Ted “Kid” Lewis

Ted “Kid” Lewis (born Gershon Mendeloff; 28 October 1893 20 October 1970) was an English professional boxer who twice won the World Welterweight Championship (147 lb).[4] Lewis is often ranked among the all-time greats, with ESPN ranking him 41st on their list of the 50 Greatest Boxers of All-Time and boxing historian Bert Sugar placing him 46th in his Top 100 Fighters catalogue.[5][6] Statistical boxing website BoxRec ranks Lewis as the 17th best welterweight of all-time and the 7th best UK boxer ever.[7] He is a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, the Ring Magazine Hall of Fame, and the International Boxing Hall of Fame.[8]

English boxer

Ted “Kid” Lewis
Statistics
Real name Gershon Mendeloff
Nickname(s) The Aldgate Sphinx
Weight(s) Light Heavyweight
Middleweight
Welterweight
Height 5 ft 7.5 in (1.71 m)
Reach 69 in (175 cm)
Nationality English
Born Varies depending on source, either 28 October 1893[1] or 24 October 1894[2][3]
Parish of St George in the East, London
Died 20 October 1970(1970-10-20) (aged 75)
London
Boxing record
Total fights 301
Wins 232
Wins by KO 77
Losses 46
Draws 23

. . . Ted “Kid” Lewis . . .

Lewis was born as Gershon Mendeloff in a gas-lit tenement in the now demolished Umberston Street, in the Aldgate Pump section of London’s East End. His father was a cabinet-maker. One of his elder brothers had become a boxer under the name of Lou Lewis. At the suggestion of a police officer – who had witnessed his performance in a street brawl – he entered the boxing ring in 1909, making his fighting debut as ‘Kid’ Lewis, having joined as a member of the Judaean Club, Whitechapel (the name “Ted” was added later, in America). He subsequently won the club’s Flyweight title and took home a cup of imitation silver.

He became a professional boxer in 1909. On 6 October 1913, Lewis won the British Featherweight Championship with a 17th-round knockout of Alec Lambert at London’s National Sporting Club. A year later, on 2 February 1914, at London’s Premierland (in Whitechapel), he won the European Featherweight title from the French boxer Paul Til via a 12th round foul. Still in 1914, campaigning as a lightweight and welterweight, Lewis left London and toured Australia. In 1915 Lewis travelled to the United States, fighting Phil Bloom in New York’s Madison Square Garden and winning by a decision.

Lewis (left), shaking hands with arch-rival Jack Britton

In Boston‘s Armory, on 31 August of that same year, he fought the man known as the “Boxing Marvel,” Jack Britton, for the Welterweight title. Lewis won in a twelve-round decision, becoming World Welterweight Champion and beginning an historic rivalry. Lewis became the first English boxer to cross the Atlantic and beat an American for a world title. This victory made him one of the youngest world champions in history at the age of 21 or 22 depending on the source.

The fights between Lewis and Britton for the world title were particularly notable. Their relationship has been described as one of the greatest rivalries in boxing history, and it was said that ‘they winced and ducked every time they heard the other man’s name’. From 1915 to 1921 Lewis and Britton fought 20 times, a total of 224 rounds.

On 24 April 1916, in New Orleans, Lewis lost the title to Britton. He reclaimed it on 25 June 1917, at Westwood Field, Dayton, Ohio. He lost the title for the last time on 17 March 1919, in Canton, Ohio, when Britton knocked him out in the 9th round – the only knockout of the series. The roundup of his matches with Britton: Lewis won 3, lost 4, and had 1 draw. There were 12 no decisions. After his last loss to Britton, Lewis returned to England.

. . . Ted “Kid” Lewis . . .

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. . . Ted “Kid” Lewis . . .

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