Monday, 20 April 2015 21:28

Jack McAuliffe: Cork's Famous World Champion

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Cork Boxer, Jack McAuliffe Retired Undefeated As A World Champion

1866 - 1937


Jack McAuliffe's parents were Cornelius McAuliffe and Jane Bailey, who were living at

5, Christ Church Lane, Cork, Ireland at the time of Jack's birth on 24th March 1866.

The McAuliffe family emigrated to the United States in 1871, where he spent his early years in Bangor, Maine. He made his first appearance as an amateur boxer in 1883. He turned professional soon after, fighting Jemmy Carney over 78 rounds to a draw at Revere Beach, Massachutes.


Sometimes called the 'Napoleon of the Ring' because of his unusual stance, Cork born Jack McAuliffe, who fought out of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, is immortalised in boxing as one of the best lightweight boxers of all time. Jack died on 5th November 1937 at Forest Hills, New York.


He began fighting in 1884, during the bare knuckle era. Jack rarely trained and relied on natural stamina to get him through some lengthy battles. He was the lightweight superstar of his time which was during the transitional period between the bareknuckle fight era and the adoption of the Marquis of Queensbury rules.


In 1886, he captured the American lightweight title by knocking out Billy Frazier in the 17th round.

Jack claimed the vacant world title by stopping Canadian Harry Gilmore in 1887.


When Jack retired on April 27, 1897, he boasted a perfect professional ring record, 49 wins—with 43 by knockouts. After retiring, Jack worked for a time in vaudeville and later became a bookmaker.


He also beat Young Griffo in 1894 and retired shortly after. He made a comeback in 1896 and retired for good after his 1897 battle against Philadelphia’s Tommy Ryan. 

The Corkman was only one of three title holders to retire undefeated as a pro - the famous Rocky Marciana in the heavyweight and bantamweight Jimmy Barry were the others.


McAuliffe fought Billy Dacey for the lightweight championship and a $5,000 purse in 1888 and knocked him out in eleven rounds. He was known as a strong two-handed fighter with "cat-like" reflexes.

The International Boxing Hall of Fame states he had 36 professional fights. He won 30 bouts, 22 by knockout. He had five draws, one no decision and no losses.


McAuliffe was married twice, both times to stage actresses. His first wife was Katie Hart, who played in farce comedies. After her death, McAuliffe married Catherine Rowe in 1894, whose stage name was Pearl Inman, of the song and dance team The Inman Sisters.


Between marriages he dated a third actress, Sadie McDonald. McAuliffe and Rowe moved back to Bangor Maine, in 1894, where he undertook preliminary training for a fight later that year at the Seaside Athletic Club on Coney Island.


Jack McAuliffe, is probably Cork’s most famous professional boxer and his incorporation in our All Ireland Hall Of Fame Online Gallery is testament to the esteem that the famous Corkman still enjoys in his native city of Cork.


Last modified on Thursday, 13 July 2017 15:05