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Benjamin Lynch (2 April 1913 – 6 August 1946) was a Scottish professional boxer who fought in the flyweight division. He is considered by some to be one of the finest boxers below the lightweight division in his era and has been described as the greatest fighter Scotland ever produced. The Ring Magazine founder Nat Fleischer rated Lynch as the No. 5 flyweight of all-time while his publication placed him 63rd in its 2002 list of the "Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years".[1][2] Like Fleischer, both Statistical boxing website BoxRec and the International Boxing Research Organization also rank Lynch as the 5th greatest flyweight ever.[3][4] He was elected to the Ring Magazine hall of fame in 1986 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1998.[1]

Benny Lynch
Benny Lynch.JPG
Statistics
Real nameBenjamin Lynch
Weight(s)Flyweight
Height5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)
Reach65 in (165 cm)
NationalityScottish
Born(1913-04-02)2 April 1913
Gorbals, Glasgow, Scotland
Died6 August 1946(1946-08-06) (aged 33)
Govan, Scotland
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights119
Wins88
Wins by KO34
Losses14
Draws17

Contents

Life and careerEdit

He was born in a tenement flat at 17 Florence Street,[5] in the Gorbals area of Glasgow, and learned his fighting skills in the carnival booths that were popular in the West of Scotland during the Great Depression.

Early professional fightsEdit

Lynch made his professional debut in April 1931 with a second round stoppage of Young Bryce. His professional career started inauspiciously, winning only 8 of his first 15 fights. His first significant victory came in June 1932, when he beat the experienced Jock Joe Aitken on points.

In March 1933 he began an unbeaten run that would last three years. He beat Bert Kirby on points in October 1933,[6] and in January 1934 beat Jim Brady in an eliminator for the Scottish Area flyweight title,[7] beating Jim Campbell in May to take the title. He successfully defended the title against Campbell a month later.[8] Lynch rounded off the year with further wins over opponents including Maurice Huguenin, Jim Brady, Valentin Angelmann,[9] and Pedro Ruiz.[10]

British and European flyweight championEdit

Lynch won the British, European and world flyweight titles from Jackie Brown in an historic bout held in Manchester on 9 September 1935, the two having fought a draw six months earlier.[11][12] The fight attracted enormous support from Glaswegians who travelled en masse to watch Lynch floor his opponent eight times before the bout was stopped in the second round.[13]

In his next three fights he beat Gaston Maton (but had to pay a forfeit after failing to make the weight),[14] Harry Orton,[15] and Phil Milligan,[16] before suffering his first defeat in three years when he lost on points to Jimmy Warnock in Belfast in March 1936.[17]

In September 1936 he successfully defended his British and European titles against Pat Palmer, stopping the Londoner in the eighth round.[18]

In November 1936, Lynch was sued for £2,000 by his former manager Samuel Wilson, for alleged breach of contract; Lynch counter-sued, alleging that Wilson had not carried out his duties properly.[19]

World flyweight championEdit

There was dispute, on at least on one side of the Atlantic, as to who was the genuine world flyweight champion.[20] Lynch, recognised as champion in Britain, settled the matter when he out-pointed American-recognised champion Filipino Small Montana in London in January 1937 to establish himself as the undisputed world flyweight boxing champion.[21][22]

In his next fight he beat Spanish flyweight champion Fortunato Ortega on points.[23] In March he was disqualified against Len Hampston when his second entered the ring.[24] The two met again three weeks later, with Lynch winning via a tenth round stoppage. In June he was again beaten by Warnock in a fight for which he failed to make the weight.[25]

In October 1937 he handed Peter Kane his first loss by knockout in a defence of his British and world titles.[26][27] One of his training sessions before the fight had attracted 10,000 spectators.[28] Towards the end of the month he was knocked unconscious in a car crash.[29] Two months later he stopped Georges Bataille in the eighth round at the Granby Halls in Leicester.

