Tommy Ryan

For other people named Tommy Ryan, see Tommy Ryan (disambiguation).
Tommy Ryan
Real name Joseph Youngs
Rated at Middleweight
Nationality United States American
Born (1870-03-31)March 31, 1870
Redwood, New York
Died August 3, 1948(1948-08-03) (aged 78)
Van Nuys, California
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 World Welterweight,[1] and World Middleweight boxing champion who fought from 1887–1907.[2] His simulataneously holding records in both weight classes was a rare and impressive feat for a boxer.

Boxing career

Ryan was considered an excellent boxer-puncher, and many consider him one of the all time greatest middleweight champions. His boxing record was 86 wins (68 KO's), 3 losses and 6 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.

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 Van Nuys, California, aged 78.[3]

See also


  1. "The Lineal Welterweight Champs". The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia.
  2. "The Lineal Middleweight Champions". The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia.
  3. Boxing News Annual 1949, War Facts Press, p. 10
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
February 25, 1898 December, 1906
Title next held by
Stanley Ketchel
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