Billy Conn

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Billy Conn
Class of 1990
Modern Category
Hall of Fame bio:click
World Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee

Name: Billy Conn
Alias: Pittsburgh Kid
Birth Name: William David Conn
Born: 1917-10-08
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: 1993-05-29 (Age:75)
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 6′ 1½″   /   187cm
Reach: 72½″   /   184cm
Boxing Record: click

Manager: Johnny Ray
Trainer: Freddie Fierro

Billy Conn Gallery

Billy Conn was the Light Heavyweight Champion of the World from 1939 to 1941. Conn is best known for his classic 1941 fight with World Heavyweight Champion Joe Louis. Conn, ahead on points, was knocked out in the thirteenth round.

Career Overview

  • Did not have any amateur bouts and turned professional at the age of 16.
  • Lost six of his first fourteen fights.
  • Defeated Fritzie Zivic, Eddie (Babe) Risko, Vince Dundee, Teddy Yarosz, Young Corbett III, Solly Krieger, and Fred Apostoli.
  • Defeated Melio Bettina by a fifteen-round unanimous decision on July 13, 1939 to win the NYSAC Light Heavyweight Championship and the vacant NBA Light Heavyweight Championship.
  • First title defense was a rematch with Melio Bettina on September 25, 1939. Conn won by a fifteen-round unanimous decision.
  • Defeated future World Light Heavyweight Champion Gus Lesnevich by a fifteen-round unanimous decision on November 17, 1939 to successfully defend his title for the second time.
  • Third and final title defense was a rematch with Gus Lesnevich on June 5, 1940. Conn won by a fifteen-round unanimous decision.
  • Knocked out Bob Pastor, the #1 heavyweight contender, in thirteen rounds on September 6, 1940.
  • Relinquished the World Light Heavyweight Championship on June 3, 1941, when he and Joe Louis met before the New York State Athletic Commission to sign articles for their June 18 fight.
  • Fought Joe Louis for the World Heavyweight Championship on June 18, 1941 at the Polo Grounds in New York City. Conn, outweighed by more than 25 pounds, gave Louis one of his toughest fights. After twelve rounds, Conn was ahead on two scorecards and even on the third. He needed to win just one of the remaining three rounds to win the fight. Having wobbled Louis in the twelfth round, Conn went for a knockout in the thirteenth and got knocked out himself. He was counted out with only two seconds left in the round. The Ring Magazine ranked the fight as the sixth greatest title fight of all-time in 1998.
  • Starred in the 1941 boxing movie The Pittsburgh Kid.
  • Defeated World Middleweight Champion Tony Zale by a twelve-round unanimous decision on February 13, 1942.
  • Joined the U.S. Army on March 7, 1942.
  • Broke his left hand in a fight with his father-in-law on May 10, 1942. It caused the cancellation of his planned June 25 rematch with Joe Louis. The fight was rescheduled for October 12, but Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson cancelled the bout on September 25 and ordered Corporal Conn and Sergeant Louis to return "at once to their military duties." Conn and Louis were inactive for four years due to World War II.
  • Fought a rematch with Joe Louis for the World Heavyweight Championship on June 19, 1946. Louis won by an eighth-round knockout.

Awards & Recognition

External Links

Preceded by:
Melio Bettina
World Light Heavyweight Champion
1939 Jul 13 – 1941 Jun 3
Succeeded by:
Anton Christoforidis