Harry Wills

Harry Wills (May 15, 1889 – December 21, 1958) was a heavyweight boxer who three times held the World Colored Heavyweight Championship.wikipedia
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Jack Johnson (boxer)

Jack JohnsonJohnsonFight of the Century
Of all the black contenders between the heavyweight championship reigns of Jack Johnson and Joe Louis, Wills came closest to securing a title shot.
Only Harry Wills at 3,103 days and Peter Jackson at 3,041 days held the title longer.

World Colored Heavyweight Championship

World Colored Heavyweight ChampionWorld Colored Heavyweight Champcolored heavyweight champ
Harry Wills (May 15, 1889 – December 21, 1958) was a heavyweight boxer who three times held the World Colored Heavyweight Championship.
He denied matches to black heavyweights Joe Jeanette (his successor as colored heavyweight champ) and Sam Langford (who beat Jeanette for the colored title) and the young Harry Wills (who was colored heavyweight champ during the last year of Johnson's reign as world's heavyweight champ).

Jack Sharkey

Wills faced future heavyweight champion Jack Sharkey in 1926, and was being decisively beaten when he was disqualified. (He was forced to vacate his third title when he fought Jack Sharkey in 1926 and was lost the bout due to a disqualification.) Wills also defeated colored heavyweight champ Sam McVey three times and fought two No Decision bouts with Joe Jeanette.
He won an important fight in 1926 over black heavyweight contender Harry Wills, but his first big year was 1927, when he defeated former light heavyweight champ Mike McTigue in twelve rounds and Boston rival Jim Maloney in five.

Gunboat Smith

Ed "Gunboat" SmithEdward "Gunboat" SmithGunboat'' Smith
He defeated Willie Meehan, who had decisioned Jack Dempsey, Gunboat Smith and Charley Weinart.
In 1920 and 1921, Smith suffered a string of KO losses and retired after suffering a one-round knockout to the great heavyweight contender Harry Wills.

Jack Dempsey

DempseyWilliam Harrison "Jack" DempseyDempsey roll
He defeated Willie Meehan, who had decisioned Jack Dempsey, Gunboat Smith and Charley Weinart.
There was pressure from the public and the media for Dempsey to defend his title against Black contender Harry Wills.

Sam Langford

Sam Langford, the colored American fighting machine
As a result, Wills fought the redoubtable Sam Langford 22 times.
Langford's most memorable fights were his numerous encounters against fellow black boxers Sam McVey, Battling Jim Johnson, Joe Jeanette and Harry Wills, who all experienced similar barriers in their fighting careers.

Luis Ángel Firpo

Luis FirpoLuis Angel FirpoFirpo
He also fought Luis Firpo in a match that ended in No Decision.
In 1924, Firpo won his first three fights by knockout, but then lost his last two by decision, the last to legendary challenger Harry Wills.

Sam McVey

Sam McVea
(He was forced to vacate his third title when he fought Jack Sharkey in 1926 and was lost the bout due to a disqualification.) Wills also defeated colored heavyweight champ Sam McVey three times and fought two No Decision bouts with Joe Jeanette.
McVey ranked alongside Jack Johnson, Joe Jeanette, Sam Langford, and Harry Wills as the top black heavyweights of their generation.

Paulino Uzcudun

Paolino UzcudunUzcudun
The next year, Wills was knocked out by heavyweight contender Paolino Uzcudun in a bout that signalled the end of his reign as a serious title contender.
Uzcudun also "retired" the famed Harry Wills, when he stopped him in four rounds on July 13, 1927.

James Farley

James A. FarleyJim FarleyFarley's Follies
Wills twice attempted to sue Dempsey for breach of contract over the canceled bout, which had also been barred in New York State by Athletic Commissioner James Farley, an early champion of African-American equal rights.
In 1926, Farley threatened to resign his post as Athletic Commissioner if boxing champion Jack Dempsey did not fight the mandatory challenger, African-American fighter Harry Wills.

Joe Louis

LouisAmerican heavyweight boxing championBrown Bomber
Of all the black contenders between the heavyweight championship reigns of Jack Johnson and Joe Louis, Wills came closest to securing a title shot.

The Ring (magazine)

The RingRing MagazineThe Ring'' magazine
In 2003, he was named to the Ring Magazine's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time.

Joe Jeanette

Joe Jeannette
(He was forced to vacate his third title when he fought Jack Sharkey in 1926 and was lost the bout due to a disqualification.) Wills also defeated colored heavyweight champ Sam McVey three times and fought two No Decision bouts with Joe Jeanette.

Breach of contract

breachbreachedbreach-of-contract
Wills twice attempted to sue Dempsey for breach of contract over the canceled bout, which had also been barred in New York State by Athletic Commissioner James Farley, an early champion of African-American equal rights.

The Johnson–Jeffries Fight

The Johnson-Jeffries FightJeffries-Johnson World's Championship Boxing Contest
A deadly race riot in the wake of The Johnson-Jeffries Fight (film depiction) also created reluctance to promote the match.

Harlem

Harlem, New YorkHarlem, New York CityHarlem, NY
Wills retired from boxing in 1932, and ran a successful real estate business in Harlem, New York.

New York (state)

New YorkNew York StateNY
Wills retired from boxing in 1932, and ran a successful real estate business in Harlem, New York.

Heavyweight

heavyweight boxerheavyweight boxingheavyweight division

World Colored Welterweight Championship

World Colored Welterweightcolored welterweight champWorld Colored Welterweight title
On 26 July 1936, Herbert Lewis Hardwick ("The Cocoa Kid") met Young Peter Jackson at Heinemann Park in New Orleans, Louisiana in a 10-round title bout referred by Harry Wills, the former three-time World Colored Heavyweight Champ.

Jim Johnson (boxer)

Battling Jim JohnsonJim JohnsonBattling" Jim Johnson
He had little success and lost with great frequency to top boxers such as Sam Langford, Joe Jeanette, Sam McVey, Harry Wills and Kid Norfolk.