Maurice Holtzer

Maurice Holtzer (21 January 1906 – 14 January 1989), was a French boxer, who in the 1930s won the French, European, and International Boxing Union (IBU) World featherweight championships. Holtzer clearly defeated the reigning NBA World featherweight champion, American Freddie Miller, on a points decision in 1935, but the bout was not for the title.[1][2]

Maurice Holtzer
Maurice Holtzer.jpg
Real nameMaurice Holtzer
Height5' 6.5", 169cm
NationalityFrench  France
Born21 January 1906
Troyes, Aube, France
DiedJanuary 14, 1989(1989-01-14) (aged 82)
Boxing record
Total fights155
Wins by KO30

Early life and careerEdit

Maurice Holtzer was born in Aube, France on 21 December 1906[3] to a Jewish family.

Boxing in AmericaEdit

In his early boxing career, Holtzer fought in America from 1928 through 1931, facing some of America's best. These included boxers who would hold world championship titles, among them Louis "Kid" Kaplan, Frankie Klick, Bud Taylor, and Tommy Paul as well as British and Canadian champion Al Foreman and accomplished Americans Eddie Mack and Harry Forbes.[2] Holtzer was managed, at least for a portion of his career, by American Lew Burston whose clients included the champion Pete Sanstol.[4] In America, he was managed for a time by Eddie Walker.[2]

In one of his early bouts in America, Holtzer drew with Lew Massey on 12 August 1929, at the Arena in Philadelphia in a ten round points decision. Massey would face top talent during his career including Henry Armstrong, Tippy Larkin, and Sammy Angott.[2]

On 3 January 1930, Holtzer defeated future junior lightweight world champion American Frankie Klick at Hollywood's Legion Stadium in a ten-round points decision. Klick had the fighting his own way in the first half of the match, but as he began to tire in the fifth, Holtzer took the lead in scoring with a fast series of telling body punches.[5]

Fighting the skilled American world lightweight contender, Eddie Mack, on 25 February 1930, at Los Angeles's Olympic Stadium, Holtzer lost in a close ten round points decision. Fighting with his rushing style, crouching defense and carefully placed deceptive blows, Holtzer retained more energy in the closing rounds where he nearly overtook his opponent's lead, and the decision for Mack was booed at the end by the crowd. At 5' 9" (175cm), Mack's significant height and reach advantage may have aided him in his victory.[6]

In an impressive win, Holtzer defeated former World bantamweight champion Bud Taylor in a ten round bout that was the main event on 10 November 1930 in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times wrote that Holtzer landed twelve blows to each of Taylor's and that Taylor, being soundly trounced, had difficulty punching back.[7]

"Kid" Kaplan

In an early career loss on 30 June 1930, Holtzer fell to former World featherweight champion Louis "Kid" Kaplan in a ten-round points decision at West Springfield, Massachusetts. Though enjoying a height advantage of several inches, Holtzer was outweighed by his accomplished opponent who was five pounds heavier and fought as a junior lightweight.[8] The Montreal Gazette felt the fight may have been close at times, as it oddly considered the outcome a draw.[9]

As a 127 featherweight, nearing the modern junior lightweight range, on 30 July 1930, Holtzer met Montreal native Al Foreman in Montreal in a non-title bout, losing in a ten-round points decision. Foreman would take both the British and Canadian lightweight championships during his career.[2] In a difficult and painful match, Holtzer struck Foreman low as many as seven times, and was repeatedly warned for the infraction by the referee. Holtzer fared best in the ninth and tenth as Foreman tired, but in much of the bout, his opponent forced the fighting, and chased an elusive Holtzer whose best defence was his frequent crouch or a block with his gloves.[10]

Holtzer, 1930

Winning in a ten round points decision at Olympic Stadium in Los Angeles on 14 October 1930, Holtzer defeated Goldie Hess, a boxer who would face some of the greatest lightweights of his era including Tony Canzoneri, Jack "Kid" Berg, and Barney Ross. Holtzer had a slight advantage throughout the bout, which was fought furiously, but Hess was expected to win by the fans. The closing round had the audience on their feet.[11] Holtzer won six rounds with a strong attack to the body, with Hess taking two, and two even.[12]

