A fine professional lightweight boxer in the early years of the 20th century, he retired to Cleveland and opened a gymnasium on the city’s West Side which was to produce some of the nation’s best fighters under his tutelage. His first renowned pupil was Johnny Kilbane who won the world featherweight title in 1912 and retained his championship for 11 years. Two other Dunn-trained boxers, bantamweight Carl Tremaine and middleweight Bryan Downey, fought the reigning world champions and are members of the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame.
Won the national AAU bantamweight championship in 1923 to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team. Competed in the Olympics in Paris in 1924. Won Cleveland and Ohio bantamweight titles in 1922 and 1923. Went undefeated during his climb to his local, state and AAU crowns.
Cleveland’s flyweight champion in 1920, 1921 and 1922, he earned the right to compete in the National AAU Boxing Tournament in Boston in 1923. Fought his way to the semi-finals of that tournament before losing a split decision to Fidel Labarbra who went on to win the AAU crown, the 1924 Olympic championship and eventually the world professional flyweight title.
Built a 40-0 record as an amateur boxer during World War 1, then turned professional, meeting many of the great fighters of his time. Defeated Willie Jackson shortly before Jackson KOed Johnny Dundee. Also defeated English Featherweight champion Joey Fox. In 1920 he met Johnny Kilbane for the featherweight title in a memorable match staged at League Park. With more than 14,000 fans looking on, Root staggered Kilbane in the fourth round, but Kilbane rallied to win a decision. It was Root’s last fight.
A rugged lightweight who came out of Cleveland’s “Little Italy” to face some of the finest fighters of his era. Among those he fought were three world champions: Tony Canzonneri, Barney Ross and Jimmy McLaren. He defeated Mclaren, the former lightweight champion, in a match in Los Angeles on March 17, 1926.
An outstanding boxing coach and trainer for 20 years, he developed many topnotch amateurs who went on to win Cleveland Golden Gloves titles, National Golden Gloves, and National AAU Boxing titles. Helped organize Cleveland Amateur Boxing Trainers Association and was its first president.
First Cleveland amateur to be named to the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team. Earned this honor 1920. Was Cleveland’s top 118-pounder from 1917 through 1920 and was undefeated both in the city and the State of Ohio during this period.
One of the outstanding boxers of the late 1930s and 1940s. Fought and defeated such outstanding boxers as Joe Maxim, Ezzard Charles and light heavyweight champions Anton Christoforidis and Melio Bettina. When Heavyweight Champion Joe Louis entered the armed service he declared Bivins as his successor “for the duration.”
As a coach in several different sports and then as a leader in the Police Athletic League programs, he has served untold numbers of youth. While Golden Gloves and Amateur Boxing have been the particular focus of his interest, he has also provided leadership in a broad spectrum of youth oriented sports activity. His responsibilities have also extended to leadership at the national level.
A skilled fighter, he contested in the finals for the National Golden Gloves title in 1929. Ring Magazine and Everlast Boxing Record included him in the world professional rankings in 1935. The Jewish Star of David on his trunks became his well known symbol as he fought some of the best including Tony Falco, Izzy Janazzo, Sammy Mandell, Jimmy Leto and Cocoa Kid.
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