo gained substantial fame all over Latin America after this bout, as many people in different parts of that region spoke about his feat of dropping Dempsey. This fight remained so inspirational that, for instance, it led to the naming of the Salvadorian football club C.D. Luis Ángel Firpo.

Firpo sending Dempsey outside the ring; Dempsey and Firpo, 1923 painting by George Bellows.

In 1924, Firpo won his first three fights by knockout, but then lost his last two by decision, the last to legendary challenger Harry Wills.

He retired for a short period, but came back in 1926 to beat Erminio Spalla by a decision in ten. Then, he kept away from the fight game for nine years, but he attempted another comeback in 1936, winning two fights before being beaten by a knockout in three by future Joe Louis challenger Arturo Godoy. Firpo finally retired after compiling a record of 32 wins and 6 losses in 38 fights, with 26 wins by knockout.


Afterwards, Firpo became a car-dealer for Stutz and a rancher. By 1940 he was ranching on a large scale in Carlos Casares with 8,000 cattle, 4,000 sheep and 400 horses. He discovered the boxer Abel Cestac in July 1940.[1] Firpo and Jack Dempsey agreed to jointly manage Cestac, who went on to become the South American heavyweight champion.[2][3] On his passing in 1960, Luis Firpo was buried in La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires. His mausoleum has a statue of him at the front.[4]


Luis Angel Firpo vault in the Cemetery of Recoleta, Buenos Aires, where his remains were interred.

Firpo's popularity around Latin America was immeasurable. Years later, C.D. Luis Ángel Firpo, a professional football team in El Salvador, was named after him. In addition, various schools, streets, and avenues across Latin America have been named after him.

In 2003, he was named by The Ring as one of the 100 greatest punchers of all time.

Professional boxing record[edit]

