Johnny O'Leary

From BoxRec
Jump to: navigation, search

Name: Johnny O'Leary
Born: 1893-06-16
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, USA
Died: 1922-03-10 (Age:28)
Hometown: Ballard, Washington, USA
Height: 5′ 6″   /   168cm
Reach: 68½″   /   174cm
Boxing Record: click

Managers: A. W. (Jockey) Madden (William Madden), Fred Bogan, Frank Purcell (1913), Darby Kelly
Photo #2, Photo #3

Johnny O'Leary started his boxing career in the Seattle area, and was managed by former pugilist Fred Bogan of San Francisco and Everett, Washington, for some time, starting in January 1915. (Everett Morning Tribune, January 2, 1915.) And he was managed by Frank Purcell (former middleweight boxer) very early on before O'Leary moved East. (Everett Tribune, Aug. 2, 1916; and Tacoma Daily News, May 9, 1913.) In the Edmonds Bulletin for 9/2/1916, he is said to be managed by Darby Kelly. (They split after Kelly allegedly stole jewelry and money from O'Leary. Dec. 23, 1916 Seattle Star [1].) Johnny was the brother of Danny O'Leary.

After having a decent career in the Pacific Northwest, O'Leary headed east in later 1915 or early 1916. He wound up in Philadelphia. [2] Then he took up residence in Buffalo, New York.

(In 1916, according to Everett newspaper accounts, Canadian authorities were trying to draft O'Leary into the military to fight in France during World War I. He had to convince them that, although he was the Canadian Lightweight Champion at the time [3][4], he wasn't Canadian--he was an American. The Dec. 20, 1915 Seattle Star, however, reported that he had been born in Ireland, and had already enlisted in the Canadian army. [5]. The Jan. 4, 1916 Tacoma Times reported he was then a sergeant in the British Army. [6])

According to the Everett Tribune, Everett Daily Herald, and Seattle Star [7] newspapers, by the summer of 1916, O'Leary had become a popular drawing card in Buffalo. He termed it a great "Irish boxing city." O'Leary enjoyed the area so much that he purchased a three-story hotel that also included a saloon for $10,000. He occupied a third of the building as his private apartment. He claimed he was making $1,000 and more each month with earnings from that building. These newspapers reports were based upon letters O'Leary had written to Bogan and others from the East Coast of the United States during this period. See also [8].

On March 10, 1922, Johnny O'Leary was shot dead on a Seattle street by E. Frank Leslie, a 29-year-old strike-breaking boiler-maker, who claimed self-defense.

  • Feb. 2, 1914 Tacoma Times article: [9]
  • A 1916 film of O'Leary fighting is possessed today (2013) by a Seattle-area boxing historian.
  • June 15, 1916 Seattle Star article: [10]

O'Leary's Texas Tommy Punch

O'Leary created the "Texas Tommy Punch" after watching boys and girls doing the popular Texas Tommy Dance in San Francisco. This dance was based upon a dancer twirling his partner about by the arm.

In early 1916, at Philadephia, O'Leary executed his "Texas Tommy Punch" three times in a row, to the amazement of all present. [11] A. W. Maxwell, sports editor of the Philadelphia Evening Ledger described it as the "cleverest ring trick" he had seen in years.

O'Leary's famous "Texas Tommy Punch" was executed as follows: When O'Leary clinched with an opponent, he did not wait to be parted by the referee. Instead, he would grasp his opponent by the back part of the arm nearest him, at a point above the elbow, and while stepping back he would turn his victim half-way around with force. As a result the opponent would be thrown off-balance. O'Leary then grasped the nearest arm again and this time he'd whirl the opponent completely around - whereupon, as the opponent was whirled face-to-face once again, O'Leary would flash a wallop to the jaw. Being able to hit effectively with either hand, O'Leary could spin his opponent in either direction.

The above "Texas Tommy Punch" description is from the Spokane Spokesman-Review newspaper, June 18, 1916.