[Criteria: Fighter theoretically enters weight category of choice]
FLYWEIGHTS & LIGHT-FLYWEIGHTS & JUNIOR-FLYWEIGHTS & STRAWWEIGHTS & MINIMUM WEIGHTS 112 lbs: p1 Jimmy Wilde p2 Pancho Villa p3 Benny Lynch p4 Ricardo Lopez p4 Pascual Perez p5 Frankie Genaro p5 Fidel LaBarba p5 Michael Carbajal p6 Horacio Accavallo p6 Miguel Canto
[9.0] JIMMY WILDE 141-132(99)-3-1-5 [Flyweight]: Gene Tunney - Ringside Boxing Show online - Monte D Cox - Daily Telegraph - Boxing News online -
Jimmy was the greatest fighter I ever saw. Gene Tunney
Jimmy Wilde (15 May 1892 – 10 March 1969), was a former Welsh world boxing champion. Jimmy Wilde was the first official world flyweight champion and was rated by American boxing writer Nat Fleischer, as well as many other professionals and fans including former boxer, trainer, manager and promoter, Charley ‘Broadway’ Rose, as ‘the greatest flyweight ever’. Wilde earned various nicknames such as, The Mighty Atom, Ghost with the Hammer in his Hand and The Tylorstown Terror. Ringside Boxing Show online
Wilde went undefeated in 103 bouts, all of which were held in Britain, a remarkable achievement. ibid.
Jimmy Wilde was boxing’s first and greatest flyweight champion. The National Sporting Club established the flyweight class in Britain in 1909, but American recognition of the division did not come until 1916 the year Wilde won the title. His reign as 112-pound champion ran from 1916 to 1923. His record of going unbeaten in his first 98 fights will probably stand forever. Wilde is the hardest pound for pound hitter in boxing history scoring almost 100 knockouts despite weighing barely over 100 pounds ...
Jimmy Wilde, like Bob Fitzsimmons and the original Joe Walcott, has been described as something of a physical freak. He stood 5 2 ½”, had a 68” reach and never weighed more than 108 pounds but possessed the power of a lightweight. Modern Straw-weights, Junior Flyweights and Flyweights cannot compare to his ability since he held the 112 pound title and knocked out men almost twice his weight.
Bob Mee stated, ‘Jimmy Wilde cut a pale, waif like figure, and conceded weight even to flyweights. He was fast and extremely difficult to hit and had a repertoire of precise, stinging punches that accounted for 99 of his official 145 opponents inside the distance.’
McCallum wrote in his Encyclopaedia of World Boxing Champions, ‘Jimmy’s appearance was bellying, for he punched harder, with incredible speed and accuracy than most lightweights. He was not at all intimidated by bigger men’. Monte D Cox, ‘Jimmy Wilde, The Mighty Atom ... A Mite of a Man’
Painting of Wilde’s flyweight battle royal of 1919 expected to fetch £150,000: With his waxen features, sparrow’s legs, matchstick arms and protruding ribs, Jimmy Wilde looked as though he should have been slouching droop-shouldered across a Lowry industrial landscape instead of fighting like a whirling dervish on a boxing canvas.
Barely 5ft 2 in and seldom weighing more than 7 st, Wilde gave away height and weight in almost every one of his recorded 864 contests yet, after becoming world champion on Valentine’s Day 1916, subsequently gained recognition as the greatest flyweight in history; aye, and maybe the finest pound-for-pound fighter of them all …
Deceptively frail in appearance, Wilde became known as The Mighty Atom or the Ghost with a Hammer in his Hand and, in his 11th contest, only four months after turning pro, knocked out the former middleweight champion, Billy Papke, inside three rounds despite giving away 60 lbs. Though possessed of lightning-quick hands and dizzying speed of foot, the power Wilde could generate from his scrawny frame continued to intrigue ring experts throughout his career and he became the subject of a series of medical examinations as doctors sought a scientific answer to his seemingly inhuman strength …
He died at the age of 76 in 1969 when, in ill health and a broken man, he never fully recovered from being beaten up by a gang of teenagers on a lonely railway station platform.
