International Boxing Hall of Fame
"The Maitland Wonder"
|Real name||James Leslie Darcy|
|Nickname(s)||The Maitland Wonder|
|Birth date||31 October 1895|
|Birth place||Maitland, New South Wales, Australia|
|Death date||24 May 1917|
|Death place||United States of America|
|Wins by KO||29|
Born in the Maitland District in New South Wales, Les Darcy is widely considered to be the best boxer ever from Australia. Considered one of the greatest middleweights of all-time, Darcy proved his mettle in his native Australia. He started boxing as an amateur at age fifteen and quickly turned professional. He won his first sixteen fights before challenging the veteran Bob Whitelaw for the Australian welterweight title. Darcy lost the twenty-round decision but, in a rematch, knocked Whitelaw out in five.
Darcy graduated from regional bouts to fighting in Sydney Stadium, and promoters began to import talent to challenge him. He lost his first two fights in Sydney, one by decision and one by foul, to American Fritz Holland. The next year Darcy faced another American, Jeff Smith, in what was considered a contest for the Australian world middleweight title. When Darcy complained of a low blow at the end of the fifth round, the referee believed that Darcy did not want to continue and awarded the decision to Smith. In a rematch, Darcy was awarded the victory when Smith punched him in the groin.
As Australian world middleweight champ, Darcy defeated such top-flight visiting Americans as Eddie McGoorty, Billy Murray, Jimmy Clabby, George Chip, George "KO" Brown, and Buck Crouse, as well as knocking out Smith and Holland in rematches.Darcy's opponents are said to have admired his courage, stamina, and punching power. In 1916, Darcy KO'd Harold Hardwick to capture the Australian heavyweight title.
Les had the misfortune to become embroiled in the politics of conscription during the First World War, and left Australia for America to avoid the aggravation. There he collapsed on April 27. He was admitted to hospital with septicaemia and endocarditis; his tonsils were removed but he developed pneumonia and died on May 24.
-Death was caused by a streptococcus infection.
-Most of his earnings were plowed back into his family farm.
-It was his mother who twice refused him permission to fight in World War I.
-After his death, his embalmed body was returned to Australia where an estimated half-million people paid their respects.
-Les Darcy is widely considered to be the best boxer ever from Australia. His only competition is Dave Sands, "The Big Guy". They were both middleweights and both held the heavyweight title as well. They also both died at an early age; Darcy of complication from an infected tooth received from an injury in a fight against Australian heavyweight and Harold Hardwick, and Sands from a car accident.