Les Darcy

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Class of 1993
Old Timer Category
Hall of Fame bio:click
World Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee

Name: Les Darcy
Alias: The Maitland Wonder
Birth Name: James Leslie Darcy
Born: 1895-10-31
Birthplace: Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia
Died: 1917-05-24 (Age:21)
Hometown:
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 5′ 6″   /   168cm
Reach: 71″   /   180cm
Boxing Record: click

Managers: Fred Gilmore, E.T. O'Sullivan
Photo #2

James Leslie Darcy (Les) has been called Australia's "Golden Boy" of boxing. His career was short-lived (he died before his 22nd birthday), but of a total of 44 professional fights he won 40, taking 20 of them by knock-out.

Born near Maitland, New South Wales, he was keen on boxing from his early boyhood and participated in local amateur events. His first fight as a professional was at West Maitland in 1911 when he was 16. He was soon noticed by Reginald "Snowy" Baker, well-known sportsman and promoter, who brought him to the Sydney Stadium for the first time in 1914.

Darcy was matched on this occasion against American Eddie McGoorty. whom he succeeded in knocking out in the eighth round. Encouraged by this win and the good reputation it earned for the young boxer, Baker arranged a series of contests for him during the next year, publicising them as being for the world middleweight title.

In spite of victories against all his opponents, who included several other top-ranking Americans. Darcy was prevented by professional controversy at the time from claiming the title and his extraordinary success was recognised only within his own country. But Darcy claimed the World Middleweight Title during his career, and was recognized as World Champion in Australia.

In 1916 he enlisted for active service in World War I, but protestations from his mother that he had not yet reached his 21st birthday, and was therefore a minor, secured his discharge. Determined to get overseas but being denied a passport, Darcy stowed away on a ship bound for the USA and eventually arrived in New York to be given a champion's welcome.

However, certain sections of the Press vilified him as a deserter from military service and he was banned from the boxing ring. Subsequently the charge was withdrawn and the ban lifted, but he was then unable to arrange any contests. Applying for naturalisation as a US citizen, he joined the United States Flying Corps only to contract pneumonia, from which he died in hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, on 24 May 1917.

He was inducted into the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame in 2003.

Reference sources