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Tommy Gibbons
Tommy Gibbons 2332829303 0a2cf4603b o.jpg
Real name Thomas Joseph Gibbons
Nickname(s) none
Rated at Heavyweight
Nationality United States Of America
Born (1891-03-22)March 22, 1891
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Died November 19, 1960(1960-11-19) (aged 69)
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 106
Wins 96
Wins by KO 48
Losses 5
Draws 4
No contests 1

Thomas Joseph Gibbons (March 22, 1891 – November 19, 1960) was a nearly undefeated heavyweight boxer.

Life and career[edit]

He was born on March 22, 1891 in Saint Paul, Minnesota to Thomas John Gibbons and Mary Burke. he had a brother Mike Gibbons.

Tommy started boxing professionally in 1911 as a middleweight. Like his brother he was a master scientific boxer who chose to outbox his opponents. In time, he advanced to the heavyweight boxing class and developed a respectable punch.

On May 27, 1916 he married Helen Constance Moga in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

His biggest fight came near the end of his career in Jack Dempsey vs. Tommy Gibbons when he met heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey on July 4, 1923 in Shelby, Montana. The local backers and the town of Shelby went broke putting on the fight. The great Dempsey battled through the full fifteen rounds before winning by decision. Dempsey was awarded $200,000, whereas Gibbons received expense money.

Tommy Gibbons record was 56-4-1 with 44 no decisions, and 1 no contest. He scored 48 knockouts, and was stopped only once by Gene Tunney on June 5, 1925. The names dotting his record read like boxing's hall of fame. Tommy recorded wins over George Chip, Willie Meehan, Billy Miske, Chuck Wiggins, Jack Bloomfield, and Kid Norfolk. Tommy had no decision matches with George "K.O." Brown, Billy Miske, Harry Greb, Battling Levinsky, Bob Roper, Chuck Wiggins, Georges Carpentier, and others. Only Harry Greb, Billy Miske, Jack Dempsey, and Gene Tunney were able to score wins over Tommy Gibbons.

Following his retirement from boxing, Tommy Gibbons was elected four times as the Sheriff of Ramsey County. He won for six consecutive four year terms before retiring at the age of 68. He died on November 19, 1960 in Saint Paul, Minnesota.[1][2]


He became a member of the Ring Boxing Hall of Fame in 1963, and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Minnesota Boxing Hall of Fame in 2010.[3]

Fast Facts[edit]

  • Tommy Gibbons also fought Jimmy Delaney.
  • Owned the Gibbons Brother's Gym with his boxing brother Mike Gibbons.
  • He started boxing professionally in 1911.
  • Boxed 106 fights, losing only 4 and being stopped only once, by Gene Tunney. He retired after the fight.
  • Was the first boxer to go the entire fifteen rounds with Dempsey during the World Championship Fight in Shelby, Montana on July 4, 1923, where he lost the decision.
  • Tommy and Helen donated $50,000 to build the Immaculate Conception Church in Osakis, Minnesota from his purse from the Tunney fight.
  • Was elected, along with his brother Mike to the *Helms* Boxing Hall of Fame in 1954.


"Nailing him was like trying to thread a needle in a high wind." - Jack Dempsey about Tommy Gibbons bout in 1923

"Dempsey could beat anybody he could hit. The only reason that he couldn't do anything with fellows like Tunney or Greb or myself was he couldn't hit us." - Tom Gibbons in a radio interview in 1949

"For the first and only time, I was more worried about getting hurt by the crowd than by the guy I was fighting. I got a pretty good blast when introduced. The crowd was hollering and raising hell. I looked around for my bodyguard, a colorful New York character named Wild Bill Lyons, who packed two pearl-handled pistols and used to talk a lot about his days in the West. Wild Bill was under the ring, hiding." - Jack Dempsey about being introduced to the crowd at the Dempsey/Gibbons fight in Shelby, Montana July 4, 1923

"I could have licked him in Shelby if I had been 30, but I was 32. I'll never forget that day. I never got so tired of man in my life." - Tommy Gibbons discussing his World Championship bout with Jack Dempsey.

