Philly Boxing History

APRIL 12, 1948



On this day in 1948, Jimmy Bivins, the Cleveland Cleaver, knocked out Billy "Chicken" Thompson at the Philadelphia Arena. The newspaper reports of the day described the fight as a brutal one-sided slaughter. The bout ended in round seven when referee Charley Daggert called an end after Thompson went down for the second time in the round and the sixth time overall. Bivins hammered away at his opponent and succeeded at everything he tried. Chicken showed a valiant heart but little else as he failed to land solidly in the entire bout.

Jimmy Bivins was a superb fighting machine who dreamed of facing Joe Louis for the world heavyweight championship. Although he was named the "Duration Champ" while Louis served in the Army, he didn't face the Brown Bomber until Joe was an ex-champion. Still Louis won the decision. Bivins entered the Hall of Fame in 1999 with a record of 86-25-1 (31 KO).

Chicken Thompson died of ring injuries after his next bout (vs. Johnny Haynes), later that same year. He was just 21. 


  1924 - Jimmy Sacco W10 Nate Goldman at the Armory A.C. in Philadelphia

  1926 - Johnny Jadick W6 Young Joe Souza at Philadelphia
  1927 - Ace Hudkins W10 Lew Tendler at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles
  1935 - Benny Bass W10 Mike Marshall at the Cambria A.C. in NE Philly (Kensington)
  1946 - Johnny Cesario W10 George LaRover at Boston, MA
  1951 - Carmen Basilio W10 Eddie Giosa at the Syracuse State Fair Coliseum
  1951 - Joey Giardello W8 Roy Wouters at the Met in North Philly
  1956 - Jimmy Soo W8 Ray Portilla at the Cambria A.C. in NE Philly (Kensington)
  1962 - George Benton KO2 Rudolph Bent at the Blue Horizon in North Philly
  1965 - George Benton KO7 Larry Barrett at the Philadelphia A.C. in North Philly
  1978 - Clyde Gray KO5 Alfonso Hayman at the Metro Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia
  1954 - Marvin Johnson