Battling Nelson

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Battling Nelson
Class of 1992
Old Timer Category
Hall of Fame bio:click

Name: Battling Nelson
Alias: The Durable Dane
Birth Name: Oscar Mattheus Nielsen
Born: 1882-06-05
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: 1954-02-07 (Age:71)
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Height: 5′ 7½″   /   171cm
Reach: 67½″   /   172cm
Boxing Record: click

Managers: Billy Nolan, Willus Britt, Jack Robinson (1910) [1]
Battling Nelson Gallery


Battling Nelson was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, but emigrated to the United States the following year. He was raised in Hegewisch, a neighborhood on the far southeast side of Chicago. He began boxing at age 14 in 1896, and won the World Lightweight Title in 1905 to become perhaps Scandinavia's most successful boxer ever. (Extended bio: [2])

After his ring career in 1920, Nelson worked as a laborer in the Chicago Post Office. (His 52-year-old mother, Ida, had suffered a tragic death when she was struck by a speeding train at Burnham, IL, August 10, 1911.)

According to the Oct. 25, 1912 Seattle Star [3], Nelson planned to marry Miss Fay King, cartoonist, of Denver, and formerly of Seattle and Portland. By October 1916, he was having plastic surgery in an effort to win Fay King, his ex-wife, back. [4]

He died in 1954 in Chicago, Illinois, after suffering serious head injuries sustained during a street crime attack.

  • Canceled World Title bout with Aurelio Herrera, 25 May 1906: [5][6]
  • See also, January 1909 series of autobiographical articles for the San Francisco Call [7].
  • Other articles: [8][9]