Lynch and Kane met again in March 1938, fighting a draw, with Lynch again failing to make the weight and paying a forfeit.[30][31]

Lynch was arrested later that month and charged with driving offences after crashing his car while drunk and hitting a telegraph pole and a pram containing a 12-week old baby, and failing to stop after the accident.[32][33] His trial was delayed until after his world title fight with American Jackie Jurich.[33] He forfeited his world flyweight title against Jurich, when he weighed in at 118.5 lb (53.8 kg), half a pound over the bantamweight limit. Lynch stopped Jurich in the 12th round, but lost the title.[34] At his trial in July, he was fined £20 and disqualified from driving for a year.[35]

Decline and deathEdit

In July 1938 he was fined £200 by the BBBofC and stripped of his British and European titles; Lynch appealed against the decision.[36] In September his boxing licence was suspended for a breach of training regulations.[37] He did, however, face K.O. Morgan at bantamweight later that month at Shawfield Park, losing on points despite being once again over the agreed weight and over 7lbs heavier than his opponent.[38]

In October 1938, after his weight increased again and he suffered a third round knockout at the hands of Aurel Toma, he was offered 'three months holiday' and received several weeks treatment at a sanatorium in Kent, arranged by the National Sporting Club in an attempt to return him to fitness.[39][40] In December he left for Ireland to spend a fortnight in a monastery near Waterford.[41]

In January 1939 he went missing during a training camp in Stirlingshire; He was found after being lost on the hills for over six hours, half a mile from his training base, wearing just pyjamas, a dressing gown, and slippers, and suffering from hypothermia.[42]

In February 1939 he was arrested and charged with assault.[43] In March he was found guilty of assaulting his estranged wife, his 11-year-old sister-in-law, and three police officers, with a further charge of assaulting his 18-month old son by attempting to gas him deemed not proven, and was fined £20, with an alternative sentence of 60 days in prison.[44][45] In June he was the subject of court action by the Inland Revenue.[46]

He was due to fight Dudley Lewis on 27 February 1939 but was prohibited from doing so by the BBBofC.[47]

On 21 August 1939, the Boxing Board refused his application for the restoration of his boxing licence, stating that "he is at present not fit to carry on a career as a professional boxer".[48]

In April 1940 he was fined 30 shillings after being found drunk in Glasgow Road, Ralston.[49] In October 1942 he was charged with offences against a 7-year old girl in a Glasgow cinema, and was subsequently found guilty of assaulting two girls aged 7 and 10.[50][51]

He would continue to battle with alcoholism for the rest of his life despite several attempts to treat the disease. Lynch died in 1946 of malnutrition induced respiratory failure, aged 33. He was buried at St. Kentigern's Cemetery, Glasgow, with some 2000 people attending the funeral.[52]

LegacyEdit

Lynch's life was the subject of Bill Bryden's 1974 stage play Benny Lynch,[53] with a book of the play published in 1975, and a television adaptation made in 1976.[54] A second play based on Lynch's life, written by Peter Arnett, was first performed in 1985.[55]

He was featured on the cover of Scottish rock band Gun's second album, Gallus, in 1992. A documentary about the life of Benny Lynch, directed by John Mackenzie and narrated by Robert Carlyle, was made in 2003.[56] Another documentary film about Lynch, Benny, directed by Andrew Gallimore, was first shown in 2017.[57][58]

The Benny Lynch Story, a stage play written by David Carswell and directed by David Hayman Jr, with Stephen Purdon playing the boxing champion, toured Scotland in May and June 2019.[59]

