International Boxing Hall of Fame

Johnny Kilbane

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Johnny Kilbane
Real name John Patrick Kilbane
Nickname(s) Johnny
Rated at Featherweight
Nationality United States Of America
Birth date April 9, 1889(1889-04-09)
Birth place Cleveland, Ohio
Death date May 31, 1957
Death place Cleveland, Ohio
Boxing record
Total fights 62 + 78 ND
Wins 51
Wins by KO 25
Losses 4
Draws 7
No contests 2

John "Johnny" Patrick Kilbane (born April 9, 1889 in Cleveland, Ohio � died there May 31, 1957) was a featherweight boxer in the early part of the 20th century. He held the featherweight title from 1912 to 1923, the longest period in the division's history, and the second longest world title holder in boxing history, behind only Joe Louis. He took the featherweight title from Abe Atell and lost it to Eugene Criqui. (The high number of no decisions in his career reflects early boxing rules in many states in the U.S. that dictated "no decision"--ND-- unless a fight ended by knockout.) Following his boxing career, Kilbane refereed boxing matches, operated a gym, served in the Ohio State Legislature, and worked as the Clerk of the Cleveland Municipal Court. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1995.

Kilbane was such a popular prizefighter in his day that there is at least one instance of his name actually being used as a verb. An unsigned commentary in the sports pages of the New York Times on May 16, 1912, reported on an infamous episode involving Detroit baseball player Ty Cobb in a game the day before between the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees. In the fourth inning of the game, Cobb went into the stands and attacked a heckler. The commentary said, "Ty Cobb johnny kilbaned a spectator right on the place where he talks... and stopped the flow of profane and vulgar words..."