Billy Papke
(William Herman Papke)
(the "Illinois Thunderbolt")

BORN   September 17 1886;
Spring Valley, Illinois
DIED November 26 1936; Newport, California
HEIGHT 5-8 3/4
WEIGHT 150-163 1/4 lbs
RACE White; German-American
MANAGERS Tom Jones, Al Lippe

Papke was a tough and scrappy competitor who hit hard and was very game; He came to fight and rose to the occasion; Papke won the Middleweight Championship of the World during his career

During his ring tenure, Papke defeated such men as Stanley Ketchel, Georges Carpentier, Hugo Kelly, Joe Thomas, Willie Lewis, Jack "Twin" Sullivan, Dave Smith, Marcel Moreau, Tony Caponi, Bartley Connolly, Terry Martin and Charles Haghey

Nat Fleischer ranked Papke as the #7 All-Time Middleweight; Charley Rose ranked him as the #10 All-Time Middleweight; He was elected to the Ring Boxing Hall of Fame in 1972 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2001

He was the father of Billy Papke Jr. who also boxed; In a tragic ending to his life in 1936, Papke killed his estranged wife and committed suicide

1906
Mar 24 "Mexican Wonder"           LaSalle, Il                       W  4
Apr 30 Red Morrissey              LaSalle, Il                      KO  3
May 30 Buster Tegan               LaSalle, Il                      KO  3
Jun  1 Jack Denny                 Peru, Il                         KO  1
Jul  4 Carl Purdy                 LaSalle, Il                       W 10
Nov 27 Milt Kinney                Peoria, Il                       KO  3
Dec 17 "Original" Kid Farmer      Peoria, Il                       KO  6

1907
Jan 15 Tom Wallace                Peoria, Il                       KO  4
Jan 29 Dick Fitzpatrick           Peoria, Il                        W 10
Feb 14 Carl Anderson              Spring Valley, Il                KO  1
Mar  6 Billy Rhodes               Peoria, Il                        W 10
Mar 26 Billy Rhodes               Davenport, Ia                     D 15
Apr 30 Johnny Carroll             Peoria, Il                       KO  4
May 21 Tony Caponi                Davenport, Ia                     D 15
          -Some sources report 5/29/07
Jun  6 Jack Morgan                Peoria, Il                       KO  7
Jun 14 Foster Walker              Detroit, Mi                      KO  2
Jun 20 Tony Caponi                Spring Valley, Il                 D 10
Sep  2 Tommy Sullivan             Lawrence, Ma                     KO  1
          -Some sources report "Methuen, Ma"
Sep 14 Terry Martin               Philadelphia, Pa                 KO  3
Oct 30 Cy Flynn                   Brazil, In                       TK  3
Nov  9 Pat O'Keefe                Philadelphia, Pa                 ND  6
Nov 14 Tony Caponi                Peoria, Il                       KO  2
Nov 22 Charles Haghey             Chelsea, Ma                      TK  1
Nov 22 Bartley Connolly           Chelsea, Ma                      TK  4
          -The previous 2 bouts were held the same date;
           Some sources report "Boston, Ma"
Dec 30 Hugo Kelly                 Milwaukee, Wi                     D 10

1908
Jan 21 Walter Stanton             Boston, Ma                       TK  4
Mar  6 Hugo Kelly                 Milwaukee, Wi                     W 10
          -Some sources report 3/16/08
May 31 Eddie McGoorty             Kenosha, Wi                      EX  6
Jun  4 Stanley Ketchel            Milwaukee, Wi                     L 10
          -Middleweight Championship of the World
Jul  4 Rudi Unholz                Kewanee, Il                      EX  6
Aug 13 Johnny Carroll             Boston, Ma                       TK  2
Aug 13 Frank Mantell              Boston, Ma                       TK  1
          -The previous 2 bouts were held the same date
Aug 18 Sailor Burke               New York, NY                     ND  6
Sep  7 Stanley Ketchel            Vernon, Ca                       TK 12
          -Middleweight Championship of the World
Nov 26 Stanley Ketchel            Colma, Ca                        LK 11
          -Middleweight Championship of the World
Dec 15 Hugo Kelly                 Los Angeles, Ca                   D 25

1909
Mar 19 "Fireman" Jim Flynn        Los Angeles, Ca                  ND 10
          -Some sources report "L 10"
May 15 Hugo Kelly                 Colma, Ca                        KO  1
Jul  5 Stanley Ketchel            Colma, Ca                         L 20
          -Middleweight Championship of the World
Jul 14 "Fireman" Jim Flynn        Los Angeles, Ca                  ND 10
          -Some sources report "D 10"
Oct  8 Willie Lewis               Philadelphia, Pa                 ND  6
          -Some sources report "Pittsburgh, Pa"
Nov 11 Frank Klaus                Pittsburgh, Pa                   ND  6

1910
Mar 19 Willie Lewis               Paris, Fr                        KO  3
          -Early sources report Middleweight Championship of the World
May 19 Joe Thomas                 San Francisco, Ca                KO 16
Jun 14 Al Goodale                 Kansas City, Mo                  KO  2
Jun 21 Jack "Twin" Sullivan       Boston, Ma                        W 12
Oct 25 Ed Williams                Sydney, NSW, Aus                 KO  6
          -Some sources report 10/26/10
Dec 26 Dave Smith                 Sydney, NSW, Aus                 LF 10
          -Early sources report Middleweight Championship of the World

1911
Feb 11 "Cyclone" Johnny Thompson  Sydney, NSW, Aus                  L 20
          -Early sources report Middleweight Championship of the World
Mar 11 Dave Smith                 Sydney, NSW, Aus                 KO  7
Jun  8 Jim Sullivan               London, Eng                      KO  9
Aug 22 Sailor Burke               New York, NY                     ND 10
Oct 31 Bob Moha                   Boston, Ma                        L 12

1912
Feb 22 Frank Mantell              Sacramento, Ca                    L 20
          -Some sources report 2/20/12;
          Early sources report Middleweight Championship of the World
May  2 Billy Leitch               New York, NY                     TK  2
Jun 29 Marcel Moreau              Paris, Fr                        TK 16
          -Early sources report Middleweight Championship of the World
Sep 25 Jack Denning               New York, NY                     ND 10
Sep 27 Leo Houck                  Philadelphia, Pa                 ND  6
Oct 23 Georges Carpentier         Paris, Fr                        WF 17
          -Early sources report Middleweight Championship of the World
           Some sources report "TK 18"
Dec  4 George Bernard             Paris, Fr                        TK  7
          -Early sources report Middleweight Championship of the World

1913
Mar  5 Frank Klaus                Paris, Fr                        LF 15
          -Middleweight Championship of the World
Oct 14 Marty Rowan                St. Louis, Mo                    ND  8
          -Some sources report "L 8"

1915
Jun  1 Jack Smith                 Brooklyn, NY                     ND 10
          -Some sources report 6/01/16

1918
Apr  6 Eddie McGoorty             Kewanee, Il                      EX  6
          -Some sources report "NC 6"

1919
Apr  8 Jacob "Soldier" Bartfield  San Francisco, Ca                 L  4

1932
Sep 22 "Fireman Jim Flynn"        Pasadena, Ca                     EX  3

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