"People couldn't seem to understand how I could take so much from Dempsey. They said I was as Iron Man (a name I always wanted to avoid), when really all I did was slip this way and that as the occasion required. Brother Mike was a past master at that. I never saw anyone to equal him at all. He taught it to me." - Tommy Gibbons from Punches I Have Taken

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Tommy Gibbons, Boxer, 69, Died. Challenger to Dempsey in 1923 Bout. Was Sheriff in Minnesota 24 Years". New York Times. November 20, 1960. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  2. ^ "Tommy Gibbons, Ex-Boxer, Dead". United Press International in the Milwaukee Journal. November 19, 1960. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  3. ^ Minnesota boxing hall of fame inductees

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Jack Dempsey vs Tommy Gibbons (July 1923)

Jack Dempsey vs Tommy Gibbons Shelby, Montana, 4 July 1923.

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Jack Dempsey vs Tommy Gibbons. Jul. 4, 1923. Arena, Shelby, Montana, United States.

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Tunney's brilliant performance against Tommy Gibbons in slow motion.

Jack Dempsey vs Tommy Gibbons (Full Film), part 2/5

Jack Dempsey vs Tommy Gibbons. Jul. 4, 1923. Arena, Shelby, Montana, United States.

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138 news items

The Sweet Science

The Sweet Science
Fri, 27 Nov 2015 11:07:30 -0800

Tommy Gibbons is the only championship bout that's remembered more for the site than the fight itself. Shelby, Montana, was one of the most improbable and ill- considered venues ever to host a major championship fight. Kelly explains who, what, how ...

Boxing News Online

Boxing News Online
Wed, 11 Nov 2015 02:59:39 -0800

Matt Christie lists the best siblings in the Noble Art's history in this week's issue of Boxing News. 10. GIBBONS Fighting in the unforgiving 1920s, Tommy Gibbons and Mike Gibbons were two of the toughest sons of guns of the era. Between them they took ...

The Sweet Science

The Sweet Science
Fri, 06 Nov 2015 12:51:47 -0800

For the middleweights, world-conquering monsters arrived early. In Part Two we met fighters so extraordinary that it is easy to imagine them besting even the men who are ranked here in the Top Ten. In fact, there is no need to imagine it - some of them ...


Wed, 21 Nov 2012 15:14:10 -0800

Tommy Gibbons (record), Dempsey's opponent in this fight, was really a pretty good heavyweight but was unknown to most fight fans. He was the brother of top middleweight contender Mike Gibbons. Tommy was fast and had a lot of ring smarts. He had lost a ...

State Gazette

State Gazette
Sat, 21 Mar 2015 22:03:45 -0700

We would like to thank Tommy Gibbons and the airport staff for the hard work in the improvements made to our airport," said Holden. "I would also like to thank the Tennessee Aeronautics Division and the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission for their ...

State Gazette

State Gazette
Wed, 05 Aug 2015 23:00:16 -0700

Mayor John Holden, airport manager Tommy Gibbons, city purchasing agent Greg Williams, members of the Dyersburg Regional Airport Committee and others met Wednesday morning to discuss runway repair plans and proposed new construction at the ...

Boxing News Online

Boxing News Online
Thu, 22 Oct 2015 03:36:16 -0700

The night of March 13, 1922, on a Milk Fund Show sponsored by none other that Mrs William Randolph Hearst and attended by the cream of the social register from the Astors to the Vanderbilts, Pittsburgh terror Harry Greb tangled with Tommy Gibbons, the ...

BBC News

BBC News
Fri, 01 May 2015 22:20:05 -0700

If you thought Mayweather-Pacquiao was immoral, back in 1923 a world heavyweight title fight between Jack Dempsey and Tommy Gibbons ruined the small town of Shelby, Montana. Dempsey and promoter Tex Rickard walked away with hundreds of ...

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