Henry “Homicide Hank” Armstrong Boxing’s 3 Belt Holder!

By Boxing News - 04/03/2023 - Comments

By Ken Hissner: Born Henry Jackson in Columbus, Mississippi, he took the last name Armstrong from friend Harry Armstrong, who became his friend, mentor, and trainer at the YMCA in St. Louis. They moved to Los Angeles, California.

Armstrong turned pro in 1931, losing three of his first four fights. Who thought he would someday hold three world titles at the same time? In his fifth fight in December of 1932, he defeated Gene Espinosa, 17-9-3, going 9-0-1 before losing again.

Going ahead, Armstrong, in November of 1935, would win his first major fight defeating Midget Wolgast, 151-18-12 over ten rounds in Oakland, CA, improving his record to 39-8-7.

On Armstrong’s way to winning a world title in October of 1937, he defeated such fighters as Tony Chavez, 57-19-26, in January of 1937, whom he had lost by DQ two fights previously. In March, Armstrong stopped Mike Belloise, 52-6-5; in July, Benny Bass, 186-38-9, won a total of twenty-two fights that year before winning the first world fighter in October, knocking out Petey Sarron, 107-22-13, at Madison Square Garden for the world Featherweight title.

Armstrong would move up in weight by stopping Billy Beauhuld, 39-0-4, stopping former world champion Chalky Wright, 89-21-17, Everette Rightmire, 108-10-14, defeating Baby Arizmendi, 80-15-13, Lew Feldman, 96-38-15.

In May of 1938, Armstrong would win the world welterweight title defeating Barney Ross, 74-3-3, at the Madison Square Garden Bowl, Long Island City, Queens, New York, while still holding the featherweight title, improving his record to 88-11-7, putting Ross into retirement. Armstrong only weighed 133 ½, compared to the 142 that Ross weighed.

In Armstrong’s next fight in August of 1938, he won the world lightweight title defeating Lou Ambers, 75-5-7, at Madison Square Garden, New York. This would be his holding three world title fights at the same time.

Armstrong would make welterweight title defenses over such fighters as Ceferino Garcia, 104-23-12, Bobby Pacho, 115-48-19, and both lightweight and welterweight defenses stopping Lew Feldman, 104-45-16, in March of 1939 in the first round.

In August of 1939, Armstrong lost his lightweight title to Lou Ambers, 84-6-7, at Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York. He would go onto defend his welterweight title eight times before a rematch draw with Ceferino Garcia, 115-25-12, in March of 1940.

Armstrong won his next five fights before losing back-to-back fights to Fritzie Zivic, 100-24-5, in October of 1940 at Madison Square Garden for his welterweight title.

In August of 1943, Armstrong, with a 132-17-8 record, lost to possibly the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all-time “Sugar” Ray Robinson, 44-1, at Madison Square Garden, New York.

In February of 1945, Armstrong had his final fight losing to Charley Slider, 37-18-12, in Oakland, CA, finishing his career with a 149-21-10 record with 99 knockouts. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.

After Armstrong quit, he became an ordained minister and devoted himself to underprivileged children. In his book, in Boxing’s Greatest Fighters, historian Burt Sugar ranked Armstrong as the second greatest fighter of all time, behind “Sugar” Ray Robinson.