Al Van Ryan

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Name: Al Van Ryan
Alias: The Saint Paul Cowboy
Birth Name: Albert C. Van Ryn
Hometown: Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA
Birthplace: Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA
Died: 1974-06-18 (Age:75)
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 174cm
Pro Boxer: Record

Managers: Johnny Salvator, Jack Hurley
Trainers: Salvator, Hurley

Al Van Ryn (pronounced Van Ryan), "The St. Paul Cowboy," worked at the South St. Paul Stockyards by day, rounding up cattle when he wasn't fighting. He was managed early in his career by St. Paul manager/trainer/promoter Johnny Salvator, as well as Jack Hurley, and then later by just Hurley, after a nasty split with Salvator.

At nearly 5' 9" tall, Van Ryn usually held a reach advantage over his foes, but didn't develop the kind of boxing skills needed to utilize that advantage until much later in his career. Van Ryn was a crude, rugged kind of fighter in the early years, whose stamina and heart won him fights more than anything. It wasn't until around late 1922, when Jack Hurley began exclusively handling his training, that Van Ryn showed marked improvement. Working out avidly with Hall of Famer Billy Petrolle didn't hurt either.

By 1923, Al Van Ryn was a different fighter. He was still a rugged guy who was perhaps the dirtiest little scrapper in the land at the time (once even punching a referee because he felt the ref was favoring his opponent), but his left hook had become his best weapon, and, combined with his heavy body attacks, made him one of the more avoided fighters of the time. He was known for pulling the upset.

His victories over Russie LeRoy, Battling Krause, and Bermondsey Billy Wells propelled him to the top rung of ranked welterweights for a brief time. And his long-standing feuds with fellow in-state rivals Dago Joe Gans, Billy Light, Buddy McDonald, and especially My Sullivan, made for Minnesota classics.

Later in life, Van Ryn moved from St. Paul to the small town of Lamberton, and later to Tracy, MN ,where he worked as a sales manager for the Central Livestock Company. In the late 1960s his health began to deteriorate, as the effects of a long and tough ring career began to surface with Dementia Pugilistica, eventually taking his life in June of 1974.

Like many of the fighters from his era, a great many of his fights continue to be discovered and updated to his official record (linked above).