HARRY GREB VS. JOHNNY WILSON
#1- AUGUST 31, 1923 -----------#2-
JANUARY 18, 1924
-Round by Round description
at bottom of page-
Greb's victory over Johnny Wilson, the middlweight champion
in 1923, was a masterpiece of not only fighting, but acting. Wilson was
not the brightest of fighters, by any means, so greb took advantage of him.
"The sonovabitch stayed champion three years by keeping away from me,"
said Harry resentfully and truthfully. "I'll fix him!"
Enlisting the aid of some New York bartenders, all of whom
liked him, Harry spent hours drinking colored water and acting like a drunk.
The news got around that he was "training" as usual, and finally
reached the ears of Wilson. Johnny said to his manager, "Now's the
time for me to fight that bum. The only time."
So they were matched, with Wilson certain that Greb was
in such terrible condition that he'd be carted out of the ring in a strecher.
Greb, well-rested and full of energy, nearly murdered the
astounded champion, who felt lucky to emerge from the 15-round assault alive.
-----from Boxing Illustrated/Wrestling News Nov. 1960
-written by Stanley Weston
Harry poses with Johnny Wilson, announcer Joe Humphries,
and referee Jack O'Sullivan before contesting the title on August 31, 1923
in New York.
Also in 1923 against Johnny Wilson
This is an August 31, 1923 original press
photo from Pacific and Atlantic Photos Inc taken at the Polo Grounds in
New York of Harry Greb vs. Johnny Wilson in one of their many clinches during
the middleweight championship fight.
Unrestrained actions of joy when greb won the middleweight
HARRY GREB VS. JOHNNY WILSON
AUGUST 31, 1923
-Round by Round description-
Record book Info
Booklet's Name: Everlast Boxing Record
Date Printed: 1924 issue
Published by: Everlast Sport Publishing Co.
Harry Greb became the world's middleweight champion on the night of August
31, 1923, at the Polo Grounds, New York City, when he was awarded a decision
over Johnny Wilson, who held the title since 1920...Greb has been in the
fistic limelight for many years. The title was the second Greb had earned,
as he was the American light heavyweight champion before shorn of his laurels
by Gene Tunney.
He had won the American light heavyweight championship from Gene Tunney
in May, 1922, only to lose it again to Gene last February.
He has been boxing for more than ten years. Harry was born in PittsburghJune
7, 1894. He has fought about 200, and has suffered but one knockout in his
long career. That K.O. was recieved at the hands of Joe Chip during the
first year Greb was boxing.
The fight by rounds follows:
Greb rushed out of his corner in the first round. Wilson met him with
a left to head and right to body. As Greb went into one of those tigerish
clinches. Wilson ripped a hard left to body. Greb retorted with a right
to the jaw and rushed Wilson to the ropes, where he landed another hard
right to the head. Wilson rushed, landing two lefts in rapid succession,
one to the head and one to the body. Three times they rushed into clinches
and in the last one Greb shot a hard uppercut to Wilson's jaw. Again in
a clinch, Greb held Wilson's head with his left and hammered away with his
Wilson came out eagerly for the second, but ran into a right hook. Greb
tried to get in close, but Wilson lashed him back. Greb sent Wilson's head
back with a hard right uppercut. As Greb rushed, Wilson drove him back with
a stiff left. Greb wavered, but came on, driving Wilson to the ropes. Another
left hook from Greb jolted Wilson considerably. As Wilson missed a long
swing, Greb grinned and hooked a left to the champions jaw . Greb seemed
to have a shade of the second round.
Greb came out smiling in the third and drove Wilson into a nuetral corner.
Greb seemed all confidence, while Wilson looked harassed and worried. Greb
shot a hard right to Wilson 's body, causing the champion to clinch. Wilson
swung a hard right to Greb's jaw, but the only sign Greb gave was a grin.
Greb landed a left low and was warned by referee O'Sullivan. A moment later
Wilson landed a low left. Both were playing for the body and were hitting
dangerously close to the foul line.
Greb started the fourth by landing a a right over Wilson's heart. Greb
drove Wilson to the ropes, landing solid right and lefts to the face.
At this point a fight in the crowd in the left field bleachers drew all
attention from the ring. Greb continued to force the fighting and Wilsons
very prominent nose became bulbous and swollen. Wilson landed a left to
the body, but Greb immediately rushed him to the ropes. As they came out
Wilson landed a long left to body, but Greb only grinned.
