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 Tommy Burns

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Tommy Burns

  • Original Name Noah Brusso
  • Birth 17 Jun 1881 Hanover, Grey County, Ontario, Canada
  • Death 10 May 1955 Vancouver, Greater Vancouver Regional District, British Columbia, Canada
  • Burial Burnaby, Greater Vancouver Regional District, British Columbia, Canada
  • Memorial ID 8141

Professional Boxer. Born in poverty in Normanby Township near Hanover, Ontario. Tommy grew up in difficult circumstances, and five of the thirteen siblings died before reaching adulthood. Tommy began his prizefighting career in 1900 in Detroit, Michigan. In June 1903, he was discovered playing lacrosse under an assumed name for a Detroit team that was playing in Chatham, Ontario. Tommy changed his name a few fights into his pro career. He was a 5 feet 7 inches tall and about 175 pounds. Starting as a middleweight, Tommy decided to move up to heavyweight to take on the newly-crowned Marvin Hart for the championship. Both shorter and lighter than Hart, he pounded out a twenty-round decision to become the shortest fighter in history to win the title; a record which still stands. He was the World Heavyweight Champion from 1906 to 1908. Tommy was short in stature but had fairly long arms with a 73" reach. In nearly three years as world champion, Tommy was unbeaten in thirteen defenses and won eleven by knockout. The stocky champion prided himself in being a good champion and took on a variety of opponents in London, France and Australia. In December 1908, Tommy became the first fighter to agree to a heavyweight championship with an African American boxer, Jack Johnson, to whom he lost his title in a match held in Sydney. Tommy continued to box occasionally after dropping the title. During the First World War he joined the Canadian army, serving as a physical fitness instructor in Canada. He eventually retired with a 46-5-8 (34) record and is still the only champion in history to score eight straight knockouts in title defenses. He was inducted into the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1955, and into the International Boxing Hall of Fame on June 9, 1996. In his later years, Tommy became an evangelist preacher and was visiting a fellow church member when he died of a heart attack in 1955. He was 73 years old.

Bio by: Shock





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 16 Jan 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8141
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Tommy Burns (17 Jun 1881–10 May 1955), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8141, citing Ocean View Burial Park, Burnaby, Greater Vancouver Regional District, British Columbia, Canada ; Maintained by Find A Grave .