Billy Backus

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Billy Backus
Billy backus.jpg

Name: Billy Backus
Birth Name: Howard William Backus
Born: 1943-03-05
Birthplace: Canastota, New York, USA
Hometown: Canastota, New York, USA
Stance: Southpaw
Height: 5′ 7″   /   170cm
Reach: 69″   /   175cm
Boxing Record: click

Manager: Tony Graziano

Career Highlights

  • Retired in 1965, after compiling a mediocre record of 8-7-3.
  • Won the World Welterweight Title on December 3, 1970, when he stopped Jose Napoles on cuts in four rounds.
  • Lost the World Welterweight Title on June 4, 1971 to Napoles in his first defense.
  • Had two unsuccessful attempts at the New York State recognized World Welterweight Title in bouts with Hedgemon Lewis.
  • Was stopped in two rounds on May 20, 1978 in a bid for Pipino Cuevas's WBA Welterweight Title.


Billy Backus is one of two world titleholders from Canastota. As an amateur, Billy won an Adirondack AAU tournament and a Niagara Golden Gloves title as a featherweight. Phase one of his professional career included eight wins, seven defeats and three draws between 1962 and 1965. He came out of a short retirement during which he trained and got himself into ironman shape and resumed boxing under the tutelage of Tony Graziano, a former manager of Carmen Basilio. His first fight was a first round knockout of Todd Purtell. He won 14 of his next 15 bouts, losing only to Percy Pugh, whom he later defeated twice.

In 1970, Billy Backus was one of Syracuse's most popular fighters, and he was a top-ten ranked welterweight. His first title fight was against Jose Napoles, supposedly an easy breather for the champ. But Billy came on like a freight train, opened a deep cut above the champion's eye and earned a TKO to become the new Welterweight Champion of the World.

He fought a couple non-title bouts, and then lost his title to Napoles on June 4, 1971. After seven more years, Billy finally hung up his gloves for good. His lifetime professional record was 48 wins, 20 losses, 5 draws and 26 knockouts.

Billy is the nephew of welterweight/middleweight boxing champion Carmen Basilio.

Billy currently lives in Canastota and is a Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Athletic Commission.


Preceded by:
Jose Napoles
WBA Welterweight Champion
WBC Welterweight Champion

1970 Dec 3 – 1971 Jun 4
Succeeded by:
Jose Napoles