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 John L. Sullivan

John L. Sullivan

Birth
Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 2 Feb 1918 (aged 59)
Abington, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Roslindale, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Memorial ID 1002 · View Source
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First Heavyweight Champion of the World 1882-1892. John L. Sullivan was a true fighting man. He drank, womanised and proudly boasted he "could lick any man in the house." He was the first world heavyweight champion to wear gloves, as required under the Marquess of Queensbury rules, and boxing's first ever superstar, commanding combined purses of over a million dollars in the course of his career. Born in Roxbury, Massachusetts on October 15, 1858, Sullivan turned professional as a high-spirited youngster in 1878. He soon gained the nickname "The Boston Strong Boy" and used his brute strength to tear through the opposition before meeting Irish-born Paddy Ryan for the bareknuckle championship of the world in Mississippi City in February 1882. So fierce was Sullivan's onslaught that Ryan's corner threw in the sponge before the start of the ninth round, after their man had taken a sustained beating. Sullivan was now the champion and made his name fighting exhibitions across the land, but he refused to fight any black boxer and drew what came to be known as boxing's "colour line." He only defended his title twice in the next 10 years battling a 39 round draw with Charlie Mitchell in Chantilly, France in March 1888 and knocking out Jake Kilrain in the 75th round in July 1889. But the end finally came against "Gentleman" Jim Corbett in September 1892 in New Orleans. Sullivan outweighed Corbett by 32 pounds and was a 4-1 favourite entering the fight, but he was old and tired, and the younger, more scientific challenger outboxed the old warhorse before knocking him out in the 21st round. Sullivan then retired with a record of 41-1-3 with 33 KO's. Sullivan drank heavily after that career-ending defeat, but later lectured against the evils of alcoholism. He died in Abington, Massachusetts, on February 2, 1918.

Bio by: Soorus


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 1002
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for John L. Sullivan (15 Oct 1858–2 Feb 1918), Find A Grave Memorial no. 1002, citing Mount Calvary Cemetery, Roslindale, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .