Willie Ritchie

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Ritchie.Willie.1921.jpg
Class of 2004
Old Timer Category
Hall of Fame bio:click
World Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee

Name: Willie Ritchie
Birth Name: Gerhardt Anthony Steffen
Born: 1891-02-13
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, USA
Died: 1975-03-24 (Age:84)
Hometown: San Francisco, California, USA
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 5′ 7½″   /   171cm
Reach: 67″   /   170cm
Boxing Record: click

Manager: Billy Nolan
Trainer: Jack Grace
Willie Ritchie Gallery


Willie Ritchie (Geary Steffen) was born at Fifth and Clara Streets in San Francisco. He was the fourth of eleven children. He became an expert chauffeur before becoming a professional boxer. In a bout shortly after the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, he substituted for a boxer named Willie Richardson, but the announcer got the name wrong. Steffen won, the "Willie Ritchie" name seemed lucky, to Steffen retained it from then on.

Ritchie had made some $80,000 in 18 months, per the March 28, 1914 Seattle Star [1]. He was a boxing instructor at Camp Lewis (near Tacoma, Washington) during World War I [2][3]. By 1925, he was managing an auto tire business. He also promoted boxing shows at California's Monarch A.C. in the late 1920s.

Ritchie was involved with the California State Athletic Commission during the 1930s through his retirement as its Chief Inspector on Feb. 28, 1961. (His son partnered with the famous Norwegian ice-skater Sonja Henie [4] in 1943 for a series of performances on ice; he later married actress Jane Powell before they divorced in 1953.)

Willie Ritchie died in Burlingame, California.

  • Training Regimen: [5]
  • 22 Oct 1913 article re: Ritchie changing lightweight limit from 133 to 135 lbs: [6]
  • 29 November 1912 bio: [7]
  • See also, Ritchie's 1913 series of articles exclusive to the San Francisco Call; e.g., [8][9]
  • 27 Nov 1916 Morning Oregonian [10]
  • Other articles of interest: [11]