31 Wins (26 Knockouts), 4 Defeats, 2 No Contests[5]
Res. Record Opponent Type Rd., Time Date Location Notes
Loss 31-4
2 NC, 2 ND
Chile Arturo Godoy TKO 4 (10) 1936-07-11 Argentina Luna Park, Buenos Aires
Win 31-3
2 NC, 2 ND
Czechoslovakia Siska Habarta KO 3 (10) 1936-05-25 Argentina Buenos Aires
Win 30-3
2 NC, 2 ND
Italy Saverio Grizzo KO 1 (10) 1936-05-09 Argentina Luna Park, Buenos Aires
Win 29-3
2 NC, 2 ND
Italy Erminio Spalla PTS 12 1926-04-03 Argentina Parque Romano, Buenos Aires
ND 28-3
2 NC, 2 ND
Austria Charley Weinert ND 12 1924-11-12 United States 113th Regiment Armory,
Newark, New Jersey
ND 28-3
2 NC, 1 ND
United States Harry Wills ND 12 1924-09-11 United States Boyle's Thirty Acres,
Jersey City, New Jersey
Win 28-3
2 NC
United States Al Reich KO 1 (10) 1924-04-05 Argentina Club Sportivo Barracas, Buenos Aires
Win 27-3
2 NC
Italy Erminio Spalla TKO 14 (15) 1924-03-27 Argentina Buenos Aires
Win 26-3
2 NC
United States Farmer Lodge KO 5 (10) 1924-02-24 Argentina Club Atlético River Plate, Buenos Aires
Loss 25-3
2 NC
United States Jack Dempsey KO 2 (10) 1923-09-14 United States Polo Grounds, New York City, New York For NYSAC World Heavyweight title.
Win 25-2
2 NC
Austria Charley Weinert TKO 2 (8) 1923-08-13 United States Shibe Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Win 24-2
2 NC
United States Homer Smith PTS 10 1923-08-03 United States Omaha, Nebraska
Win 23-2
2 NC
United States Joe Burke KO 2 (10) 1923-07-27 United States Battle Creek, Michigan
Win 22-2
2 NC
United States Jess Willard KO 8 (12) 1923-07-12 United States Boyle's Thirty Acres,
Jersey City, New Jersey
Win 21-2
2 NC
United States Jim Hibbard KO 2 (10) 1923-06-17 Mexico El Toreo, Mexico City
Win 20-2
2 NC
United States Jack Herman KO 2 (10) 1923-06-10 Cuba Havana
Win 19-2
2 NC
United States Jack McAuliffe II KO 3 (15) 1923-05-12 United States Yankee Stadium, The Bronx, New York
Win 18-2
2 NC
United States Bill Brennan KO 12 (15) 1923-03-12 United States Madison Square Garden,
New York City, New York
Win 17-2
2 NC
Australia Jim Tracey KO 4 (10) 1922-10-08 Argentina Club Sportivo Barracas, Buenos Aires
Win 16-2
2 NC
United States Jack Herman TKO 5 (10) 1922-05-13 United States Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, New York
Win 15-2
2 NC
United States Joe McCann KO 5 (10) 1922-04-04 United States Newark, New Jersey
Win 14-2
2 NC
United States Tom Maxted KO 7 (10) 1922-03-20 United States Newark, New Jersey
Win 13-2
2 NC
Uruguay Fernando Priano KO 2 (10) 1921-09-27 Argentina San Miguel de Tucumán, Tucumán
Win 12-2
2 NC
United States Gunboat Smith KO 12 1921-04-23 Argentina Club Universitario, Buenos Aires
Win 11-2
2 NC
United States Gunboat Smith PTS 12 1921-03-12 Chile Valparaíso, Valparaíso
Win 10-2
2 NC
United States Dave Mills KO 1 (10) 1920-12-11 Argentina Club Universitario, Buenos Aires Defended South American
Heavyweight title.
NC 9-2
2 NC
Chile Alberto Coleman NC 10 1920-09-11 Argentina Teatro Municipal, Mendoza, Mendoza
Win 9-2
1 NC
Argentina Antonio Jirsa KO 1 (10) 1920-07-07 Argentina Club Universitario, Buenos Aires
Win 8-2
1 NC
United States Dave Mills KO 1 (10) 1920-04-30 Chile Estadio Hippodrome, Santiago, Santiago Won South American Heavyweight title.
Win 7-2
1 NC
Spain Andrés Balsa KO 6 (10) 1920-02-28 Chile Valparaíso, Valparaíso
Loss 6-2
1 NC
United States Dave Mills PTS 15 1919-11-01 Chile Santiago, Santiago For South American Heavyweight title.
Win 6-1
1 NC
United States Arthur Manning KO 3 (10) 1919-04-26 Uruguay Montevideo, Montevideo
Win 5-1
1 NC
Uruguay Fernando Priano KO 4 (10) 1919-04-12 Uruguay Montevideo, Montevideo
Win 4-1
1 NC
United States Calvin Respress PTS 15 1919-02-07 Chile Santiago, Santiago
Win 3-1
1 NC
United States Calvin Respress DQ 2 (10) 1918-12-14 Chile Santiago, Santiago
Win 2-1
1 NC
Chile Ignacio Sepulveda KO 2 (10) 1918-11-09 Chile Santiago, Santiago
Win 1-1
1 NC
Chile William Daly KO 7 (10) 1918-09-28 Chile Chillán, Biobío
Loss 0-1
1 NC
Uruguay Angel Rodriguez KO 1 (10) 1918-01-12 Uruguay Teatro Casino, Montevideo, Montevideo
NC 1 NC Australia Frank Hagney NC 6 (10) 1917-12-10 Argentina Internacional Boxing Club, Buenos Aires

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Firpo discovers young wild bull of the pampas" (PDF). North Tonawanda Evening News. 15 January 1941. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
  2. ^ Mike Fitzgerald; Jake Lamotta; Bert Randolph Sugar (2004). The Ageless Warrior: The Life of Boxing Legend Archie Moore. Sports Publishing LLC. pp. 83–87. ISBN 1-58261-255-2.
  3. ^ "Cestac Remain Mystery Fighter". The Morning Herald, Bagerstown MD. 25 July 1945. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
  4. ^ The Rough Guide to Buenos Aires
  5. ^ Luis Ángel Firpo's Professional Boxing Record. Retrieved on 2012-03-18.

External links[edit]