Billy Murphy

(1862 - 1939)

Billy Murphy
His proper name was Thomas William Murphy but he was known more as “Torpedo Billy”, the only New Zealand-born boxer (he was born in Auckland) to hold a world boxing title.

Murphy had begun boxing as a teenager in Auckland, continued in Australia where he worked as a tailor, and in 1889 he moved to the United States.

Murphy fought Ike Weir of Northern Ireland for the world featherweight championship in San Francisco on January 13, 1890.

Weir dominated the early rounds but in the 13th Murphy put Weir down five times and knocked him out in the 14th.

Murphy returned to New Zealand and was deemed to have forfeited his title, but it continued to be recognised in New Zealand and Australia and he lost it in September 1890 in Sydney to Australian Albert Griffiths, known as “Young Griffo”.

Murphy later returned to the United States and continued boxing until 1907.

His final ring figures were 112 bouts for 65 wins, 32 losses and 15 draws.
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Available to buy online from the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame...


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