Levinsky, Battling

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LEVINSKY, BATTLING (Barney (Beryl ) Lebrowitz ; 1891–1949), U.S. boxer, world light-heavyweight champion 1916–20, member of the Ring Boxing Hall of Fame. Levinsky, born in Philadelphia to poor Russian immigrants, began his professional career in 1906 under the name Barney Williams, which his manager changed to Battling Levinsky in 1913. Levinsky loved to fight, and claimed to have fought in 500 bouts, a figure that is impossible to substantiate – indeed, his boxing record from 1906 to 1909 is not available. On New Year's Day 1915 he fought three times, once each in Brooklyn (a morning 10-rounder), Manhattan (afternoon 10-rounder), and in Waterbury, Connecticut (evening 12-rounder). Levinsky battled legendary fighters such as Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney, and a series of ten fights with Jack Dillon, including two title fights in 1914 and 1916 before Levinsky finally defeated Dillon on October 24, 1916, to capture the world light-heavyweight title. Levinsky held the title for four years before losing on a fourth-round knockout to Georges Carpentier on October 12, 1920. Two years later, he challenged Gene Tunney for the U.S. light-heavyweight crown, but lost a 12-round decision. He retired following that fight, but came back in 1926, and retired permanently in 1930. Levinsky finished his career with a known professional record of 150 wins (with 34 kos), 49 losses, 26 draws, and 66 no decisions, placing Levinsky among the top-ten all-time winners in number of fights. He was ranked the No. 6 all-time light-heavyweight by Nat Fleischer, and was inducted into the Ring Boxing Hall of Fame in 1966. He was the author of Boxing in Nine Lessons.

[Elli Wohlgelernter (2nd ed.)]