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Newspaper Page Text
WILLIE RITCHIE TELLS HOW HE CLIMBED THE
LADDER THAT LEAD TO CHAMPIONSHIP
The greatest knockouts ever scored by Willie Ritchie, lightweight box
ing champion of the world, were outside the squared ring.
His hottest battles were not with Wolgast and Rivers. They came long
before he got his belt.
They occurred when the tough members of the gang with whom He used
to run called him "sissy" for wearing a white collar; when he went through
the gruelling preliminaries against the vices that would have robbed him of
his ambition and his health.
In a remarkable series of human interest stories, Willie Ritchie is going
to tell Day Book readers the inside narrative of these significant battles
against ridicule, handicap and weakness.
This part of the boy champion's life has never been told in the report
Beginning with the following article, Ritchie will relate how he built
himself up into the world's lightweight champion from a puny, chicken
The story will appear day by day in the sport. You will find this s'eries
full of gripping human interest, even if you have never read a fight story
in your life.
BY WILLIE RITCHIE'
When I think of the puny lad I was
and my ambition to be, ajirizefightef ,
along about the time I laced on my
first glove, I have to smile. It seemed
a preposterous hope for a little runt
There I was, a skinny lad with a
chicken-breast, taking myself seri
ously as a future boxer' to the amuse
ment of the entire neighborhood. I
used to look at that chicken-breast in
the mirror and shake my head with
the feeling that I had been especially
singled out by black misfortune.
But I had ambition.
And I found that ambition can put
quick, thick muscles over bones as
well as accomplish other wonderful
We had fight for breakfast, lunch
and dinner in our neighborhood. To
box well was to be king-pin in the old
Mission district. And I wanted to be
That was about the time Jimmy
Britt was the idol of every boy in San
Francisco. There were other great
fighters beside Jimmy Eddie Han
Ion, Abe Attell, Frankie Neil and such
lesser lights as Harry Baker, Johnny
Murphy, Lew Powell and a score of
others. Boys with wonderful mus
cles; the envy of the skinny lads like
When they laughed at me, good
naturedly or with jeers, the older fel
lows, something way down deep un
der my ribs gdt busy making over
my body tq fit the fight game,
straightening out by breast It felt
hard as iron, that will, down there
near the solar plexus.
Often when I'm fighting nowadays
I feel it again like that like an iron
anchor when the blows are coming
hard as mule kicks and the crowd
seems against me..
That is a boy's most priceless pos
session. Call it" "ambition" or "will"
or "heart." But keep it unbroken if
you want to be a topnotcher in
school, in an office or in the prize
ring. I want every boy who reads this
to let that sink in deep. And remem
It is dissipation which most quickly
breaks this anchor. Giving up to bad
habits is like iron rust, eating away
the will power to get what you want