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Hall of Fame Friday: Ted ‘Kid’ Lewis

08
Apr

THE RING magazine features a thumbnail biography of a ring great who has received the ultimate honor: induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y.

TED “KID” LEWIS
Birthdate: Oct. 24, 1894
Birthplace: London, England
Date of death: Oct. 20, 1970
Weight class: Flyweight through heavyweight
Height: 5 feet, 8¾ inches (174cm)
Professional record: 173-30-14 (71 knockouts) with 65 no-decisions
Title: World welterweight (Aug. 31, 1915-April 24, 1916; June 25, 1917-March 17, 1919)
Best performances: Jack Britton (W 12, W 12, W 20), Benny Leonard (no-decision 10), Willie Ritchie (no-decision 10), Jack Bloomfield (W 20), Mike Glover (W 12), Roland Todd (W 20), Johnny Basham (KO 9, KO 19), Alec Lambert (KO 17), Johnny Brown (W 20), Johnny Tillman (W 20), Frankie Burns (KO 11).
Year of IBHOF induction: 1992
Background: Born Gershon Mendeloff in London’s tough East End. ÔǪ Turned pro in 1909, shortly after his 15th birthday. ÔǪ Won British featherweight title in 1913 and European 126-pound belt the following year. ÔǪ Began legendary rivalry with Jack Britton in March 1915 with a 10-round no-decision in New York City. ÔǪ Captured world welterweight championship later that year, winning 12-round decision over Britton, who had taken the title from Mike Glover in the interim. ÔǪ Lost title to Britton in 1916 but regained it the next year. ÔǪ Lost title to Britton again in 1919 via ninth-round knockout. ÔǪ The final tally of his 20-bout series with Britton: three wins for Lewis, four wins for Britton, one draw and 12 no-decisions. ÔǪ Returned to England in 1920 following more than six years campaigning in the United States. ÔǪ By then, he had morphed from a traditional jab-and-move British style into a more aggressive puncher. Film clips from that era show him moving around the ring with his hands low, looking for openings, and then leaping in with quick, hard shots to the head. ÔǪ Won British and European welterweight titles in 1920. ÔǪ Annexed British and European middleweight titles in ’21. ÔǪ Suffered humiliating first-round KO in an attempt to take the world light heavyweight championship from Georges Carpentier in ’22. ÔǪ Rebounded to win British Empire middleweight title in his next outing. .. Fought a pair of South African heavyweights in Johannesburg, knocking out Alec Storbeck in the opening round and boxing a 15-round draw with Johnny SquiresÔǪ Ended his 20-year career with a third-round TKO of old rival Johnny Basham on Dec. 13, 1929ÔǪ Died four days before his 77th birthday. ÔǪ “Only mighty midget Jimmy Wilde could seriously dispute Ted “Kid” Lewis’ right to be recognized as the greatest fighter ever produced in Britain,” wrote Patrick Myler in his 1997 book A Century of Boxing Greats.

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