An English fighter in the 1900s and 1910s, Wells was the British amateur lightweight champion from 1905-1907. After turning profesional, he then won the world welterweight title in 1914.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. December 14, 1886 - d. July 8, 1953
Wells began boxing as an amateur in 1903, and won three consecutive British amateur lightweight titles from 1905-1907. In 1908, Wells was the first boxer chosen to represent Great Britain at the Olympics. During the Games, he was persuaded by a teammate to sip "some good old English Burton" to calm his nerves. Wells swallowed a quart of the stuff, but still managed to win his first match against opponent Waldemar Holberg of Denmark. In Wells' next match, in which he was still less than sober, he lost to fellow Englishman Fred Grace (whom he had defeated for the 1907 British title), who went on to capture the gold medal.
In 1909, he turned professional and won both his bouts that year. After remaining undefeated in 1910, Wells fought future world lightweight champion Freddie Welsh for the British title. On February 27, 1911, Wells defeated Welsh in a 20-round decision to add his first professional title to his collection of amateur championships. After winning the title, Wells travelled to the United States in 1911 and fought the great featherweight champion Abe Attell; the bout ended in a no decision. Wells remained in North America until July 1912 and went undefeated during his tour.
When he returned to England, Wells did not have the same success and lost to Hughie Mehegan on a foul in the 14th-round in September 1912 (it was his first loss in 27 career fights). His next fight, on November 11, 1912, was a rematch with Welsh for the British lightweight title and this time, Wells lost a 20-round decision. Wells bounced back in 1913 though, defeating Mehegan twice in 20-round decisions. The second fight took place in Australia, where Wells fought for the next year, until he battled Tom McCormick for the world welterweight title (the bout was also for the British and British Empire lightweight titles as well). On March 21, 1914 in Sydney, Australia, Wells defeated McCormick to capture the title in a 20-round decision.
After winning the world title, Wells immediately left Australia and next fought in England in October 1914. He won two of three fights before he defended his title against Mike Glover in June 1915. The bout took place in Boston, Massachusetts, near Glover's hometown of Lawrence, and went the full 12-rounds, but Wells lost the decision. After losing the title, he remained in the United States and fought in such places as New York, Milwaukee, Akron, Kansas City, and New Haven, among others. Wells lost two decisions to the great Johnny Dundee in the mid-1910s before returning to England in 1918.
Wells did not fight as often when he returned to England, but he continued to battle against the top boxers. In December 1919, he fought Hall of Famer Ted "Kid" Lewis and was knocked out in the 12th-round in London. Wells continued to fight until 1922 and retired with 28 wins in 47 career decisions.
5'4", 133-147 pounds
Wins: 28 (7 by knockout)
No decisions: 28
No contests: 1
Use links below to navigate through the boxing section of Jews In Sports.
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co, 1965)