Billy Conn

Name: Billy Conn
Career Record: click
Alias: Pittsburgh Kid
Birth Name: William David Conn
Nationality: US American
Birthplace: East Liberty, PA, USA
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Born: 1917-10-08
Died: 1993-05-29
Age at Death: 75
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 6′ 1½″
Reach: 184
Manager: Johnny Ray


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Written by Rob Snell   
Thursday, 02 September 2010
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Widnes & Runcorn
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30 October 2002

Reid still on track for title shot

RUNCORN boxing star Robin Reid will finally return to top of the bill next month in a bid to stake his claim for a shot at the WBC championship, World Sport can reveal.

He will be back in action for a 10-round international match-up at the Liverpool Olympia on Friday, November 29.
His opponent has yet to be decided but it has been announced that he will share the limelight with former WBU flyweight champ, Paul Culshaw.
It will be only the fourth fight in a year for Reid who still has his sights set on challenging Eric Lucas for his WBC super-middleweight belt in the new year.

It was originally hoped that The Reaper, current WBF champ and ranked fifth in the Independent World Boxing Rankings, would face the French Canadian before Christmas.

But the showdown was set back so that Lucas could defend his title against the promising German youngster, Markus Beyer.
"Lucas has to face Beyer and once he's got that out of the way we can sit down and negotiate," said Reid's promoter Jess Harding, who also told World Sport he was still in talks with the BBC over a deal to increase the his televised coverage.

The 31-year-old fighter - a 1992 Olympics bronze medallist - last fought in a tough 12-round bout in July on Audley Harrison's undercard against Argentinean challenger, Francisco Mora. It was his first match-up following a throat operation in May.

But Harding now wants him top of the telly bill, too. "We're getting there slowly but surely," he said, "but it's not a sports channel, it's a public broadcaster, so we have to deliver fights of quality as opposed to quantity. "Robin needs his own vehicle. With us he's had seven fights and seven wins so we're heading in the right direction. But he needs a big fight - and he needs it now."

l Liverpudlian Paul Culshaw looks set to become the city's first two-weight champion when he takes on South African flyweight champ Ncedo Cecane for the vacant WBF Super-flyweight title.

"To become world champion in separate weight divisions is a feat very few boxers achieve and to be given this opportunity in a fight in my home town is incredible," he said.

Others on the undercard include mandatory challenger for the British middleweight championship, Delroy Leslie, Tony Moran and Gary Davis who have been fighting on Audley Harrison's bill, Bootles Ray Wood and fellow scouser, Lee Molloy.

19 December 2002


Champ at last

AS WIDNES boxer Liam Kavanagh stepped up for round two in the National Senior Novice Championship final, he turned to his long-time coach Jack Ryan and vowed: "I'm going to win this."

Two minutes later, he had, ending months of preparation and disappointment that have seen him receive walkovers in every round of the competition.
The 23-year-old light welterwight has not had to fight one opponent in the run up to the final, last Saturday, against the Army's Dean Hardy, but made his patience pay-off - and a dream come true.

His coaches at Widnes Boxing Club, Ryan and his assistant Wayne Booth, will have had fears that their fighter would be a little ring rusty going into the bout, fears that were no doubt compounded when Kavanagh hit the floor halfway through the first.

"He was a bit cold when he went out there and he got caught in the middle of the round," explained Ryan. "He took the count and got up, but you could see his legs were like rubber.   "We just shook our heads, we'd thought he'd had it. How he survived that was through sheer fitness.
"At the end of the round, we got him back in our corner and had him cleared up - and when he went back out, he turned around and said, 'Jack, I'm going to win this'."

What followed was the most important three minutes of Kavanagh's amateur career so far. Noticing his opponent was open to body shots, he pummelled Hardy with a combination of clever body punches before unleashing a right hook to the chin to leave the soldier out for the count.
Liam told World Sport on Monday: "I was absolutely made up. It was a great fight.

