Billy "Kid" Irwin
(William J. Irwin)

BORN   August 4 1869; Garvey's Range, Limerick City, County Limerick, Ireland
DIED   November 5 1910; Leadville, Colorado (124 West Third Street; pneumonia)
WEIGHT 120-125 lbs
RACE   White; Irish-American

Billy Irwin was a scrappy fighter who was quick on his feet and fast with his punches; He was not a crunching power hitter but threw hard blasts, several punches at a time, as he moved about quickly

Billy started as a bantamweight and boxed successfully as a featherweight and lightweight in a time of rough, talented fighters; Had he fought at any other time, he would be better known and likely considered as an outstanding fighter

Irwin was the Featherweight Champion of Colorado during the late 1890s; He was active in Leadville affairs and performed at various social functions as an Irish vocalist and clog dancer

According to his obituary in a Leadville newspaper, "There are few men who have won such great popularity among all classes of people in this county than has 'Billy Irwin'. Hiis friends are numbered by the hosts and are composed of man, woman, and children in all walks of life. He was honest an upright and kind and generous to a fault"

After he retired from the ring, he promoted many bouts in the area and also managed and trained a number of fighters; Irwin was the first man voted into the Leadville-Lake County Colorado Sports Hall of Fame

New Book: William "Billy" Irwin (Colorado Champion Pugilist 1895-1910) by Terrance Irwin

          -Irwin came to America with his parents, John Irwin and Bridget Dooley Irwin

          -Irwin came to Leadville, Co and lived there for most of his life  

          -Irwin worked in the mines near Leadville

          -Irwin left Leadville (returned sporadically) and worked in the mines near Aspen, Co; 
           He also worked in the copper mines near Butte, Mt for a short period of time;
           His main activity and livelihood during this time was as a prizefighter

Mar 11 Kid Ross                   Victor, Co                       KO  1
Apr    Billy Poole                Cripple Creek, Co                 D 10
Sep 26 Charles Boetcher           Aspen, Co                        ND  4

Dec  3 Billy "Foxy" Tenis         Aspen, Co                        ND  4

       Billy Riley                Leadville, Co                    KO  9
       Young Sullivan             Leadville, Co                    KO  8
       Kid Whalen                 Leadville, Co                    KO  8
       Billy Poole                Cripple Creek, Co                 D 10
       Billy "Foxy" Tenis         Aspen, Co                        KO  4
       Reddy Coogan               Aspen, Co                         D 20
       Johnny "Griffo" Taylor     Glenwood Springs, Co              W 20
       Jimmy "Kid" Ryan           Denver, Co                        W 10
       Kid Ross                   Victor, Co                       KO  1

Mar 15 Dago Mike                  Aspen, Co                         D 20
May  2 Young Corbett II           Aspen, Co                        LK  4
          -Some sources report 4/17/1899
Jul  4 Tom Delaney                Silverton, Co                    KO  3
Dec  8 Johnny "Griffo" Taylor     Aspen, Co                        KO  1

Jun  5 Dago Mike                  Leadville, Co                     L 20

         -Irwin returned to Leadville and worked in the mines and as a bartender

        -Irwin married Mary Loftus (of Leadville) at Buena Vista, Co; They resided 
         at 124 West Third Street, Leadville, in the home of Kate Loftus, mother of 
         the bride; Children born to them were James (1904-1926), William (1906-1906),
         Francis (1907-1977), Emmett (1909-1966), and Kathryn (1911-1976) 

        -Irwin worked as a fireman (plugman) for the Leadville Fire Department

        -Irwin served as the Leadville Fire Chief

        -Irwin was President of the Eagles Lodge and active in Democratic party politics

        -Irwin worked as the Deputy County Clerk and Recorder, working with his cousin, 
         John W. McMahon, who was Chief County Clerk and Recorder

        -Irwin developed pneumonia in late October, 1910 and battled it for nearly two weeks
         before he succombed (at home); He was survived by his wife (Mary), three sons 
         (James, Francis, and Emmett), an unborn daughter (Kathryn), his mother, two sisters, 
         and several nieces, nephews , and cousins, all of the Leadville area; Pallbearers were 
         M.J. Kilkenny, Abe Flak, Maurice Miller, Charles Byrne, Charles Slavin, Alex McDonald; 
         He was buried in the Irwin plot at St. Joseph's Cemetery

*** The Following Bouts Are Reported But Not Confirmed ***

       George Hackett                                             SCH   
       Terry McGovern                                             SCH   
       Jerry Haley                                                SCH   
       Dave Reese (Montana Kid)                                   SCH   
       Kid Brooks                                                 SCH   
       George Carney (Frisco Kid)                                 SCH   
       Tommie Glen                                                SCH   
       Young Spitz                                                SCH   
          -The previous 8 bouts were scheduled;
           The outcomes are not known

*** Most Data Provided By Terrance Irwin and Emma Walling ***

Review courtesy of Tracy Callis, Historian, International Boxing Research Organization