Heeney versus Tunney

I continue to love the photo pages of Toronto Daily Star newspapers from the 1920s and 1930s. Here’s a photo of boxer Tom Heeney preparing for a heavyweight championship bout, from the May 25 1928 edition:


Tom Heeney (1898-1984) was actually from New Zealand, not Australia, but the confusion is understandable – he won the Australian heavyweight title in 1922, after having previously won the New Zealand title.

Heeney lost his bout with Gene Tunney, but life didn’t end there for him – he got married a week after the fight, became an American citizen, served in the U. S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps during the Second World War, and often went fishing with his friend Ernest Hemingway.

Gene Tunney (1897-1978) retired as heavyweight champion after his fight with Heeney. Impressively, he was never knocked out, and was only knocked down once, by Jack Dempsey in the famous Long Count fight of 1927.

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