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"... His name is a magnet which packs arenas anywhere in the country where he happens to compete..."

The following record is exactly as it appeared in Nat Fleischer's The Ring Record Book for 1945.  However, as evidenced here and documented through family records, you will see that there are several discrepancies. 
bulletThe Ring lists only 52 professional fights, by all other accounts Billy engaged in 65 pro bouts.
bulletThere are several fights missing  from the 1940 record- all wins.  Billy remained undefeated until his 2nd fight with Harry Jeffra in 1941.  Newspaper articles regarding these missing fights are included here.
bulletThe author has yet to date several fights  "missing" after 1940..
bulletThe Ring Record Book shows Billy enlisted in the US Army in November of 1942.  While Billy did try to enlist, he was not allowed to join the armed forces due to the lingering affects of his childhood illnesses.  In fact, at that time, a doctor did try to stop him from fighting due to this heart condition.
While researching for this web site, the author found one more point of interest.  In the Ring Record Books, Billy Speary is the only fighter - out of thousands - to have any mention made of his amateur record.  All other records are based solely on professional fights.

Billy Speary

Born, May 4, 1918, Nanticoke, Pa.  Nationality, Welsh-American.  Weight, 126.  Height, 5 ft. 6 in.
Amateur Record: 198 fights.  Won 183, lost 15.  Reversed every loss in a return bout.
Speary won 15 major amateur ring titles.


Won the National AAU Bantamweight  Championship.


Won the National AAU Bantamweight  Championship by defeating Leon Haire.


Feb. 7 Charley Hayes, Scranton KO 2
Mar. 4 Paul Jackson, Allentown W 6
Mar. 5 Jimmy Mingo, Scranton KO 1
Mar. 11 Paul Jackson, Scranton W 6
Apr. 8 Paul Jackson, Scranton W 6
Apr. 19 Len D'Andrea, Wilkes-Barre W 6
May 3 Harvey LaCalle, Tamaqua, Pa. KO 5
May 7 Joey Hoffman, Wilkes-Barre KO 2
May 17 Johnny Forte, Wilkes-Barre W 8
June 17 Firpo Lopez, Scranton W 8
July 16 Eddie O'Leary, Wilkes-Barre W 8
July 29 Billy Davis, Allentown W 8
Aug. 20 Al Brown, Wilkes-Barre W 8
Sept. 9 Dom Fiantini, Allentown W 8
Sept. 10 Joe Amico, Wilm., Del. W 6
Oct. 1 Joey Archibald, Wilkes-Barre W 10
Nov. 19 Harry Jeffra, Wilkes-Barre W 10
Dec. 2 Jimmy Gilligan, Scranton W 10
Dec. 9 Aurel Toma, Phila., Pa. KO 5
 * There are several fights missing from the 1940 record.  All were wins. At the end of 1940, Billy was undefeated.


Jan. 6 Harry Jeffra, Baltimore, Md. L 12
Jan. 17 Mike Raffa, Roch. N.Y. L 10
Mar. 4 Mike Raffa, Wilkes-Barre W 10
Apr. 22 Paul Lee, Wilkes-Barre KO 9
May 15 Mike Raffa, Wilkes-Barre L 12
June 23 Johnny Marcelline, Allentown W 10
Aug. 28 Jose Peralta, Wilkes-Barre L 10
Sept. 25 Leon Haire, Philadelphia L 10
Oct. 20 Jimmy Hatcher, Baltimore L 10
Oct. 27 Spider Armstrong, Phila. KO 6
Nov. 10 Georgie Pace, Toronto W 10
 Dec. 2 Jimmy Hatcher, Wilkes-Barre D 10


Jan. 12 Lulu Constantino, N.Y.C. L 8
Feb. 2 Harry Jeffra, Toronto L 10
Mar. 20 Jimmy Hatcher, N.Y.C. L 8
Apr. 13 Jackie Callura, New Orleans L 10
June 22 Cleo Shans, Wilkes-Barre L 10
July 13 Johnny Cockfield, Allentown W 10
July 20 Bobby Ruffin, N.Y.C. L 10
Aug. 3 Billy Davis, Allentown W 10
Aug. 31 George Harper, Allentown W 10
Oct. 6 Carmine Fatta, Phila. KO 3
Nov. 13 Pedro Hernandez, Providence W 10
In U. S. Army


Jan. 8 Johnny Greco, N.Y.C. KO 1
Jan. 19 Willie Pep, Hartford L 10
Feb. 15 Willie Pep, Baltimore L 10
Mar. 8 Ike Williams, Phila. KO 2
Apr. 2 Sammy Fuller, Boston KO 1
Dec. 13 Billy Banks, Washington L 10


Jan. 31 Julie Kogan, New Haven L 10
Mar. 2 Julie Kogan, New Haven D 10
Mar. 27 Julie Kogan, New Haven KO 5
May 29 Archie Wilmer, Allentown L 10

(Announced his retirement)


According to Billy's widow, Dorothy Speary, there were several factors behind his decision to retire.

First & foremost is the fact that after 9 years of boxing - 365 bouts and the daily training that preparing for those fights required - he was quite simply tired.  Boxing was & continues to be the most physically demanding sport anyone could choose to participate in. 9 years is a very long time to spend getting punched at on a daily basis.  

In those days, the boys who would become professional fighters usually did so within a year or so of entering the ring and then retired within a couple more.  For Billy, turning pro earlier may have been much easier on him.  As a pro he would have fought once or twice per month.  As an amateur,  Billy had matches scheduled 3 and 4 days per week.  During all those tournaments and competitions he won, he fought several times PER DAY.  

For more than 3 years, Billy declined many lucrative offers to fight professionally due to his dream of representing the USA in the 1940 Olympics (canceled due to WW II).  His true aspirations were to become an Olympic boxer - not a professional boxer.  

Also, as you will find by reading the many articles here, he had no real "taste" for the professional fight game or the New York "stables".  He chose instead to loyally remain with the trainer & manager who had piloted his career from day one - Art Thomas.  There are those who, to this day, believe that was not a good choice. However, I feel confident in saying that - for a person of Billy's character- decisions weighed with loyalty, respect & gratitude would have been his only choice.

Fans & experts never doubted - then or now - that had Billy entered the pro ring earlier, his professional record would have mirrored that of his amateur career. 

Organized by year, these links lead to articles covering individual fights.

1940 ] 1941 ] 1942 ] 1943 ] 1944 ]


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