Tommy Paul

On 23 March 1931, Holtzer lost to Italian American Tommy Paul, a future World featherweight champion, in a tenth round unanimous decision at the Arena in Philadelphia. Paul was said to have outboxed Holtzer and to have easily carried the decision.[13] Holtzer's eyes were damaged by the constant pounding he took in the early rounds, but the pace slowed by the ninth and tenth.[14]

Returning to Great Britain, Holtzer lost to Jimmy Walsh on 5 September 1934 in a sixth round disqualification in Wandsworth. Walsh was said to have boxed brilliantly in the bout which would have won another four rounds.[15] Walsh would hold the British lightweight title in April 1936, when he defeated Jack "Kid" Berg. He would lose to Walsh again on 1 October 1934 in a ten round points decision in Kensington.[2]

French Feather championEdit

First taking the French featherweight title on 14 December 1934 in a twelve-round points decision at Salle Wagram, Paris, against Francis Augier, Holtzer identified himself as a serious contender for both the World and European titles.[2]

Defeating World feather championEdit

Fighting one of his most accomplished opponents in one of his most unexpected victories, Holtzer defeated American Freddie Miller, the reigning World featherweight champion, on 11 February 1935 in a ten-round points decision at the Palais de Sports, in Paris. Miller, who may have not been fighting his best match in the non-title bout, won only three rounds with Holtzer taking six and one being declared even. There were no knockdowns, and Holtzer excelled at the hard and heavy close range in-fighting. The loss was the first for Miller in several months.[16][17] According to one source, Miller may have outboxed or used superior defensive skills in the bout, but Holtzer showed more aggressiveness, taking the fight to his opponent. The majority of the American judges clearly gave the bout to Holtzer on points.[18]

EBU European feather championEdit

In one of the most important fights of his career Holtzer first won the EBU European featherweight title against Italian Vittorio Tamagnini at the Velodrome in Paris in a fifteen-round points decision on 26 March 1935[2] The decision was unpopular with the crowd, and though both men were within a pound of weight, Holtzer had a slight advantage in height.[19]

He successfully defended both his EBU European and French Featherweight titles on 11 January 1936 against Georges LePerson in a 13-round TKO at the Central Sporting Club in Paris.[2]

Holtzer defended only his EBU European featherweight title on 11 June 1936 by defeating Stan Basta in Brno, Czech, Republic, in a fifteen-round points decision.[2]

IBU World feather championEdit

On 5 October 1937, Holtzer took the vacant International Boxing Union World featherweight title and defended the EBU European featherweight title by defeating Phil Dolhem in Algiers, Algeria in a fifteen-round decision.[2]

Before an impressive audience of 10,000, Holtzer defended the IBU World featherweight and EBU European featherweight championships in a widely publicized match on 19 February 1938, drawing with southpaw Maurice Dubois in 15 rounds in Geneva, Switzerland. Dubois slowed in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds. Holter's best blow was a right hook to the eye in the eleventh which affected Dubois throughout the bout. Duboise had been working as a messenger boy for the League of Nations for nine years, and many league officials found his work as a pugilist inappropriate due to the peace mission of his employer.[20][21] Holtzer lost his World championship only three months later, in May 1938, when the IBU stripped all of its title holders of their titles in an effort to have only one universally recognized World champion for each weight class.[2]

Life after boxingEdit

After boxing retirement, Holtzer ran a saloon in Paris in the late 1940s near the Palais de Sports.[22]

In February of 1941, Holtzer was appointed to a committee that would govern the rules for French boxing by Jean Borotra, the General Commissioner for Education and Sports. Many were disappointed that the committee based in Vichy, France, had omitted many great French champions from Borotra's selections, particularly the popular heavyweight Georges Carpentier.[23]

Holtzer attended an honorary in Paris on 1 November 1949, for French middleweight boxer Marcel Cerdan who had died the former week in a plane crash. A crowd of 15,000 listened to the Marseilles as a spotlight hit an empty ring to honor the fallen champion.[24]

Holtzer died on 14 January 1989.[2]