To look at, Jimmy Wilde might have been no oil painting but, in the ring, he was a genuine work of art. Daily Telegraph article Robert Philip
On This Day: Jimmy Wilde, Britain’s Greatest Ever, Dies: Jimmy Wilde’s two nicknames say it all about this incredible little boxer. Known as ‘The Mighty Atom’ and ‘The Ghost with a Hammer in his Hand’, Wilde looked anything but a fighter. A physical freak, he stood 5ft 2 1/2ins and never weighed more than 7st 10lbs but had such astonishing punching power that he knocked out nearly 100 opponents.
He had skinny legs, pipe-stem arms and a completely unorthodox fighting style. Persistently attacking opponents while holding his gloves at hip level, and bobbing and weaving as he moved in, he was a difficult opponent to pinpoint with a decisive punch. His own hammer blows came from all angles, usually while his opponent was trapped on the ropes or helpless in a corner.
Wilde is universally acknowledged as the first world champion of the flyweight division and the greatest 8 stone title-holder of them all.
Born in Tylorstown, Wales on May 15, 1892, Jimmy Wilde worked in the local coal mines and began boxing as a boy to supplement his meagre wages. He fought in the miners’ clubs and also in the boxing booths that regularly visited the area. His first registered professional contest was in 1911 when he knocked out Ted Roberts in three rounds. In 1913 he fought more than 30 times, taking little out of himself because so few of the fights went the allotted distance. Having exhausted the opposition in Wales and northern England, Wilde descended on London. He knocked out promising Matt Wells’ Nipper in the first round at the famous Blackfriars Ring. He became a favourite at the old National Sporting Club in Covent Garden where he lost for the first time. Conceding nearly 10 pounds in weight and 10 years in age, he was matched against experienced Scot Tancy Lee for the British and European titles in January 1915. Exhausted by going for a knockout early on, Wilde was stopped in the 17th round.
A year later he became British champion by stopping Joe Symonds in 12 rounds and then claimed the world title by knocking out Johnny Rosner in 11 rounds in April 1916. He trounced Tancy Lee in a rematch and finally received worldwide recognition as the world champion when he knocked out America’s Young Zulu Kid in 11 rounds in December that same year.
During The War, Wilde fought while serving in the army and by the end of hostilities he had also won the Lonsdale Belt outright. He even defeated useful featherweight Joe Conn in a charity contest at Chelsea Football Club’s ground, Stamford Bridge. Much taller and over a stone heavier Conn was battered to defeat in 11 rounds.
In 1919 Wilde scored two magnificent wins over top-rated American bantamweights Joe Lynch and Pal Moore. In 1920 he toured America winning all 12 contests, five inside the distance. Now confident he could win a world title at bantamweight, he agreed to fight American great Pete Herman at the Royal Albert Hall in January 1921. It was a meeting that was cloaked in controversy and suspected skulduggery. Herman contrived to lose his title to Joe Lynch before he arrived in England and then declined to weigh-in before the fight, so Wilde refused to come out of his dressing room until he did. When Wilde was told that the Prince of Wales was ringside he said: ‘I can’t keep him waiting,’ and entered the ring. Outweighed by well over a stone the Welshman was dropped three times and stopped in the 17th round by the highly accomplished American.
Wilde retired at the age of 29 but was persuaded to come back two years later and defend his world flyweight title against Filipino Pancho Villa at the Polo Grounds in New York in front of 23,000 fans.
His purse was a whopping $65,000. For a time he held his own but by the sixth round he was cut and struggling. The demon-like Villa poured in the punches in the seventh and the little Welshman finally crashed to the canvas unconscious. He was badly hurt and couldn’t return to Britain for a week.
Wilde retired and put his money into several businesses including a cinema chain and a café on Barry Island he called ‘The Mighty Atom’.
His final few years were tragic. In 1965 he was mugged on Cardiff station. He was beaten so severely he never recovered, lingering on for four more years in Whitchurch hospital until he finally died in 1969 at the age of 76. Boxing News online 10 March 2018