Notable boutsEdit

Result Opponent Type Rd., Time Date Location Notes[60]
Loss   Aurel Toma KO 3 (10) 1938-10-03   National Sporting Club, Kensington, London
Win   Jackie Jurich KO 12 (15) 1938-06-29   St Mirren Football Ground, Paisley
Draw   Peter Kane PTS 12 1938-03-24   Anfield Stadium, Liverpool Retained World Flyweight Title.
Win   Peter Kane KO 13 (15) 1937-10-13   Shawfield Park, Glasgow Retained World Flyweight Title.
Loss   Jimmy Warnock PTS 15 1937-06-02   Celtic Park Stadium, Glasgow
Win   Small Montana PTS 15 1937-09-08   Empire Pool, Wembley, London Won World Flyweight Title.
Loss   Jimmy Warnock PTS 12 1936-03-11   King's Hall, Belfast
Win   Jackie Brown RTD 2 (15) 1935-09-09   Kings Hall, Manchester, Lancashire
Draw   Jackie Brown PTS 12 1935-03-04   Kelvin Hall, Glasgow
Win   Bert Kirby PTS 12 1933-10-29   Palais de Danse, West Bromwich, West Midlands

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Cyber Boxing Encyclopedia – Benny Lynch CyberBoxingZone.com
  2. ^ The 80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years. BoxRec.com. Retrieved on 11 April 2014.
  3. ^ All-Time Flyweight Rankings. BoxRec.com. Retrieved on 11 April 2014.
  4. ^ All-Time Flyweight Rankings IBROresearch.com Retrieved on 29 April 2014
  5. ^ "Boxing legend of Glasgow's Benny Lynch (From Evening Times)". Eveningtimes.co.uk. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  6. ^ "-". Sports Argus. 2 July 1938. Retrieved 15 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  7. ^ "Benny Lynch Outpoints Jim Brady". Edinburgh Evening News. 31 January 1934. Retrieved 15 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  8. ^ "Brilliant Benny Lynch". Dundee Courier. 28 June 1934. Retrieved 15 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  9. ^ "At Glasgow...". Illustrated Police News. 4 October 1934. Retrieved 15 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  10. ^ "Benny Lynch...". Illustrated Police News. 15 November 1934. Retrieved 15 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  11. ^ "Benny Lynch Wins In Second Round". Sheffield Independent. 10 September 1935. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  12. ^ Friedrich Unterharnscheidt; Julia Taylor-Unterharnscheidt (14 October 2003). Boxing: medical aspects. Academic Press. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-12-709130-3. Retrieved 22 December 2011.
  13. ^ "SecondsOut Boxing News – Fighter Bios – Benny Lynch – Former world flyweight champion". SecondsOut.com. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  14. ^ "Benny Lynch Beats Gaston Maton". Sheffield Independent. 4 December 1935. Retrieved 15 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  15. ^ "Benny Lynch Beats Orton". Illustrated Police News. 19 December 1935. Retrieved 15 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  16. ^ "Benny Lynch Beats Phil Milligan". The Northern Whig. 20 December 1935. Retrieved 15 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  17. ^ "Benny Lynch Outpointed". Hull Daily Mail. 12 March 1936. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  18. ^ "Answer to Correspondent". Dundee Courier. 4 September 1937. Retrieved 15 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  19. ^ "Benny Lynch Sued". Belfast News-Letter. 27 November 1936. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  20. ^ "U.S.A Rankings: Benny Lynch Only a Challenger". The Scotsman. 26 September 1936. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  21. ^ "Benny Lynch Champion: Points Victory Over Gallant Montana". Coventry Evening Telegraph. 20 January 1937. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  22. ^ "Benny Lynch Retains World Fly-Weight Boxing Title". The Scotsman. 20 January 1937. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  23. ^ "Lynch's Victory: Mixed Reception for Decision Over Ortega". Belfast News-Letter. 11 February 1937. Retrieved 15 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  24. ^ "Benny Lynch Beaten: Disqualification After Taking Eight Counts". The Scotsman. 2 March 1937. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  25. ^ "Benny Lynch Overweight for Fight To-night". Portsmouth Evening News. 2 June 1937. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  26. ^ "Peter Kane's Challenge". Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News. 8 October 1937. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  27. ^ "A Sporting Nation – Benny Lynch crowned world champion 1935". BBC. 12 April 1913. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  28. ^ "10,000 Watch Benny Lynch: Sunday Trek to Campsie Glen". Dundee Courier. 