Fleischer, Nathaniel Stanley

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FLEISCHER, NATHANIEL STANLEY (Nat ; 1887–1972), U.S. boxing historian, journalist, author, and member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Born on New York's Lower East Side, Fleischer first developed his love of boxing at age eight, when his father gave him photographs of boxers that were sold with cigarettes. He saw his first professional fight at age 11 on September 12, 1899, a bantamweight championship fight that saw Terrible Terry McGovern knock out Pedlar Palmer. It was the first time a championship bout ended in a first-round ko, and Fleischer was hooked on the sport. Standing only 5ʹ 2ʹʹ and weighing 122 pounds, Fleischer wanted to be a prizefighter himself, but he was knocked out in the first round of an amateur match when he was 15, and that ended his boxing ambitions.

Fleischer first wrote about sports for p.s. 15's monthly newspaper, and after graduating Townsend Harris High School, he was campus correspondent for two New York City newspapers while attending the City College of New York, where he organized with Dan *Daniel the school's first varsity basketball team in 1906. After graduating in 1908, Fleischer taught at p.s. 7, then took a commercial chemistry course at nyu and a forestry course at Yale, but soon realized that sports was his calling. He became sports editor at the New York Press, and continued when it merged with the Morning Sun in 1914. Fleischer proceeded to become sports editor at the Morning Herald, the Mail-Telegram, and the Evening Telegraph, but in 1929 he decided instead to devote himself entirely to a boxing magazine, The Ring, which he had co-founded with three associates in February 1922. It became the most influential publication in boxing history, earning Fleischer the moniker "Mr. Boxing." He refereed and judged more than 1,000 fights, established the Boxing Hall of Fame and Museum, initiated boxing's rating system, encouraged television coverage to maintain the public's interest, and helped establish boxing commissions around the world. Fleischer was the world's leading ring historian and the most prolific boxing writer of all time, publishing more than 60 books – an estimated 40 million words – including his autobiography, Fifty Years at Ringside (1958). His best-known work was the annual Ring Record Book and Boxing Encyclopedia, first published in 1941, which was considered the sports' authoritative source book. Fleischer was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.

[Elli Wohlgelernter (2nd ed.)]