Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
Low graphics|Help
Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 08:18 GMT 09:18 UK
Hatton's heroes
By Ben Dirs

Ricky Hatton
Hatton will have a big British following in Boston

Manchester's Ricky Hatton hopes his fight against WBA welterweight champion Luis Collazo in Boston on Saturday will lead to him becoming a star in America.

Randy Turpin, John Conteh and Barry McGuigan have terrible memories of the place, Henry Cooper steered well clear and, once he had left as a young man, Chris Eubank had the good sense never to go back.

BBC Sport looks at seven British fighters who did become household names across the pond.


Freddie Welsh

Born Frederick Thomas in Pontypridd in 1886, Welsh went to America as a teenager, fell in love with boxing and turned pro in 1905.

He returned to Europe to win the British, European and British Empire lightweight titles and won the world title from Willie Ritchie in London in 1914.

He never fought outside North America again and became a legend of the ring in the United States, fighting many of their home-grown greats in a career spanning almost 17 years and 166 bouts.


Ted 'Kid' Lewis

Lewis, who was born Gershon Mendeloff in London's East End in 1894, turned professional in 1909 at the age of 14. By the time he pitched up in America in 1914, he had already had 143 fights.

He became a fixture in the big East Coast cities and in Boston in 1915 he won the welterweight world championship from Jack Britton, whom he fought 20 times in a six-year period.

He lost, regained and lost his title again to Britton and even challenged France's Georges Carpentier for the world light heavyweight title in 1922, only to be stopped in the first round.


Jimmy Wilde

Wilde, who learnt his craft as a boy fighting men in boxing booths in Tylorstown, Wales, is regarded by many as the greatest boxer of all time.

Never weighing more than eight stone, Wilde was officially recognised as the world flyweight champion when he beat America's Young Zulu Kid in London in 1916.

Wilde toured North America in 1919, cramming in 11 bouts in six months, and despite losing his world title to Filipino Pancho Villa in New York in 1923, he has never been forgotten in those parts.


Jack 'Kid' Berg

Born Judah Bergman in London's East End, Berg turned pro aged 14 in 1924 and had his first fight in America in 1928.

He won the light welterweight world title from California's Mushy Callahan in London in 1930 but returned to the States to make six title defences before losing it to the great Tony Canzoneri in Chicago in 1931.

He lost a rematch to Canzoneri five months later but fought many more times in America, becoming a hero to many New Yorkers, and only ended his career in 1945 after 192 paid encounters.


Ken Buchanan

When Buchanan beat WBA lightweight champion Ismael Laguna in Puerto Rico in 1970, British officials refused to recognise their man as world champion and banned him from fighting in the UK.

America, however, did appreciate him. He was voted fighter of the year by America's boxing writers and when Buchanan beat Ruben Navarro in Los Angeles in 1971, he was widely recognised as the world lightweight champion.

He topped the bill at New York's Madison Square Garden on five occasions, including his infamous fight with Roberto Duran in 1972, when he lost his title to a low blow and an incompetent referee.


Lennox Lewis

America never really took to Lewis, largely because they resented a foreigner being in charge of the heavyweight division for so long.

But his greatest achievements took place in the States - his first world title win against Tony Tucker in Atlantic City in 1993, his win over Evander Holyfield in Vegas in 1999, his destruction of Mike Tyson in Memphis in 2002.

And while some Americans still deride Lewis for being dull, most are coming round to the idea that the greatest heavyweight of the last 20 years was an Englishman.


Naseem Hamed

No British fighter has been more hyped in the States than Hamed, who arrived at Madison Square Garden on a flying carpet in 1997 before climbing off the floor three times to knock out Kevin Kelley.

Hamed also beat Belfast's Wayne McCullough, WBC title-holder Cesar Soto and Augie Sanchez State-side before running into the great Mexican Marco Antonio Barrera.

Barrera took Hamed apart in Las Vegas and although the Sheffield fighter only fought once more after returning to England, American fight fans will certainly never forget him.

Hatton hands back his WBA title
04 May 06 |  Boxing
Hatton urges fans to be patient
03 May 06 |  Boxing
Hatton gives back his IBF title
14 Apr 06 |  Boxing

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

E-mail services | Sport on mobiles/PDAs


Back to top

Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

BBC Sport Academy >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
About the BBC | News sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy | Contact us
banner watch listen bbc sport