Johnny Kilbane

By David Martinez / Boxing Historian /

One of the great featherweights, that nobody talks about, is certainly Johnny Kilbane, a champion who held the title for eleven years (1912-1923) and fought the best of his era 다운로드.

Kilbane was born in a large Irish neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio on April 18, 1889 and began his professional career in November of 1907.

With only 33 fights under his belt, Kilbane fought the great Abe Attell who had 120 fights on his record;  Kilbane lost a ten round unanimous decision in Kansas City, Missouri, on October 24, 1910 다운로드.

The two would meet again three months later in a bout that would end in a four-round no-contest.

On February 22, 1912 Kilbane won the world featherweight title with a twenty-round decision over Attell in Vernon, California 다운로드.

From 1912 to 1917 Kilbane recorded wins against notable opponents such as Jimmy Walsh, Johnny Dundee, Jimmy Fox, Rocky Kansas, Kid Williams, Benny Leonard, George “KO” Chaney, and Freddie Welsh, but lost twice to promising prospect Richie Mitchell with both bouts being 10-round newspaper decisions 중국 천둥 다운로드.

On July 25, 1917 at Shibe Park, Philadelphia, Kilbane the reigning featherweight champion, attempted to move up in weight and again faced Leonard, the reigning lightweight champion, in a scheduled six-round non-title fight and was knocked out in three rounds 다운로드.

After the Leonard bout, Kilbane would not fight again until 1919 as World War I put his boxing career on hold while he served as an Army boxing and self defense instructor at Camp Sherman, Chillcothe, Ohio, and Camp Gordon, Georgia.  

After a two year layoff he returned to the ring on March 10, 1919, and he would continue to fight until September 1921. In that time period he would accumulate a ring record of 14 wins and 5 losses.  His bout with Danny Frush on September 17, 1921 at Cleveland’s Dunn League Park attracted a crowd of 17,235; he won by knockout in the 7th round.

Kilbane did not fight again until June 2, 1923, losing the featherweight title by 6th round knockout to European champion Eugene Criqui at the Polo Grounds, New York. An interesting fact was that both fighters had an incredible combined number of fights: Kilbane 141 and Criqui 127 for a total of 268.

Kilbane held the featherweight title from 1912 to 1923, the longest period in the 126 pound division’s history, and he is the second longest world title holder in boxing history behind Joe Louis.

BoxRec ranks him as the #2 greatest featherweight of all time, and Ring magazine founder, legendary boxing historian Nat Fleischer ranks him at #5.

My personal ranking is #9, as he follows other greats who are (in order): Willie Pep, Kid Chocolate, Sandy Saddler, Abe Attell, George Dixon, Terry McGovern, Vicente Saldivar, and Salvador Sanchez.  Jim Driscoll, Johnny Dundee, and Eusebio Pedroza round out my top dozen greatest featherweights of all time. Please note that I have ranked other great featherweights, such as Henry Armstrong, Alexis Arguello, Azumah Nelson, and Young Griffo, just to name a few, in my other weight division categories.

Kilbane was inducted into the Ring Boxing Hall of Fame in 1960, and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1995. Personally, I am still in absolute disbelief that he was never inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame.

Kilbane fought mostly no-decision contests. He had a professional ring record of 119 wins, 4 losses, and 15 draws, with 24 by knockout; his record with a no-decision category would be 51 wins, 4 losses, 7 draws, and 78 no-decisions with 25 by knockout.

Upon retirement Kilbane refereed and operated a gym. Later he worked for the Cleveland public schools as a physical education instructor from 1934 to 1935. In the 1940’s, he served in the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives, and in 1951 he was elected to the position of Clerk of the Municipal Court.

Johnny Kilbane died from cancer at his home in Cleveland, Ohio on May 31, 1957 at the age 68.     

One thought on “Johnny Kilbane

  1. Great article on an ATG Champion! I agree that he belongs in the top 10 of his division historically. I think anywhere from 4 to 9 is in the right ballpark for tnis ATG.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *