Jin Tunney

Jin Tunney

Date of Birth: 25.05.1897
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Gene Tunney
  2. Early Career
  3. Champion of America
  4. Champion of the World
  5. Retirement and Legacy

Biography of Gene Tunney

Eugene James Tunney, better known as Gene Tunney, was an American professional boxer and the world heavyweight champion. He was born on May 25, 1897, in New York. From a young age, Tunney was interested in boxing, and his father, a dockworker, gifted him gloves for his 10th birthday. The young boy began training at a local sports club.

Early Career

At the age of 18, Tunney was offered the opportunity to try his skills in professional boxing. His debut was successful, defeating experienced boxer Bobby Daussan. In 1917, he was recruited into the United States Navy and served in the expeditionary corps in France. There, he became the champion of the corps in the light heavyweight division and also defeated the heavyweight champion in an additional fight. Tunney returned to the United States in late 1919 and continued his professional boxing career, winning one victory after another.

Champion of America

In early 1922, Tunney became the US champion in the light heavyweight division, but in May, he lost the title to Harry Greb. This was the last defeat of the remarkable boxer in his professional career. In February 1923, Tunney regained his title by defeating Greb. They met three more times, with Tunney winning once and the other two fights ending in a draw. In 1924, Tunney moved up to the heavyweight division, where he continued his winning streak.

Champion of the World

Tunney's desire was to face the world heavyweight champion, Jack Dempsey. The Dempsey-Tunney fight was scheduled for September 23, 1926, in Philadelphia. The match consisted of 10 rounds, and after the fight, America had a new champion. Tunney was hailed as the "fighting sailor" by the press. All American newspapers featured descriptions of the fight, and the global press commented on its outcome. The dethroning of Jack Dempsey became a significant event of the day.

The rematch between Tunney and Dempsey took place on September 22, 1927, at the Chicago "Soldier Field Stadium" in front of over 100,000 spectators. Once again, Dempsey was the public favorite, but experts placed their bets on Tunney. Just before the encounter, the sums bet on both the champion and the challenger were equal, which was the only instance in the history of heavyweight championship fights. In the seventh round of this fight, Dempsey landed a series of blows that knocked Tunney down, but the former champion, still fired up, continued standing near his fallen opponent. It took several seconds for the referee to push Dempsey back to his corner before he began the count. On the count of 9, the "fighting sailor" got up. Dempsey fought relentlessly until the end, but his strength was clearly fading. After failing to take advantage of an opportunity to finish the fight in the seventh round, Dempsey had nothing left to say; he had expended all his arsenal. When Tunney's victory was announced, Dempsey shook his opponent's hand and said, "Congratulations, Gene. It was a good fight. I did everything I could in it."

Retirement and Legacy

In July 1928, Tunney easily defended his title in a fight against Tom Heeney and announced his retirement a few days later. Throughout his boxing career, he participated in a total of 77 fights, winning 65 of them, including 43 knockouts and 21 by decision. He had one victory due to his opponent's disqualification, one fight ended in a draw, and there were nine fights without a decision. He lost only once, to Harry Greb. Tunney retired from boxing with two million dollars in his bank account, which set him apart from many champions who squandered their earnings and died in poverty. He successfully invested his capital and became the owner of several businesses. During World War II, he served in the US Navy again. Tunney had a large family, and one of his three sons became a judge, another worked in the oil industry, and the third, John Vareck, pursued a political career and entered the Senate in 1970.

Gene Tunney passed away on November 7, 1978, at the age of 81, in a hospital due to circulatory insufficiency.