Jimmy Ellis

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Jimmy Ellis.jpg
World Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee

Name: Jimmy Ellis
Birth Name: James Albert Ellis
Born: 1940-02-24
Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Died: 2014-05-06 (Age:74)
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 6′ 1″   /   185cm
Reach: 76″   /   193cm
Boxing Record: click

Trainers: Angelo Dundee, Bud Bruner

Jimmy Ellis Gallery

Career Review

  • Won 59 of 66 amateur bouts, including a win against Cassius Clay.
  • At the 1960 Olympic Trials in San Francisco, Ellis lost to Wilbert McClure. McClure went on to win the gold medal in the light middleweight division.
  • Lost to Leotis Martin in the middleweight final of the Chicago Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions in 1960. He represented Chicago at the Intercity Golden Gloves Tournament and won a title at middleweight vs. Ossie Marcano.
  • In 1961, Ellis outpointed Leotis Martin to win the middleweight title at the Chicago Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions. At the Intercity Golden Gloves Tournament, he was outpointed by Johnny Persol.
  • Received The Ring magazine Progress of the Year Award in 1967.
  • In 1968, Ellis took part in an eight-man tournament for the vacant WBA Heavyweight title. He defeated Leotis Martin, Oscar Bonavena, and Jerry Quarry to win the vacant title.
  • Stopped by Joe Frazier in a fight to unify the World Heavyweight Championship in 1970.
  • Stopped in the 12th round by fellow Louisville native Muhammad Ali in 1971.
  • Partially blinded when a sparring partner accidentally poked him in his left eye in 1975. The injury ended his career.
  • Ellis was one of the coaches of the Santa Monica, California based "Muhammad Ali Boxing Club" in 1979 and 1980. It was one of the most prestigious coaching positions in amateur boxing.

Personal Life

  • Ellis and his wife Mary Etta were married on December 25, 1958 and they had six children: Jamesetta, James Jr., Inez Elaine, Mary, Sonya, and Jeffrey.
  • He and his wife sang with a group called the "Spiritual Singers Choir" at Riverview Baptist Church in Louisville.
  • Both Ellis and Ali attended Central High School in Louisville. Ali graduated, but Ellis dropped out in the 12th grade.
  • Now suffers from dementia pugilistica.


  • The Ring, November 1967, pages 20-21: "How Far Can Ellis Last In Heavyweight Eliminations?" by Hank Kaplan.
  • The Courier-Journal, May 4, 2007

Preceded by:
John Martin
Intercity Golden Gloves
Middleweight Title

Succeeded by:
Leotis Martin
Preceded by:
Leotis Martin
Chicago Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions
Middleweight Champion

Succeeded by:
Tournament ends

Preceded by:
Muhammad Ali
WBA Heavyweight Champion
1968 Apr 27 – 1970 Feb 16
Succeeded by:
Joe Frazier