Joey Dolan

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Name: Joey Dolan
Alias: Irish/Dead End Kid
Birth Name: Joseph A. Dolan
Born: 1921-04-10
Birthplace: Northgate, North Dakota, USA
Died: 1994-08-09 (Age:73)
Hometown: Spokane, Washington, USA
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 5′ 8½″   /   174cm
Reach: 69″   /   175cm
Boxing Record: click

Managers and Trainers: Jack Brackey and Jimmy Tansy, Kaley Sonner (trainer 1948)

  • Dubbed "Irish" Joey Dolan or "The Dead End Kid".

Boxed in the Bantamweight and Featherweight Divisions

Boxing Career

Dolan arrived in Spokane in 1936, after his family left North Dakota due to the great depression. He began fighting as an amateur right after arriving in Spokane, engaging in 57 bouts. He began his boxing career in 1942, probably in Spokane, though this has not been confirmed. In early 1943, he was living in Portland, Oregon, working as a welder in Portland's booming shipbuilding industry. He quickly rose to main event status in the summer of 1943 boxing in Portland, before heading back to Spokane in 1944.

He would capture the Pacific Northwest and Pacific Coast Featherweight Titles in 1944, with two wins over Joe Robleto. After defeating Kenny Lindsay in January of 1945, he was inducted into the Army at Fort Lewis in Washington. Following his stint in the Army he boxed in New York City, for most of 1945 and 1946, before returning to Spokane.

He achieved his greatest success in 1946 and 1947, defeating Tony Olivera, Jackie Wilson, Aurel Toma, and Luis Castillo. In March 1948, he took on the rising Joey Velez of Renton, in a bout in Spokane. In what was described as one of the greatest fights ever in Spokane at the time, and even years later at his death, Dolan was knocked down seven times, but showed tremendous courage finishing on his feet. In 1983, Dolan and Velez reenacted their bout at West Central Community Center in Spokane, at a cermony honoring the bout's referee, Bud Oliver.

After a stoppage loss to Bantamweight Champion Manuel Ortiz in a non-title bout in Portland, Dolan signed for a rematch with Velez in Spokane. This time Velez finished Dolan in the eighth with a body shot, the only time according to Dolan, that he was completely knocked out.

Post-Boxing Life

Dolan worked as a bartender for 25 years following his boxing career, and also worked as a janitor in the Spokane Valley School District from 1976 to 1986. Dolan also worked as a trainer, most notably working with Spokane's Kirk Barrow, a ranked Light Heavyweight contender during the early 1960's.

Dolan battled alcholism for much of his adult life, as well as during his boxing career. After his drinking began to affect his health in 1979, he finally sought professional treatment. Dolan was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 1989, but fought on until 1994, before passing away at Bethany Home in Spokane. Dolan was survived by five children, and two stepsons.

Awards and Recognition

  • Rated in the Featherweight divison by RING Magazine in 1947
  • 1991 Inductee into the Inland Northwest Sports Hall of Fame
  • Dolan claimed a professional record of 57-7-2, though this is at the very least incorrect, in regards to his number of losses.


  • Spokesman-Review, August 10, 1994 "Spokane boxing great Joey Dolan dead at 73"
  • Spokesman-Review, August 11, 1994, Funeral Notice for Joey A. Dolan
  • Spokesman-Review and Portland Oregonian newspaper article collection of Matt Tegen