Les Darcy
Australia Crest

Boxer and onetime blacksmith who died tragically in Memphis, U.S.A., in 1917 aged 21, reportedly from an abscessed tooth. It is still said to this day that the Yanks poisoned the two greatest champs Australia ever had, Phar Lap and Darcy.

Darcy had been denied permission to go to America because of World War 1, but he went anyway, claiming he needed the money.

Darcy won the Australian middleweight crown in 1915 and successfully defended it 12 times. During his brief career he went 20 rounds a dozen times and his strike rate was 46 wins from 50 fights. There is a dispute as to who was Australia's first boxing world champ, either Les Darcy or Albert "Young Griffo" Griffiths.

Les Darcy

Known as the Maitland Wonder, Darcy's life has been chronicled by Peter Fenton who amongst other things sound mixed films such as Newsfront starring Peter Finch, My Brilliant Career and Picnic at Hanging Rock, directed by Peter Weir.

Fenton has also raised more than $50,000 for a memorial statue of "the good-natured kid who could fight like a thrashing machine."

Darcy's first sweetheart, Mary O'Donnel, described him as "handsome...he'd buy you on one corner and sell you on the next."

Darcy's extraordinary nationwide popularity prompted boxing promoter Ambrose Murray to recall that he could spell Les Darcy before he could spell Ambrose Murray and that he could recite a poem about the boxer before he learned the Lord's Prayer, and he was a tyke! (an Irish/Australian derogatory term for a Catholic).

Darcy was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in Los Angeles in October, 1998, joining the likes of Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis and fellow Aussies Johnny Famechon, Lionel Rose and Dave Sands.

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