Oscar Gardner

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Oscar Gardner (1872–1928) was a famous American fighter and boxer known as "the Omaha Kid". He was known for his solid blows and it was noted that Gardner killed a man in the ring. "The Omaha Kid" was a top contender for the Featherweight Championship of the World and the Featherweight Champion of America.

Early life[edit]

Oscar Gardner was born on May 19, 1872, at Minneapolis, Minnesota. He began boxing when he was around 20 years of age. Gardner stood almost five feet, four inches tall and weighed anywhere from 115 to 124 pounds during his career. Gardner was described as "confident, tough and game".

Boxing career[edit]

Gardner won most of his fights by knockout, which was unique for a featherweight. He won several fights in 1898 and that year he fought George Stout on April 7, 1898, at Columbus, Ohio. Gardner had fought a 15-round draw with Stout the previous year in 1897 in Cincinnati. After 12 rounds of fighting, Stout died from his injuries. Reports stated that when Gardner hit Stout it sounded like a "pistol shot". Afterwards, Gardner and his cornerman were charged with manslaughter but acquitted.

Featherweight contender[edit]

After Gardner knocked out Sam Kelly after 14 rounds in New York City for a fight that was billed as the American title, he was the number one contender for the World Featherweight Title. On November 29, 1898, at New York City, the "Omaha Kid" lost on points after 25 rounds. Then on February 7, 1899, at New York City, Gardner defeated Solly Smith by TKO after 6 rounds for the Featherweight Championship of America.

On February 22, 1899, Gardner drew with Martin Flaherty for the Featherweight Championship of the World. Gardner fought his way to a third shot at the title on March 9, 1900, but was knocked out after 3 rounds for the World Featherweight Title. His fourth chance at the title ended in knockout after 4 rounds and after a string of losses, the featherweight boxer retired.

Later years[edit]

Oscar Gardner retired after ten years in the ring. He had a record of 57 wins, 38 by knockout, 19 losses, 7 by knockout, and 28 draws, resulting in 106 fights. His son and brother were also professional boxers.

Gardner spent his last years in Portland, Oregon, and died on Christmas Day in 1928 from an illness in his birthplace of Minneapolis, Minnesota. His obituary stated that he was involved in 547 fights. He left a widow and two children.

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