International Boxing Hall of Fame

Len Harvey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Len Harvey was born in Stoke Climsland, Cornwall. On the 11 July, 1907. A great tactician and defensive boxer who boxed at every weight division's of his day. He began boxing at the very young age of 12 and boxed to he was 36. He was British champion at three weights, middleweight, light-heavy and heavyweight, He also held British Empire championship at light-heavy and heavyweight as well as being recognized as world light-heavyweight champion in Britain from 1939-1942.

Len Harvey started out as a flyweight at 12. By the time he was 18 he was ready to fight for the British welterweight title. He was held to a draw though by Harry Mason on the 29 April 1926. his next British title shot came 2 years later on the 16 May 1929. This time at middleweight against Alex Ireland. Harvey knocked out his opponent in the seventh round to become British champ. He made six defenses between 1929 to 1933. He also fought the bold headed and hairy chested Marcel Thil of France for the world middleweight championship. But lost on points but it was a close decision.

In 10 April 1933, he defended his title against Jock McAvoy. This ended in defeat for Harvey but two months later he was in the ring again challenging Eddie Phillips and won on points to become British light heavyweight champion. On the 30 November that year he beat the then unbeaten Jack Petersen to become the British heavyweight champion. He then went on to beat Canada's Larry Gains to become empire champion. but lost both titles in a rematch with Petersen being stooped in the 12 round on cuts. Harvey then went on to fight for the world title on the 9th of November 1936 but was beaten on points by John Henry Lewis. He then regained the British heavyweight title by disqualification against old foe Eddie Phillips. In 1938 John Henry Lewis retired after developing eye problems, Harvey was then matched with another old foe Jock McAvoy for British recognition of the world championship at Harringay Arena. This time he won on points on the 10th July 1939.

During world war two Harvey joined the Royal Air Force. By this time he was a national sporting idol and was given an officer rank. During this time he was persuaded to defend his titles against Freddie Mills on 20th of June 1942. By this time Harvey was a veteran of over a hundred bouts and was 35. Sadly he was knocked out in two rounds the only 2nd time he was stopped and first by K.O. He retired after this bout he had an official record of 133 fights 111, wins, 9 draws,13 defeats. He claimed to have had 418 but they probably including booth fights. His three fights with Jock McAvoy was legendary where he won two and lost one, he later died in London on November 28, 1976. Such was his legend he was inducted in to the boxing hall of fame in 2008.