Greb came out of his corner to begin the fifth wearing the same scornful
smile. After a series of brief clinches he rushed Wilson to the ropes and
almost threw him. Greb began to walk arround the champion as though looking
for an opening. Wilson seemed utterly bewildered. Greb showered Wilsons
head with rights and lefts and again jammed him against the ropes. Referee
O'Sullivan had plenty of work prying them loose from the clinches.
They started the sixth by exchanging rights and lefts at long range and
then went into the inevitable clinch. Greb finally measured Wilson and brought
over a hard right to the jaw, but the blow seemed to make no impression.
Wilson's seconds shouted for him to step in; he did, but it was into a clinch.
Every time Greb shifted his feet Wilson covered in bewilderness.
They opened the seventh by peering intently at each other at long range,
then the clinching started as usual. Wilson landed his left to the body
twice and Greb ducked under a left swing and swung a right to Wilsons body.
There was a loud smack as Greb hung a hard right on Wilsons jaw, but it
seemed to make no impression. Wilson retorted with a left to Grebs jaw and
another left, hard, to the body as the bell rang.
Greb rushed out at the start of the eighth and planted a hard left to
Wilsons ribs. Just before they rushed into a clinch Greb hung a right
on Wilsons eye, which began to swell. Greb quickened the pace and shot a
volley of rights and lefts to Wilsons head. Wilson was just a little
short with a right uppercut to Grebs jaw. Greb hammered two rights to the
body and shot a right uppercut to the jaw. He followed this with more
rights and lefts that had Wilson bewildered at the bell.
Greb started the ninth with a right to the jaw and Wilson went into a
clinch. The champion seemed very depressed. Greb drove him to the ropes
with a right to the body and left to the head. Greb missed a lunge with
his right and slipped to his knees. He was up in an instant. Greb landed
another hard right to Wilsons ribs and it sounded like the beat of a bass
drum. Wilson landed two light lefts and recieved a very healthy right to
the head from greb as the bell rang.
There was a loud howl from the multitude as Greb landed a hard right
to Wilsons overhanging nose. Wilson held on as Greb showered the champions
beak with rights and lefts. At this point Wilson seemed very content
to cover up. Suddenly Wilson came to and landed two straight lefts to Greb's
The taunts of the crowd seemed to rouse wilson and he shot two more
lefts to Grebs body. Greb seemed to become deliberate in his punching.
He moved around Wilson looking for a chance to land one that would end it.
Wilson landed a very low left, but Greb made no complaint. Instead he measured
Wilson and shot a hard right to Wilson's jaw.
Wilsons seconds shouted, "Let's go!" as the twelfth started,
but Wilson did not go very far, as Greb hung a hard right on Wilsons sore
eye. The champion was fighting very sluggishly. If he realized that
his title was slipping he did not appear to care very much. One clinch followed
another, and Greb had all the better of the in-fighting. The round, like
the rest of the fight, was just one clinch after another.
The pair started the thirteenth with impersonations of Strangler Lewis.
Suddenly Wilson seemed to show a flash and rushed in, planting two lefts
to Grebs ribs. Greb quickly evened this this up during the in-fighting and
Wilson became listless and bewildered again. Toward the end of the round
Wilson rammed a hard left to greb's ribs. Wilson tried to lash himself into
a fury, but Greb forced him into a neutral corner with lefts and rights
to the head.
Wilson came out for the fourteenth with his left eye practically closed.
Greb ran in, shooting rights to the body and whipping more up to the sore
eye, with a hard right to the jaw. Greb continued to do all the landing
in this round. They seemed to realize in Wilsons corner that the title
was passing and were shouting hysterically to their man.
Wilson seemed ready to take a desperate chance in the fifteenth, but
was met with a hard right to the head. Greb followed this with another right
and left to the body. Greb was fresh and alert, while Wilson still seemed
bewildered. There was a smile of confidence on Grebs face. He seemed to
feel that he was a winner. Greb landed a hard right to the body and Wilson
held him convulsively. Greb continued to press in and now it was Wilson
who seemed to be doing the holding. The champion threw a hard right to grebs
head at the end. Greb threw his arms around Wilsons shoulders at the end.
He seemed to know that he had won.