Tommy Ryan

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Tommy Ryan
Tommy Ryan.jpg
Real name Joseph Youngs
Weight(s) Middleweight
Nationality American
Born (1870-03-31)March 31, 1870
Redwood, New York
Died August 3, 1948(1948-08-03) (aged 78)
Phoenix, Arizona
Stance Original
Boxing record
Total fights 109
Wins 90
Wins by KO 71
Losses 6
Draws 11
No contests 2

Tommy Ryan (March 31, 1870 – August 3, 1948) was a famed American World Welterweight,[1] and World Middleweight boxing champion who fought from 1887 to 1907.[2] His simultaneously holding records in both weight classes was a rare and impressive feat for a boxer.

Boxing career[edit]

Ryan was considered by many one of the greatest Middleweights in boxing history. He was the World Middleweight Champion from 1898 to 1907. He was also the World Welterweight Champion from 1894 to 1898. Some of his opponents included Mysterious Billy Smith, Kid McCoy, Tommy West, and Jack Bonner. After his retirement as a fighter he became a boxing teacher and coach. He was credited with helping devise the crouching technique for defense. During his career of 97 fights he won 84 (70 by knockout), lost 2, with 11 draws. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1999, Ryan was also considered an excellent boxer-puncher. His boxing record was 84 wins (70 KO's), 2 losses and 11 draws.

Ryan first won the welterweight title in a match with Mysterious Billy Smith on July 26, 1894. He was knocked out by Kid McCoy in the 15th round on March 2, 1896. This bout forms part of the lore of the McCoy legend. McCoy served as a sparring partner for Ryan, and absorbed many beatings at the hands of his employer. Ryan was notorious for showing little mercy to his sparring partners.

Tommy Ryan and Fireman Jim Flynn, between 1910-1915.

As a result, McCoy hated Ryan, and sought revenge. It is alleged that McCoy, who appeared thin, pale and frail, persuaded Ryan that he was seriously ill before their fight. McCoy, who was famed as a trickster, purportedly rubbed flour on his face so as to appear deathly ill. Ryan is said to have fallen for the ruse, failed to train properly and was not in top condition for the bout. Whether true or not, McCoy scored an upset win over Ryan in the non-title match.

In November 1911, Ryan accepted the position of boxing instructor at the Multnomah Athletic Club. A month later, he resigned the position and told The Oregonian, "I don't think I would have come west had I known that professional boxing was barred in the states of Washington and Oregon. There is too much money in other sections of the country for me to stick here at a $150 job".[3]

Ryan was also instrumental in the career of heavyweight champion James J. Jeffries. In fact, Ryan is credited with changing Jeffries' stance and teaching him to fight out of a crouch. Ryan also seconded James J. Corbett in his second attempt to wrest the heavyweight crown from Jeffries. Corbett however, blamed Ryan's strategy for his defeat. In 2003, Ryan was listed in The Ring magazine's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time.

Ryan died on August 3, 1948 at Phoenix, Arizona, aged 78.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Lineal Welterweight Champs". The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia. 
  2. ^ "The Lineal Middleweight Champions". The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia. 
  3. ^ "Pugilist Ryan, in huff, resigns". The Sunday Oregonian. Portland, Oregon. December 3, 1911. p. 20. Retrieved August 6, 2018. 
  4. ^ Boxing News Annual 1949, War Facts Press, p. 10

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Mysterious Billy Smith
World Welterweight Champion
July 26, 1894 – 1898
Title next held by
Mysterious Billy Smith
Title last held by
Bob Fitzsimmons
World Middleweight Champion
October 24, 1898 – December, 1906
Title next held by
Stanley Ketchel