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A look back at the 1924 Olympic Games: Paris, France

1924-olympic-boxing

The 1924 games in Paris would go down as one of the most controversial in history due mainly to officiating. This was the firs time that the judging was being decided by a multi-national set of judges from mainly from Europe, North America, and South Africa. The rounds consisted of two three minute rounds and a third round of four minutes. The bouts were judges by a referee and two ringside judges. During the event, demonstrations, threats of walkouts, and near riots occurred. The boxing was viewed by over 19,000 spectators between July 15 through July 20.

Flyweight

Fidel LaBarba: Born September 29, 1905; Bronx, New York. Death: October 2, 1981; Los Angeles, California. 1924 AAU Champion. Won Gold Medal over James McKenzie of Great Britain. Earned a professional record of 73-15-6 (16 KO). Lost an attempt for the Pacific Coast Flyweight title to Jimmy McLarmin on January 23, 1925. Won the NBA World Flyweight Championship on August 28, 1925 by defeating 1920 Olympian Frankie Genaro by points. Defend the title a couple of time before relinquishing the title to attend Stanford. Would return to the ring in 1928 as a bantamweight and eventually made the move to featherweight. Lost several attempts at minor titles at feather and also a shot at the NYAC World title against Kid Chocolate. While training for the fight with Chocolate, LaBarba suffered a detached retina but fought anyway. After unsuccessful surgeries to repair the damage, he had to have the eye remove ending his career. Earning a degree in Journalism, LaBarba worked as a sports writer, in media relations, screenwriter, and as a technical advisor in Hollywood for boxing movies. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996.

Raymond ‘Ray’ John Free: Born: January 12, 1903; St. Paul, Minnesota. Death: June 2, 1983; Collier County, Florida. Won his Bronze Medal on a bluff. He was soundly beaten in the semi-finals suffering injuries, but he also knew that he bronze medal opponent, Renaldo Castellenghi was also suffering from injuries from his previous bout, so Free went to the ring trying to look as fit as could be. Castellenghi fell for the ruse and withdrew giving Free the victory by walkover. Lost his only professional fight to teammate Fidel LaBarba.

Bantamweight

Joseph Ashur Lazarus: Born: December 18, 1903; Bayonne, New Jersey. Death: June 21, 1943; Manhattan, New York. Lost in the second round to Sweden’s Oscar Arden. Became an insurance broker after the Olympics. Killed in an altercation with two British sailors. After mediating a brawl between his client and the sailors, all parties had shaken hands when one of the sailors shoved Lazarus through a window severing an artery causing him to bleed to death.

Salvatore ‘Al’ Peter Tripoli: Born: December 5, 1904; New York, New York. Death: March 7, 1990; Yonkers, New York. Started boxing at 16 years of age under the name of Jackie Williams because he did not have his mother’s approval. Won the AAU title qualifying him for the Olympics so he had to confess his activities to his mother in order to compete at the games under his real name. Won the Silver Medal after defeating Sweden’s Oscar Arden and losing to South African Willie Smith in the finals. Had a professional record of 34-17-14 (5 KO).

Featherweight

Joseph ‘Joe’ Salas: Born: December 23, 1903; Los Angeles, California. Death: June 11, 1987; Carlsbad, California. Won the Silver Medal losing to teammate and friend Jackie Fields. Fields defeated Salas in one more amateur fight and again in both fighters professional debuts. Professional record: 27-6-4 (5 KO).

John (Jacob) ‘Jackie’ Fields: Born: February 9, 1908; Chicago, Illinois. Death: June 3, 1987; Los Angeles, California. Won Gold Medal defeating Joe Salas. Part owner of the Tropicana Hotel at the time of his death. Birth name was Jacob Finkelstein. Amateur record of 51-3. Is the youngest person to ever win an Olympic Gold Medal in boxing at 16 years 4 months. Professional record: 74-9-2 (31 KO). Won the NBA World Welterweight Title against Young Jack Thompson on March 25, 1929 by 10 round decision. Made one defense of the title before losing it to Young Corbett III on February 22, 1930 by 10 round decision. Lost rematch with Young Jack Thompson on Ma7 9, 1930 by 15 round decision for the NBA title. Regained the NBA title defeating Lou Boullard on January 28, 1932 by 10 round decision. Lost the title to Young Corbett III again on February 22, 1931 by 10 round decision. After the contest the referee that rendered the decision admitted that he made a mistake and that he should have called the fight for Fields. He made this confession in the locker room to Fields manager who immediately knocked the referee out. Inducted into United Savings-Helms Boxing Hall of Fame in 1972, the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1977, the International Jewish Hall of Fame in 1979, and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1994. Served many years as the vice chairman of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Coached the US Boxing team in the 1965 Maccabiah Games.