"He Hardy told me after the fight that he knew I hadn't fought for a bit and he'd tried to catch me cold...but I didn't rush I just gave him enough rope to hang himself.   "He was one of the biggest hitters I have been in with and I've now proved I can mix it with the best of them. I ended the final with a knock out - and you can't do much better than that."

The win was testament to the hard work the boxer has put in during the season, working with Booth practically every day. And, despite the constant disappointment of walkovers, Ryan still believes there is no one fitter in the amateur sport.

"Wayne on the pads has been amazing and both he and Jack have had to deal with all the ups and downs. There have been times when I've asked myself if it's all worth it - and it was," added the jubilant boxer.

"Apart from winning the title, which I've now done, I've always wanted to represent England. Hopefully this win will raise my profile. The lads in the team have been fighting at that level for years, I've got to just get in there."

And as well as recognition on a national level, Jack Ryan also feels the local one should be just as great. "Widnes should be proud of its champ," he said. "The kids at the club go mad to have a spar with him - he's a hero to them."


8 January 2003

Jack honoured for his dedication to boxing

LOCAL boxing supremo Jack Ryan this week spoke of his delight after being presented with a special Lifetime Achievement Award by Halton Council.
The coach was handed the prize by Halton councillor, Eddie Jones, while watching his beloved Widnes Vikings during their Boxing Day friendly clash with Warrington Wolves.

It comes after more than 40 years of work in the community by Jack, now 74, who runs the Widnes Boxing Club, off the newly renovated Victoria Square.

"I was very proud to receive it. It made my Christmas," Jack told the World. "The club and the work we do there is what keeps me going."
The award brought to an end an unforgettable year for the former prizefighter.

Just weeks earlier he had seen his top student - 23-year-old light welterweight Liam Kavanagh - romp to victory in the National Amateur Championships.   "It has been the highlight of my career," added Jack.


29 January 2003


Liam KO'd by tropical punch

WIDNES boxer Liam Kavanagh tasted defeat in his first representation match last week when he took on teenager Kitson Julie.
The 23-year-old was knocked out in a disasterous first round at the Huddersfield Civic Centre last Friday.

The light welterweight bout, in which Kavanagh represented the north west, was part of a national tour by 19-year-old Julie and fellow fighters from the Seychelles.

His defeat came after an apparent trip by the British novice champion, who was more than surprised when he was given a standing count by the referee.

"Liam was upset and started to argue with the ref, which you shouldn't do, so the ref told him off," his coach, Jack Ryan, told World Sport.
He said that the row seemed to distract Kavanagh, who was immediately caught with "a lovely right cross on the chin. It was beautiful," explained Ryan.

And after another standing count, Julie took his chance and charged his opponent with three swings, one landing directly on Kavanagh's temple for the knock out blow.

The Widnes Boxing Club star was later cleared by ringside doctors but was still barred from competing or sparring for 28 days.
Ryan added: "It's a shame he got beat but he should be proud he was a representative. There is a long way to go but it is a step up the ladder.
"He should put it down to experience."



23 April 2003


Kid gloves

YOUNG Widnes boxer, Robert Crew, who followed his father's footsteps into the ring, has won his first bout on points.   The 14-year-old successfully out-punched his Birkenhead opponent for a unanimous verdict at a recent show at Stockbridge's Heatwave Leisure Centre.

It was third time lucky for the teen, who had already missed out on chances to make his debut in Warrington and Wallasey.
Coached by Jack Ryan at Widnes Boxing Club, Crew remained undeterred though and continued to spar with am champ, Liam Kavanagh, in preparation.

"There must have been 15 friends and relatives there to shout him on," said Ryan. "It was his first contest but he showed he's got it in him."
He went on: "In the first round they were fighting each other out, so there wasn't much action. I told him he had to do a lot more and throw a lot more punches.

"In the last round he threw punches non-stop and I think that what got him the verdict."
Malcolm Crew, Robert's dad, also fought at amateur level under coach Derek Strong at his La Porte club in the 1960s and 1970s.



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