Matt Wells (boxer)

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Mat Wells
Matt Wells 2162894085 363d8d576a o NC-KMA.jpg
Wells in 1911 as Lightweight Champ
Rated at Lightweight
Height 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)
Nationality British United Kingdom
Born (1886-12-14)December 14, 1886
Walworth, London
Died June 27, 1953(1953-06-27) (aged 66)
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 98
Wins 49
Wins by KO 8
Losses 40
Draws 4
No contests 5

Matthew "Matt" Wells (14 December 1886 – 27 June 1953) was a British born professional boxer in the lightweight and welterweight divisions. In 1911, he held the Lightweight Championship of Great Britain, and in 1914 he claimed the Welterweight Championship of Britain and the Welterweight Championship of the World.


He was born in Walworth, London on December 4, 1886 and died in London on June 27, 1953.

Amateur career[edit]

During his amateur career, he held the British Amateur Lightweight crown from 1905-7.

Competing in the Olympics[edit]

He competed in the 1908 Summer Olympics in London. In the lightweight event he was eliminated in the quarter-finals after losing to Frederick Grace who later won the gold medal.

Professional career[edit]

Freddie Welsh

Wells turned pro in 1909. On February 27, 1911, at the National Sporting Club in London he defeated Freddie Welsh in a twenty-round bout to win the lightweight championship of Great Britain and take home the Lonsdale belt.[1][2]

On June 22, 1911, he defeated the great Jewish New York boxer Leach Cross at the Madison Athletic Club in New York. The Montreal Gazette noted that the "bout went the full ten rounds, Wells having all the better of it." Wells delivered two hard blows in the ninth that proved his hitting power against a boxer who was noted for exceptional defensive skills.[3]

Tom McCormick

On April 26, 1912 he lost to the exceptional American boxer Packey McFarland at Madison Square Garden, in New York City. In major competition, McFarland was nearly undefeated, yet never managed to win a title.[4][5]

On March 21, 1914 he won the Welterweight Championship of Britain and Welterweight Championship of the World by defeating Tom McCormick in a 20-round points decision at Sydney Stadium in New South Wales, Australia. On June 1, 1915, he lost to Mike Glover in a twelve-round bout at the arena in Boston, Massachusetts. He competed for the British title again unsuccessfully against Johnny Basham on November 13, 1919 in Holborn Stadium in London.[6]

Abe Attell

Wells impressively defeated reigning World Featherweight Champion Abe Attell on September 20, 1911 in New York. Attell was nearing the end of his ten-year reign as champion and his bout with Wells was not made a title fight partly because he was outweighed by Wells. The Pittsburgh Press wrote the fight was "the greatest exhibition of scientific boxing that has been seen here in years. The Press went on to note that "although Attell was clearing outpointed, his defeat was not a disgrace or anything like it for Wells was heavier, stronger, taller, and had a longer reach."[7][8]

Wells defeated British boxer and former claimant of the 1907 British sanctioned World Bantamweight championship Owen Moran on November 27, 1913 in Sydney Stadium in Australia. Moran was a former contender for the World Featherweight championship against Abe Attell on New Years Day 1908 in Colma, California, but failed to knockout Attell in 25 rounds.

He was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Major titles[edit]

Preceded by
Freddie Welsh
British lightweight championship
February 27, 1911 – November 11, 1912
Succeeded by
Freddie Welsh
Preceded by
Tom McCormick
British welterweight championship
March 21, 1914
Title next held by
Johnny Basham
World Welterweight Champion
March 21, 1914 – June 1, 1915
Succeeded by
Mike Glover


  1. ^ "Twenty-round Fight. Matt Wells Lightweight Champion Of Great Britain". Montreal Gazette. February 28, 1911. Retrieved 2010-11-07. Matt Wells won a twenty round fight tonight from Fred Welsh for the lightweight championship of Great Britain and the Lonsdale belt The ... 
  2. ^ "Mat Wells". BoxRec. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  3. ^ "Mat Wells Won", The Montreal Gazette, pg. 4, Montreal, Canada, 3 June 1911.
  4. ^ "Packey M'Farland Whips Matt Wells. English Lightweight Champion Outclassed by Chicago Stock Yards Boxer.". New York Times. April 27, 1912. Retrieved 2010-11-07. Packey McFarland of Chicago removed all doubts as to how he compares as a boxer with Matt Wells, the English lightweight champion, at Madison Square Garden ... 
  5. ^ Packey McFarland
  6. ^ "Mat Wells". BoxRec. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "Mat Wells". BoxRec. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  8. ^ "Attell Beaten in Classy Bout with Matt Wells", The Pittsburgh Press, pg. 38, Pittsburgh, PA., 21 September 1911.