Lightweight

Benjamin ‘Ben’ Rothwell Jr.: Born: September 14, 1902; West Point, Virginia. Death: December 1979; Short Hills, New Jersey. Lost to Alfredo Copello of Argentina in the quarter-finals. Professional record: 6-0 (5 KO).

Frederick ‘Fred’ Boylstein: Born: March 16, 1903; Ford City, Pennsylvania. Death: February 28, 1972; Kittanning, Pennsylvania. Won the Bronze Medal losing to Alfred Copello of Argentina in the semi-finals. After boxing became a police officer making it to the rank of Captain. Also served as a boxing coach at local boxing gym. Professional record: 37-4-2 (19 KO). 1924 AAU champion.

Welterweight

Hugh Robert Haggerty: Born: January 1, 1905; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Death: August 5, 1941; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Lost in the quarter-finals to Douglas Lewis of Canada. Professional record: 3-5.

Alfons ‘Al’ Mello Travers: Born: January 30, 1906; Lowell, Massachusetts. Death: October 31, 1993; Tewksburry, Massachusetts. Lost in the quarter-finals to Hector Mendez of Argentina. 1924 AAU Champion. Professional record of 43-10 (23 KO). Never won major professional title but won and lost numerous minor titles. After boxing, Mello served in WWII in the Army and was reported to have been killed in action in the November 1946 issue of Ring Magazine while participating in the Italian Campaign. Mello actually lived until 1993 opening and operating “Al Mello’s Restaurant” in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Middleweight

Benjamin ‘Ben’ Frankiln Funk: Born: June 2, 1902; Bloomington, Illinois. Death: November 1969; Bloomington, Illinois. 1924 AAU Champion. Lost in the second round to eventual Bronze Medal winner Joseph Brecken of Belgium.

James Adolphe Lefkowitch: Born: July 23, 1902; Newport News, Virginia. Death: April 15, 1987; LaJolla, California. Lost in the second round to Canadian Leslie Black. Attended the University of Virginia.

Light Heavyweight

George Edmond Mulholland: Born: May 10, 1904; Indianapolis, Indiana. Death: April 1971; Indianapolis, Indiana. Lost in the quarter-finals to eventual Silver Medalist Thyge Petersen of Denmark. Professional record: 1-7-3.

Thomas Joseph ‘Tom’ Kirby: Born: Born December 21, 1904; Roxbury, Massachusetts. Death: November 9, 1968; Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Lost in the quarter-finals to eventual Silver Medalist Sverre Sorsdal of Norway. 1923 Junior National Heavyweight Champion, 1924 AAU Light Heavyweight champ, 1924 New England Amateur Heavyweight champ. Professional record: 29-23-4 (11 KO).

Heavyweight

Edward Patrick Francis ‘Eddie’ Egan: Born: April 26, 1898; Denver, Colorado. Death: June 14, 1967; Rye, New York (heart attack). Only person to win a gold medal in the summer and winter Olympic games in different events. Defeated Sverre Sorsdal of Norway for gold in 1920. After the Olympics, returned Yale University to study law. Left Yale in 1922 to become a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. Won the British ABA Heavyweight Championship in 1923. Competed in the Olympic games at heavyweight in 1924 losing in the opening round. Earned a BA from Oxford in 1928. Admitted to the US Bar in 1932. Won second Gold Medal in 1932 as a member of the US Bobsleigh team at the winter games. Practiced law until 1932, joining the US Army Air Corps for World War II. This was his second military career as he was an Artillery Lieutenant in France during World War I. Reached rank of Lt. Colonel during WWII. Won numerous amateur titles. Appointed as the Chairman of President Dwight Eisenhower’s People to People Sports Committee. Director of the sports program for the World’s Fair in New York in 1964. Member of the Olympic Sports Hall Of Fame, 1983. Inducted into Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 1966. Featured on US Postal Stamps in 1990.

Elery Guy ’Ed’ Greathouse: Born: October 26, 1899; Roane County, West Virginia. Death: 1954; Detroit, Michigan. Lost in second round to Bronze Medalist Alfredo Porzio of Argentina. Professional record of 0-3.

 1924 American Olympic Boxing Team
1924 American Olympic Boxing Team

Results

Fidel LaBarba                                        149 points

Jackie Fields                                             96 points

Eddie Eagan                                             85 points

Fred Boylstein                                           75 points

Tom Kirby                                                   60 points

Joe Salas                                                 56 points

Al Tripoli                                                   52 points

Al Mello                                                             51 points

Ray Fee                                                       14 points

Ben Rothwell                                                11 points

Ben Funk                                                     10 points

Joseph Lazarus and Adolphe Lefkowitch   0 points

Hugh Haggerty                                     -2 points

Ed Greathouse                                     -3 points

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