The Old Timer



Billy Speary-Pugilist
The A.A.U
The Olympic Dream
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The Final Bell
The Old Timer
The Halls of Fame
In His Corner
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Table of Contents
Family Genealogy

 "...By comparison, Speary's experience makes today's crop look like rank amateurs..."


Sports JACKpot

Bethlehem Globe Times


With the Olympics in full swing, challenging the World Series for space on sports pages throughout the country, we pause to reflect that there scarcely is a youngster who hasn't dreamed of being proficient enough in some sport to represent the United States in the world's greatest amateur spectacle.  As Bethlehemites, we all share in the pride of having a local wrestler, Greg Ruth, attaining that dream.  The fact that Greg didn't win a gold medal doesn't lessen that pride one bit.

Another Bethlehemite, while rooting for Greg to the limit, couldn't help but recall his day in the Olympics-a day that never came.  Twenty-four years ago, this young man, then 22-years-old, was acclaimed the nation's best amateur fighter in his class.  As such, he was invited to represent the United States in the Olympics in Helsinki, Finland.  But a poor sport, one Adolph Schickelgruber (nee Hitler), decided to put the world at war, and cause an eight-year postponement of the Olympics.

Billy Speary, who now lives at 1252 Manchester Road in West Bethlehem, rates his failure to appear in the Olympics as one of the keenest disappointments he has suffered in a sport which is known for its share of heart breaks.

Full Article


Old-timers Scrap Book


Among the many great fighters developed in Wyoming Valley was Bill Speary of Nanticoke, who holds the proud distinction of whipping two world's champions in the featherweight division and also compiling a record in the amateur ranks that was never surpassed.  His sensational rise in the boxing game can be attributed to the skillful handling of Art Thomas who taught Speary the fundamentals of fighting.  In the roarin' twenties, when the original Armory A.C. was staging some of the best boxing shows in America, the Nanticoke youngster was smitten with the fight  bug and felt that he would ascend the heights of the world's oldest and most popular sport if given the opportunity.  Art Thomas had Syd Thomas and other boys working out in a small gym in Nanticoke and one of the interested spectators with Speary.  He was a quiet, timid kid, well supplied with intestinal fortitude and the confidence that makes great fighters.

Full Article

After "hanging up the gloves", Billy  remained in the ring for many years as a referee, licensee by the Keystone State Athletic Commission (Pennsylvania).  Although he resided in the Allentown area at that time, his referee duties were mostly in the Wilkes-Barre-Scranton area.

Billy was also an officer and active member of the Lehigh Valley Old-time Boxers Association.

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"...If I had to do it over, I would have done the same thing.  My one regret is that I never was able to keep that Olympic date..."

Billy Speary, 1964


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