Jimmy Wilde (William James Wilde)

Jimmy Wilde

Jimmy Wilde

Born William James Wilde,

Jimmy Wilde worked in the coal mines as a boy and started boxing at the age of sixteen in fairground booths where crowds were amazed by his toughness and ability to knock down much bigger opponents. Indeed throughout his career his opponents were usually larger and heavier than him. He officially started boxing professionally in 1911 although had been fighting full time for some years before that. He went undefeated in 103 fights including winning the British 98 pound championship. He finally lost his undefeated record when he challenged Tancy Lee for the vacant British and Europe Flyweight Championship in 1915 and was knocked out in the seventeenth round (of twenty). In 1916 he won the British flyweight title by beating Joe Symonds and followed up by beating Johnny Rosner to win the International Boxing Union World Flyweight title. At this point the title was only recognised in Europe, however on 18 December 1916 he defeated Young Zulu Kid of the United States and was acknowledged as the true world champion. In 1917, he retained the crown by beating George Clarke but that would be his last defence as he decided to vacate the world title. He kept fighting though and through 1919-1920 toured the United States and Canada. He went undefeated in 10 fights, however on his return to Britain lost by a knockout to former World Bantamweight Champion Pete Herman. After a win over Young Jennings he announced his retirement but was persuaded to return to the ring two years later to fight for the World Flyweight title against Pancho Villa in New York, losing by a knockout to the Philippines’ first world champion. He then permanently retired. He was given various nicknames during his career such as The Mighty Atom, The Ghost with the Hammer in his Hand and The Tylorstown Terror (after his home village). His official record is 137 wins, 4 losses, 2 draws and 8 no-decisions with 100 wins by knockout, which makes him one of the most prolific knockout winners of all time. Ring Magazine has named him as the 3rd greatest puncher of all time, the 13th greatest fighter of the 20th century and has twice named him the greatest flyweight of all time. In 1990 he was elected into the International Boxing Hall Of Fame.

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  • May, 15, 1892
  • Merthyr Tydfil, Wales


  • March, 10, 1969
  • Whitchurch, Cardiff, Wales

Cause of Death

  • suffered a serious mugging at a train station in Cardiff, from which he never recovered


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