11 October 1937. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  29. ^ "Benny Lynch Gets "Knock Out" in Car Crash". Belfast News-Letter. 30 October 1937. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  30. ^ "Stop Press: Benny Lynch and Peter Kane in Drawn Contest". Exeter and Plymouth Gazette. 25 March 1938. Retrieved 15 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  31. ^ "Lynch Forfeits £100". Coventry Evening Telegraph. 24 March 1938. Retrieved 15 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  32. ^ "Benny Lynch Arrested: Alleged Contravention of Road Traffic Act". The Scotsman. 8 June 1938. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  33. ^ a b "Charge Against Benny Lynch: Driving Allegation". Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail. 8 June 1938. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  34. ^ "The Sorrow and the Pity: Benny Lynch". Boxing.com. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  35. ^ "Benny Lynch Fined £20". Coventry Evening Telegraph. 5 July 1938. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  36. ^ "Lynch to Appeal Against Board's Decisions". The Scotsman. 27 July 1938. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  37. ^ "Benny Lynch Suspended". Coventry Evening Telegraph. 7 September 1938. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  38. ^ "Benny Lynch Outpointed". The Cornishman. 29 September 1938. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  39. ^ "Benny Lynch". The Scotsman. 14 October 1938. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  40. ^ "Benny Lynch Agrees: N.S.C. Offer Three Months' Holiday". Nottingham Journal. 5 October 1938. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  41. ^ "Benny Lynch Leaves for Ireland". The Scotsman. 6 December 1938. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  42. ^ "Boxer's Ordeal: Benny Lynch Lost on Hills for Six Hours". The Scotsman. 25 January 1939. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  43. ^ "Benny Lynch Arrested: Assault Allegation". The Scotsman. 20 February 1939. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  44. ^ "Benny Lynch: Boxer Fined for Assault". The Scotsman. 7 March 1939. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  45. ^ "Benny Lynch Fined £20: Wife's Allegations of Assault". Staffordshire Sentinel. 6 March 1939. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  46. ^ "Action Against Benny Lynch". Daily Record and Mail. 21 June 1939. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  47. ^ "Fight "Ban" Surprises Lynch". The Scotsman. 24 February 1939. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  48. ^ "Boxing Board and Benny Lynch". Nottingham Evening Post. 22 August 1939. Retrieved 15 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  49. ^ "Benny Lynch Fined". Liverpool Echo. 27 April 1940. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  50. ^ "Benny Lynch Charged". Liverpool Echo. 19 October 1942. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  51. ^ "Benny Lynch Fined: Incident With Girls in Cinema". Liverpool Echo. 21 October 1942. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  52. ^ "Boxing legend of Glasgow's Benny Lynch". Evening Times. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  53. ^ Cannon, Bruce (7 March 1974). "Success and Tragedy of Benny Lynch". The Stage. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  54. ^ "Granada to do Story of Benny Lynch". The Stage. 29 January 1976. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  55. ^ "The Boxer Benny Lynch". The Stage. 8 May 1986. Retrieved 14 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  56. ^ Beacom, Brian (2017) "Why Scotland still loves Benny Lynch", Glasgow Herald, 12 February 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2018
  57. ^ Brocklehurst, Steven (2017) "Benny Lynch: The rise and fall of the people's champion", BBC, 23 February 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2018
  58. ^ "New documentary tells the forgotten tale of tragic boxing champion Benny Lynch", The 42, 13 October 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2018
  59. ^ "The Benny Lynch Story". The List. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  60. ^ Benny Lynch's Professional Boxing Record. BoxRec.com. Retrieved on 18 May 2014.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

Achievements
Vacant
Title last held by
Fidel LaBarba
World Flyweightweight Champion
8 september 1935 – 29 June 1938
Stripped
Vacant
Title next held by
Peter Kane
The Ring Flyweight Champion
8 september 1935 – 29 June 1938
Vacated