Journal of Combative Sport, Nov 2007  
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Death under the Spotlight:
The Manuel Velazquez Boxing Fatality Collection

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Ralph Thomas (1895-1924)

Text copyright © EJMAS 2007. Image courtesy Ralph Thomas. All rights reserved. Please submit additions or corrections to Joseph Svinth at

Ralph Thomas, 1895-1924 boxer


Fatal bout: October 27, 1924
Date of death: October 27, 1924
Cause of death: Acute dilation of the heart

From 1921-1923, Thomas, an Italian immigrant who changed his name in the USA, played semi-pro football for a Cleveland, Ohio, factory team called the Favorite Knits. Following the 1923 football season, he moved to New York, where he took up boxing. In New York, he had at least one prior pro fight (against Mickey Crusco, in March 1924). His day job was as a plumber, and he worked the day of the fatal fight. He was not scheduled to fight that night; instead, he volunteered to fill in for a boxer who did not show up. During the first round of the fight, the match was relatively even, but during the second round, Thomas was hit hard under the heart. Thomas backed up, and then suddenly collapsed. He was counted out and failed to revive. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. Cause of death was listed as acute dilation of the heart.

Sources: New York Times, October 28, 1924, 19; New York Times, October 29, 1924; e-mail from Ralph Thomas (the deceased's nephew), November 24, 2006


Professional record before fatal bout : 0 wins, 1 loss, 0 draws

Promoter of last fight: Columbus Athletic Club
Last fight location: Yonkers Armory, on Waverly Street, in Yonkers, New York
Opponent: Alberto Icochea
Best weight: Middleweight
Aliases: Ralph Tomasa
Trainer: Tommy Furey

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JCS Nov 2007