Bob Fitzsimmons (Robert James Fitzsimmons)

Bob Fitzsimmons

Bob Fitzsimmons

Bob Fitzsimmons was born in England and as a youth he worked as a blacksmith and developed great strength. He then moved to New Zealand and then Australia and started boxing. He then moved to the United States and progressed through the Middleweight ranks defeating the likes of Dick Ellis, Dave Conway and Jim Hall. His won his first title, the Middleweight Championship, by defeating “Nonpareil” Jack Dempsey with a 13th round knockout. He would defend this title twice against Jim Hall and Dan Creedon before doing something unprecedented; move up to the Heavyweight Division and campaign at that weight. Many critics dismissed this as outrageous and proclaimed that Fitzsimmons would not have the size and strength to compete with the Heavyweights. But Fitzsimmons proved the critics wrong by not only fighting very well against Heavyweights, but when he earned a shot at Heavyweight Champion James Corbett in 1897 (who outweighted Fitzsimmons by 16 pounds) he shocked the world by scoring a 14th round knockout and won the Championship. He would lose the Championship in his first defence to Jim Jeffries in 1898 via an 11th round knockout. He fought Jeffries again for the Championship in 1902 but lost via an 8th round knockout. He then moved down to the Light Heavyweight Division and eventually earned a shot at Light Heavyweight Champion George Gardner and shocked the world once again by winning his third Championship via a 20th round knockout. He would lose the Light Heavyweight Championship in his first defence to “Philadelphia” Jack O’Brien in 1905. Fitzsimmons would fight mostly exhibitions for the next several years before retiring in 1916 with a record of 74-8-3 with 67 KOs. In retirement, Fitzsimmons toured the vaudeville circuit and also become an evangelist. He died of Pneumonia in 1917. Overall, Fitzsimmons was one of History’s greatest fighters. He is only one of three men in history to advance from the Middleweight Championship to the Heavyweight Championship (Roy Jones Jr. is the other) and the first to win 3 World Championships. In 1990, 73 years after his death, he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

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  • May, 26, 1863
  • Helston, Cornwall, UK


  • October, 22, 1917
  • Chicago, Illinois

Cause of Death

  • pneumonia


  • Graceland Cemetery
  • Chicago, Illinois

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