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Luis Ángel Firpo

Luis Ángel Firpo
Firpo pictured on El Gráfico, in 1923.
Nickname(s) El Toro Salvaje de las Pampas
Height 6 ft 2.5 in (1.89 m)
Born 11 October 1894
Junín, Buenos Aires
Died August 7, 1960(1960-08-07) (aged 65)
Stance Orthodox

Luis Ángel Firpo, (October 11, 1894 – August 7, 1960), was an Argentine boxer.

Born in Junín, Argentina, he was nicknamed The Wild Bull of the Pampas.


  • Boxing career 1
  • Retirement 2
  • Legacy 3
  • Professional boxing record 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Boxing career

In 1917, Firpo began his professional boxing career by beating Frank Hagney by a decision in six in Buenos Aires. Originally declared a no decision, the bout's result was later changed to a win for Firpo.

For his second bout, he traveled, in January 1918, to Montevideo, Uruguay, where he suffered his first defeat, a first round knockout at the hands of Angel Rodriguez. He put a string of six wins in a row after that, and so on November 1, 1919, he found himself challenging Dave Mills in Santiago, for the South American Heavyweight title. He lost on that occasion by a decision in 15 rounds, but then came back with a win over Andres Balsa by a knockout in round six.

Luis Ángel Firpo and his handlers.

On April 20, 1920, he and Mills had a rematch and Firpo won the title with a first round knockout. After one more win, he and Mills faced each other in a rubber match, and the result was the same as that of their second bout: Firpo the winner by a knockout in the first. In 1921, the quality of Firpo's challengers improved, when he defeated fringe contender Gunboat Smith twice, the first by decision in 12 and the second by knockout, also in 12.

In 1922, he continued his rise in the Heavyweight rankings by winning all four of his fights by a knockout.

Firpo began 1923 by knocking out former title challenger Bill Brennan in the 12th round. He followed that with seven more wins in a row, including wins over Jack McAuliffe and former world champion Jess Willard. After a win against Charlie Weinert, Firpo challenged world heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey at New York on September 14, becoming the first Latin American in history to challenge for the title.

Firpo was floored seven times in the first round of the bout, before he trapped Dempsey against the ropes and launched a combination that sent the champion out of the ring. Dempsey hit his head against a writer's typing machine, and for a moment, it looked as if Firpo would become world Heavyweight champion. But Dempsey was helped into the ring at the count of nine (in spite of having been seventeen seconds outside the ring; fighters are given a twenty-second count when they are knocked through the ropes) and he eventually knocked out Firpo in the second round. This fight has been regarded by critics and experts as one of the greatest fights in history. Boxing historian Bert Sugar called it the greatest fight in the history of the sport. Despite losing, Firpo gained substantial fame all over Latin America after this bout, as many people on different parts of that region spoke about his feat of dropping Dempsey. This fight remained so inspirational that, for instance, led to the naming of the Salvadorian football club C.D. Luis Ángel Firpo after him.

Firpo sending Dempsey outside the ring; painting by George Bellows.

In 1924, Firpo won his first three fights by knockout, but then lost his last two by decision, the last of which was to legendary black challenger Harry Wills.

He retired for a short period, but came back in 1926 to beat Erminio Spalla by a decision in ten. Then, he kept away from the fight game for nine years, but he attempted another comeback in 1936, winning two fights before being beaten by a knockout in three by future Joe Louis challenger Arturo Godoy. Firpo finally retired after compiling a record of 32 wins and 6 losses in 38 fights, with 26 wins by knockout.


Afterwards, Firpo became a car-dealer for Stutz and a rancher. By 1940 he was ranching on a large scale in Carlos Casares with 8,000 cattle, 4,000 sheep and 400 horses. He discovered the boxer Abel Cestac in July 1940.[1] Firpo and Jack Dempsey agreed to jointly manage Cestac, who went on to become the South American heavyweight champion.[2][3] On his passing in 1960, Luis Firpo was buried in La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires. His mausoleum has a statue of him at the front.[4]


Luis Angel Firpo vault in the Cemetery of Recoleta, Buenos Aires, where his remains were interred.

Firpo's popularity around Latin America was immeasurable. Years later, C.D. Luis Ángel Firpo a professional football team in El Salvador, a Latin American country that is thousands of miles away from Firpo's Argentina, was named after him. The club's colors are red and blue, perhaps because of those worn by the football team that the boxer supported in Buenos Aires, the Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro. In addition, various schools, streets and avenues across Latin America have been named after him.

In 2003, he was named by The Ring as one of the 100 greatest punchers of all time.

