Tuesday, May 3, 2016

On This Day: Hank Griffin: Heavyweight Contender

By Peter Silkov

Hank Griffin was one of the premier heavyweights of the 1890s, but because he was coloured, he was never able to gain a shot at the heavyweight championship.  Standing around 6’ feet 1”, (although some sources had him as being as much as 6’ feet 3” in height) Griffin was tall and slim, weighing around 180 pounds, with long arms, which he used cleverly in both offence and defence.  Griffin was strong, with a good punch, and also had a good boxing technique.  Griffin was born on January 1, 1870, in Austin, Texas, and had his first recorded professional fight in 1890.

During his career, Griffin met outstanding fighters such as Frank Childs, James J Jeffries, Joe Kennedy, Denver Ed Martin,  Jack Johnson, and Fred Russell.

In his most famous fights Griffin gave future World heavyweight champion, James J. Jeffries, one of his toughest fights in 1896, before being knocked out in the 14th round.

Griffin fought another future World heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson, 3 times between 1901 and 1902, winning their first contest on points over 20 rounds on November 4, 1901, then holding Johnson to a 15-round draw in their second fight one year later.  In their third and last fight on June 20, 1902, Griffin again held Johnson to a draw, this time, over 20 rounds.  Jack Johnson would later say in his autobiography that his fights with Hank Griffin were the hardest of his career.

Griffin’s final fight was on June 7, 1905, when he stopped Jake Brown in the 4th round. 

Copyright © 2016 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com


  1. There is no evidence of the first fight between Griffin and Jeffries, and no mention is made of it in reports of their second fight.

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