Philly Boxing History

JANUARY 15, 1940


Takes Pennsylvania   Lightweight Crown

On this day in 1940, Tommy Speigal regained the Pennsylvania Lightweight Championship from Billy Maher, before 7,000 fans at the Philadelphia Arena. 

Speigal toughed his way to the title. He took everything that the cleaner-punching Maher had to offer (like the left shown in the photo), only to bully his way inside. Speigal clutched and grabbed, and popped Maher with countless short right-hand punches over the top. He was relentless.   

But after starting quickly in the first two rounds, Speigal began scratching his head for a stretch, as Maher started coming on and taking the better of it for several sessions. The pro-Maher crowd loved it, as their man took the lead and seemed to have things in hand. But Speigal, who lost this same title to Maher just about one month before, brought the battle into the trenches. They traded and struggled evenly in the middle portion of the fight, but Speigal's hard-boiled tactics began to pay off. Maher began to tire, and Speigal, slightly behind on the scorecards, rallied in the final four rounds. It was this final surge that sealed the close but unanimous victory for Speigal (7 rounds to 5). The newspaper accounts of the day called the fight a "savage, rough and tumble" battle.

Leading up to, and including this fight, the PA Lightweight Title had been like a hot potato, changing hands 4 times in just 3 months.  On October 23, 1939, Bob Montgomery won the vacant crown in a fight with Mike Evans. A month later, Speigal took a controversial decision over Montgomery to wrest the title. About one month after that, Maher claimed the prize by beating Speigal. 25 days later, Speigal regained the title over Maher, in the fight we celebrate today. 


  1932 - Leroy Haynes KO5 Jack Silva at San Francisco, CA

  1958 - Vince Martinez W12 Gil Turner at the Arena in West Philly
  1958 - Len Matthews KO3 Milton Ferguson at the Arena in West Philly (Matthews' 5th fight)
  1959 - Paul Armstead W10 Len Matthews at Hollywood, CA (Matthews' 1st loss)
  1972 - Joe Frazier TKO4 Terry Daniels at New Orleans, LA for the World Heavyweight Title
  1973 - Sammy Goss KO2 Raul Cruz at the Spectrum in South Philly
  1954 - Roger Stafford
  1965 - Bernard Hopkins
  2001 - Tommy Forte
  2021 - Tyrone Crawley (62)