Selected fightsEdit

7 Wins, 3 Losses, 1 draw
Result Opponent(s) Date Location Duration Notes
Win Frankie Klick 3 Jan 1930 Los Angeles 10 Rounds Klick was future World jr. light champ
Loss Al Foreman 30 July 1930 Montreal 10 Rounds Foreman was Brit. light champ
Win Bud Taylor 10 Nov 1930 Los Angeles 10 Rounds Taylor was former World bantam champ
Loss Tommy Paul 23 Mar 1931 Philadelphia 10 Rounds Paul would be 1932 World bantam champ
Loss Georges LePerson 5 Jun 1932 LeHavre 12 Rounds For French feather title
Win Francis Augier 14 Dec 1934 Paris 12 Rounds Won French feather title
Win Vittorio Tamagnini 26 Mar 1935 Paris 15 Rounds Won EBU Europ. feather title
Retained French feather title
Win Georges LePerson 11 Jan 1936 Paris 13 Round
Retained EBU Europ. feather title
Retained French feather title
Win Freddie Miller 24 Oct 1936 Johannesburg, SA 15 Rounds *Miller was NBA World feather champ*
Win Phil Dolhem 5 Oct 1937 Algiers 15 Rounds Won IBU World feather title
Draw Maurice Dubois 19 Feb 1938 Geneva 15 Rounds Retained World and Europ. feather Titles
Stripped of World title, 38 May 1938

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Biography at". 31 December 2018. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Boxing Record at". 31 December 2018. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  3. ^ Wechsler, Bob. "Day by Day in Jewish Sports History", KTAV Publishing House, 2008. p 21.
  4. ^ Managed by Lew Burston in Vackner, Charley, "Boxing", The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, pg. 7, 19 February 1944
  5. ^ "French Boxer Beats Klick", San Pedro News Pilot, San Pedro, California, pg. 8, 4 January 1930
  6. ^ Boxing in New Mexico, 1868-1940, (2013) Boggio, Jim and Cozzone, Chris, McFarland and Company, Jefferson, North Carolina, and London, pg. 291
  7. ^ Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, pg. 6, 11 November 1930
  8. ^ "Kaplan Beats Holtzer", Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, pg. 34, 1 July 1930
  9. ^ "Bouts Planned for Al Foreman", The Gazette, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, pg. 18, 20 July 1930
  10. ^ "Al Foreman Wins Over Holtzer on Judge's Decision", The Gazette, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, pg. 15, 31 July 1930
  11. ^ "Maurice Holtzer Defeats Hess", The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, pg. 29, 15 October 1930
  12. ^ "Newsboy Brown Defeats Claude Varner in Bout", The Californian, Salinas, California, pg. 6, 15 October 1930
  13. ^ Lewis, Perrry, "Canzoneri Carried Off Six Rounds", The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pg. 16, 24 March 1931
  14. ^ "Tommy Paul Easily Wins Over Maurice Holtzer", The Morning News, Wilmington, Delaware, pg. 11, 24 March 1931
  15. ^ "A Country Diary", The Guardian, London, England, pg. 16, 6 September 1934
  16. ^ First in months in "Holtzer is Winner Over Fred Miller", The Evening Sun, Baltimore, Maryland, pg. 22, 12 February 1935
  17. ^ "Holtzer Defeats Freddie Miller", Daily News, New York, New York, pg. 202, 12 February 1935
  18. ^ "Holtzer Whips Freddie Miller", Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, pg. 31, 12 February 1935
  19. ^ Unpopular decision in "Holtzer is Champ", Ames Daily Tribune, Ames, Iowa, pg. 3, 27 March 1935
  20. ^ Pugilistic work inappropriate in "Maybe He Got That Way Listening to Peace Talk", The Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pg. 9, 19 February 1938
  21. ^ "League Boxer Fights Draw", The Knoxville News Sentinel, Knoxville, Tennessee, pg. 15, 20 February 1938
  22. ^ Graham, Frank, "Graham's Corner", The Ottawa Journal, pg. 40, 20 May 1949
  23. ^ "Dictator Borotra Ignores Champs", Daily News, New York City, pg. 348, 3 February 1941
  24. ^ "Six Ex-Champions Honor Cerdan", The Troy Record, Troy, New York, pg. 15, 1 November 1949