Eddie Morgan’s Great War: Welsh boxers in World War I

As part of a series looking at the history of the most prominent Welsh boxers during World War I, we consider the experiences of Eddie Morgan.

Johnny Kilbane

Eddie  Morgan faced Johnny Kilbane three times

Eddie Morgan is one of the forgotten greats of Welsh boxing, the Morgantown man spending much of his career in the States.

He impressed in his first cross-Atlantic stint in 1912, but failed in his pursuit of a shot at world featherweight champion Johnny Kilbane’s crown.

Morgan returned home but, with war looming in 1914, he took the route chosen by Freddie Welsh, heading back across the Atlantic where he could avoid the war and make a lucrative career from his chosen profession.

Although probably past his best by this stage, Morgan secured repeated huge, high-profile bouts through the war years, facing the likes of Pal Moore and Rocky Kansas.

Most famously he engaged world champion Kilbane in two no-decision bouts in January and February 1915.

US journalists claimed that Kilbane won the first while British reporters said the exact opposite, but all agree that it was a stunning fight.

The victory seems to have been more clearly in the champion’s favour in the second bout.

Morgan fought on in the States until 1925 with ever-diminishing levels of success, including dropping a third decision to Kilbane in 1919.

According to his grandson James McCarthy the decline in his career was accompanied by gambling and drink problems.

“My father said he [Eddie Morgan] was on the booze, lost all his money and died on the street in Philadelphia,” McCarthy told Wales Online. “He died in the gutter.”

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