Willie Ritchie

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Willie Ritchie
Willie Ritchie with dog (cropped).jpg
Real name Gerhardt Anthony Steffen
Nickname(s) Willie
Rated at 115–145 lb.[1]
Height 5 ft 6.25 in (1.68 m)[1]
Reach 26½″ [2]
Nationality United States
Born (1891-02-13)February 13, 1891
San Francisco, California
Died March 24, 1975(1975-03-24)
Burlingame, California
Stance orthodox[2]
Boxing record
Total fights 80[2]
Wins 48[2]
Wins by KO 8[2]
Losses 13[2]
Draws 18[2]

Willie Ritchie (born Gerhardt Anthony Steffen, February 13, 1891 – March 24, 1975), was the World lightweight champion from 1912 to 1914.[1][3]


Ritchie (left) in his title fight against Ad Wolgast, 1912.

He was born in San Francisco, California as Gerhardt Anthony Steffen on February 13, 1891.[1][3] He began his boxing career in 1907 under the assumed name of "Willie Ritchie" so that his mother wouldn't be aware of his career.[3]

On July 16, 1908, he met future World Bantamweight Champion Jimmy Walsh at the Reliance Athletic Club in Oakland, California, and won a six round points decision. Ritchie was one of the most accomplished opponents Reagan would met in his early career.

Ritchie's first title shot was with reigning lightweight champion Ad Wolgast on November 28, 1912 in San Francisco. Ritchie dominated the fight, and after Wolgast landed two blows below the belt in the sixteenth round, the referee called the fight for Ritchie.[4]

He held the title for two years, successfully defending it four times.[3] In 1914, he sailed to London to face the British lightweight champion, Freddie Welsh. Welsh won the 20-round match by decision.[3][5]

After losing his title, Ritchie continued to fight until retiring in 1927.[3] In 1937, he became chief inspector for the California State Athletic Commission, a position he held until 1961.[3][6]

He was inducted in the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1962.[6] He died in Burlingame, California in 1975.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Willie Ritchie". The Cyber Boxing Encyclopedia. 2008-01-07. Retrieved 2008-04-28. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "boxer: Willie Ritchie". BoxRec. Retrieved 2008-04-28. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "IBHOF / Willie Ritchie". International Boxing Hall of Fame. 2004-01-10. Archived from the original on 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2008-04-28. 
  4. ^ "Wolgast, Tottering, Fouls Ritchie; Referee Disqualifies Champion in Sixteenth Round of California Fight." (PDF). The New York Times. November 29, 1912. p. 13. Retrieved 2008-04-28. 
  5. ^ Associated Press (July 8, 1914). "Ritchie Expected a Draw. American Says He Did All the Fighting and Welsh Held On." (PDF). The New York Times. p. 10. Retrieved 2008-04-28. 
  6. ^ a b Associated Press (1975-03-27). "Willie Ritchie Dies at 84; Ex-Lightweight Champion" (PDF, fee required). The New York Times. p. 28. Retrieved 2008-04-28. 
Preceded by
Ad Wolgast
World Lightweight Champion
November 28, 1912 – July 7, 1914
Succeeded by
Freddie Welsh