Henry Armstrong – A Boxing Great

This week’s pro article is brought to by leading boxing historian Ralph Oates

Over the years boxing has produced a number of fighters who can be called great. American Henry Armstrong nick named Homicide Hank, is a fighter who clearly falls into that category.

Armstrong boxed his way to world title contention learning his trade by meeting opposition of various styles to further his ring education until his big moment arrived. That moment arrived when he challenged for the New York and National Boxing Association version of the world featherweight crown on the 29th October 1937 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Armstrong punched his way to the championship knocking out holder Petey Sarron in round six in a contest scheduled for fifteen. (At the time Armstrong was the holder of the Mexico and California version of the championship).

Armstrong went for world title number two when on the 31st May 1938 he entered the ring at Madison Square Garden Bowl Long Island City, Queens in New York to challenge Barney Ross for the welterweight crown. This looked like being a tough bout for Armstrong but After 15 rounds he was crowned the new champion when he was awarded the points decision.

On the 17th August 1938 Armstrong stepped down to lightweight to challenge that division’s world title-holder Lou Ambers at Madison Square Garden in New York. Once again Armstrong emerged victorious with a fifteen round point’s decision. On this occasion Armstrong made boxing history by becoming the first man to simultaneously hold three world titles. (Armstrong later gave up the featherweight crown.)

Armstrong fought for the last time on the 14th February 1945 at the Auditorium, Oakland in California losing a 10 round point’s decision to Chester Slider. In his prime Armstrong would have taken Slider to school giving him a boxing lesson but his better days were now far behind him. Armstrong later made the sensible decision to quit boxing and bowed out of the sport with a record of 182 fights of which he won 152 lost 21 and drew nine.

Henry Armstrong who passed away on the 23 October 1988 served boxing well and hence gave the fans many wonderful nights with his performances.