Tommy Ryan

Last updated
Tommy Ryan
Tommy Ryan.jpg
Real nameJoseph Youngs
Weight(s) Middleweight
Nationality American
Born(1870-03-31)March 31, 1870
Redwood, New York
DiedAugust 3, 1948(1948-08-03) (aged 78)
Phoenix, Arizona
Boxing record
Total fights109
Wins by KO71
No contests2

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

Ryan was considered by many one of the greatest Middleweights in boxing history. He was the World Middleweight Champion from 1898 to 1906. 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. Jim flynn tommy ryan.jpg
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 1941, 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, aged 78. [4]

See also

Related Research Articles

Thomas Hearns American boxer

ThomasHearns is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1977 to 2006. Nicknamed the "Motor City Cobra", and more famously "The Hitman", Hearns' tall, slender build and oversized arms and shoulders allowed him to move up over fifty pounds in his career and become the first boxer in history to win world titles in five weight divisions: welterweight, light middleweight, middleweight, light heavyweight and super middleweight.

Tony Canzoneri American boxer

Tony Canzoneri was an American professional boxer. A three-time world champion, he held a total of five world titles. Canzoneri is a member of the exclusive group of boxing world champions who have won titles in three or more divisions.

Bob Fitzsimmons British boxer

Robert James "Bob" Fitzsimmons was a British professional boxer who was the sport's first three-division world champion. He also achieved fame for beating Gentleman Jim Corbett, and he is in The Guinness Book of World Records as the lightest heavyweight champion. Nicknamed "Ruby Robert" and "The Freckled Wonder", he took pride in his lack of scars and appeared in the ring wearing heavy woollen underwear to conceal the disparity between his trunk and leg-development.

Mickey Walker (boxer) American boxer

Edward Patrick "Mickey" Walker was an American professional boxer who held both the World Welterweight and World Middleweight Championships at different points in his career. Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, he was also an avid golfer and would later be recognized as a renowned artist. Walker is widely considered one of the greatest fighters ever, with ESPN ranking him 17th on their list of the 50 Greatest Boxers of All-Time and boxing historian Bert Sugar placing him 11th in his Top 100 Fighters catalogue. Statistical website BoxRec rates Walker as the 6th best middleweight ever, while The Ring Magazine founder Nat Fleischer placed him at No. 4. The International Boxing Research Organization ranked Walker as the No. 4 middleweight and the No. 16 pound-for-pound fighter of all-time. Walker was inducted into the Ring Magazine hall of fame in 1957 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame as a first-class member in 1990.

James J. Jeffries American boxer

James Jackson "Jim" Jeffries was an American professional boxer and World Heavyweight Champion.

Carmelo Bossi Italian boxer

Carmelo Bossi was an Italian boxer who was the undisputed junior middleweight champion of the world. Bossi boxed from 1961 to 1971 and his overall record was 40 wins, 8 defeats and 3 draws.

Cory Spinks American boxer

Cory Spinks is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1997 to 2013. He held multiple world championships in two weight classes, including the undisputed welterweight title from 2003 to 2005, and the IBF junior middleweight title twice between 2006 and 2010. Additionally, he challenged once for the lineal middleweight title in 2007.

Young Corbett III American boxer

Ralph Giordano, better known as Young Corbett III, was an Italian-born American boxer. He was the World Welterweight Champion in 1933 and the NYSAC Middleweight champion in 1938. A tough southpaw, he did not have strong punching power but was known for his great speed and determination. Corbett is considered one of the greatest southpaws of all time and one of the all-time great counterpunchers. He was inducted into the Fresno County Athletic Hall of Fame in 1959, the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1982, and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2004.

Marty Servo American boxer

Mario Severino, "Marty Servo" was a professional boxer who held the World welterweight Championship. Servo began boxing in the mid-1930s. He became a professional boxer in 1938 and was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1989.

Luis Manuel Rodríguez Cuban boxer

Luis Manuel Rodríguez was a Cuban professional boxer. Known as "El Feo", he began his career in pre-Castro Havana. In Cuba, he twice defeated the ill-fated future welterweight champion Benny Paret. He held the WBA, WBC, and lineal welterweight titles in 1963, and challenged once for the WBA, and WBC middleweight titles in 1969.

Al McCoy (boxer) American boxer

Al McCoy,, born Alexander Rudolph, was a boxing World Middleweight Champion from 1914 to 1917. He had a total of 157 bouts. Of those determined officially by boxing judges, he won 44 with 27 by knockout, and had 6 losses, and 6 draws. Around 107 of his fights were no decision bouts.

Bruno Girard was a French boxer at super middleweight and light heavyweight division who held the Lineal and WBA super middleweight titles.

George Chip American boxer

George Chip was an American boxer who was the World Middleweight Champion from 1913 to 1914 in an era of great middleweights. Chip came to be known as a heavy puncher with an impressive knockout ratio.

Jack Thompson (boxer) American boxer

Cecil Lewis "Jack" Thompson was an American boxer who twice held the World Welterweight Championship. Born Cecil Thompson, his name was changed when he decided to become a professional fighter. His father, who was training him, did not think "Cecil" was a fighter's name, so he chose "Jack." To avoid confusion with another fighter named "Jack Thompson," his father decided to use the ring name Young Jack Thompson.

Philadelphia Jack OBrien American boxer

Joseph Francis Hagan was the world light heavyweight boxing champion. Nat Fleischer, founder and editor of The Ring Magazine, ranked O'Brien as the No. 2 All-Time Light Heavyweight, and famed boxing promoter Charley Rose ranked him as the No. 3 All-Time Light Heavyweight. O'Brien was inducted into the Ring Magazine hall of fame in 1968, the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1987, and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1994.

Jorge Vaca (born December 14, 1959 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, was a professional boxer in the welterweight division who held the World Welterweight Championship.

Lou Brouillard Canadian boxer

Lucien Pierre Brouillard, better known as Lou Brouillard,, was a Canadian professional boxer who held the World Welterweight Title and a version of the World Middleweight Title. Statistical boxing website BoxRec ranks Brouillard as the 14th best middleweight of all-time and the 3rd best Canadian boxer ever. During his career he faced the likes of Mickey Walker, Young Corbett III, Jimmy McLarnin, Marcel Thil, and Fred Apostoli. Brouillard was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 2000 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006.

Denny Moyer was an American boxer who held the world light middleweight title between 1962 and 1963. He finished his career with a 97–38–4 record.

Dixie Kid American boxer

Aaron Lister BrownakaDixie Kid was an American boxer. He was a controversial contender for the World Welterweight Boxing Championship in April 1904.

Eddie Palmer was an African American boxer who held the World Colored Welterweight and World Colored Middleweight titles. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1892, the 5'9" Palmer fought at a weight of between 142 and 156 lbs. out of Philadelphia and New Orleans between 1910 and 1925. He moved to Philadelphia in August 1911 and fought out of the City of Brotherly Love for two years.


  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. "Tommy Ryan", BoxRec
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