Professional boxing record

31 Wins (26 Knockouts), 4 Defeats, 2 No Contests[5]
Res. Record Opponent Type Rd., Time Date Location Notes
Loss 31-4
2 NC, 2 ND
Arturo Godoy TKO 4 (10) 1936-07-11 Luna Park, Buenos Aires
Win 31-3
2 NC, 2 ND
Siska Habarta KO 3 (10) 1936-05-25 Buenos Aires
Win 30-3
2 NC, 2 ND
Saverio Grizzo KO 1 (10) 1936-05-09 Luna Park, Buenos Aires
Win 29-3
2 NC, 2 ND
Erminio Spalla PTS 12 1926-04-03 Parque Romano, Buenos Aires
ND 28-3
2 NC, 2 ND
Charley Weinert ND 12 1924-11-12 113th Regiment Armory,
Newark, New Jersey
ND 28-3
2 NC, 1 ND
Harry Wills ND 12 1924-09-11 Boyle's Thirty Acres,
Jersey City, New Jersey
Win 28-3
2 NC
Al Reich KO 1 (10) 1924-04-05 Club Sportivo Barracas, Buenos Aires
Win 27-3
2 NC
Erminio Spalla TKO 14 (15) 1924-03-27 Buenos Aires
Win 26-3
2 NC
Farmer Lodge KO 5 (10) 1924-02-24 Club Atlético River Plate, Buenos Aires
Loss 25-3
2 NC
Jack Dempsey KO 2 (10) 1923-09-14 Polo Grounds, New York City, New York For NYSAC World Heavyweight title.
Win 25-2
2 NC
Charley Weinert TKO 2 (8) 1923-08-13 Shibe Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Win 24-2
2 NC
Homer Smith PTS 10 1923-08-03 Omaha, Nebraska
Win 23-2
2 NC
Joe Burke KO 2 (10) 1923-07-27 Battle Creek, Michigan
Win 22-2
2 NC
Jess Willard KO 8 (12) 1923-07-12 Boyle's Thirty Acres,
Jersey City, New Jersey
Win 21-2
2 NC
Jim Hibbard KO 2 (10) 1923-06-17 El Toreo, Mexico City
Win 20-2
2 NC
Jack Herman KO 2 (10) 1923-06-10 Havana
Win 19-2
2 NC
Jack McAuliffe II KO 3 (15) 1923-05-12 Yankee Stadium, The Bronx, New York
Win 18-2
2 NC
Bill Brennan KO 12 (15) 1923-03-12 Madison Square Garden,
New York City, New York
Win 17-2
2 NC
Jim Tracey KO 4 (10) 1922-10-08 Club Sportivo Barracas, Buenos Aires
Win 16-2
2 NC
Jack Herman TKO 5 (10) 1922-05-13 Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, New York
Win 15-2
2 NC
Joe McCann KO 5 (10) 1922-04-04 Newark, New Jersey
Win 14-2
2 NC
Tom Maxted KO 7 (10) 1922-03-20 Newark, New Jersey
Win 13-2
2 NC
Fernando Priano KO 2 (10) 1921-09-27 San Miguel de Tucumán, Tucumán
Win 12-2
2 NC
Gunboat Smith KO 12 1921-04-23 Club Universitario, Buenos Aires
Win 11-2
2 NC
Gunboat Smith PTS 12 1921-03-12 Valparaíso, Valparaíso
Win 10-2
2 NC
Dave Mills KO 1 (10) 1920-12-11 Club Universitario, Buenos Aires Defended South American
Heavyweight title.
NC 9-2
2 NC
Alberto Coleman NC 10 1920-09-11 Teatro Municipal, Mendoza, Mendoza
Win 9-2
1 NC
Antonio Jirsa KO 1 (10) 1920-07-07 Club Universitario, Buenos Aires
Win 8-2
1 NC
Dave Mills KO 1 (10) 1920-04-30 Estadio Hippodrome, Santiago, Santiago Won South American Heavyweight title.
Win 7-2
1 NC
Andrés Balsa KO 6 (10) 1920-02-28 Valparaíso, Valparaíso
Loss 6-2
1 NC
Dave Mills PTS 15 1919-11-01 Santiago, Santiago For South American Heavyweight title.
Win 6-1
1 NC
Arthur Manning KO 3 (10) 1919-04-26 Montevideo, Montevideo
Win 5-1
1 NC
Fernando Priano KO 4 (10) 1919-04-12 Montevideo, Montevideo
Win 4-1
1 NC
Calvin Respress PTS 15 1919-02-07 Santiago, Santiago
Win 3-1
1 NC
Calvin Respress DQ 2 (10) 1918-12-14 Santiago, Santiago
Win 2-1
1 NC
Ignacio Sepulveda KO 2 (10) 1918-11-09 Santiago, Santiago
Win 1-1
1 NC
William Daly KO 7 (10) 1918-09-28 Chillán, Biobío
Loss 0-1
1 NC
Angel Rodriguez KO 1 (10) 1918-01-12 Teatro Casino, Montevideo, Montevideo
NC 1 NC Frank Hagney NC 6 (10) 1917-12-10 Internacional Boxing Club, Buenos Aires

See also


  1. ^ "Firpo discovers young wild bull of the pampas" (PDF). North Tonawanda Evening News. 15 January 1941. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  2. ^ Mike Fitzgerald, Jake Lamotta, Bert Randolph Sugar (2004). The Ageless Warrior: The Life of Boxing Legend Archie Moore. Sports Publishing LLC. pp. 83–87.  
  3. ^ "Cestac Remain Mystery Fighter". The Morning Herald, Bagerstown MD. 25 July 1945. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  4. ^ Luis Angel Firpo at Find a Grave
  5. ^ Luis Ángel Firpo's Professional Boxing Record. Retrieved on 2012-03-18.

External links

  • Professional boxing record for Luis Ángel Firpo from BoxRec
  • Gene Tunney's description of Firpo's multimillionaire success after retirement from the ring.
  • 22-9-1923, El Gráfico, Firpo vs. Dempsey
  • Un KO di 17 secondi (IT) - Dempsey vs. Firpo, un "match" indimenticabile
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