Luis Angel Firpo
On October 11, 1894, Luis Angel Firpo was born in Junin, Argentina. He made his professional boxing debut against Frank Hagney, whom he defeated. He advanced to the South American Heavyweight Championship match of 1919 to face Dave Mills. Although Firpo lost, he redeemed himself the following year in a rematch to clench the title. Firpo’s talent increased, and so did the skill level of his opponents.
In 1923, Firpo faced Jack Dempsey for the heavyweight title, becoming the first Latin American to contend for the title. The fight was exceptional, according to critics and experts, but Firpo lost to Dempsey. The match, though, earned Firpo overwhelming support in Latin America. After a brief retirement from the ring, Firpo returned in 1926 to defeat Erminio Spalla. This was again followed by a ten-year hiatus. In 1936 he fought three matches and then retired permanently with a record of 32 wins, 26 by knockout, out of 38 fights. He passed away in 1960.