Willie "KO" Brennan
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Willie "KO" Brennan is often refered to in
the record books as willie Brennan or KO Brennan. His real name was William
Brenner. He fought Hall of Fame greats Mike Gibbons, Harry Greb, Ted Kid
Lewis and Jack Britton. He also fought tuff middleweight champions Al McCoy,
George Chip and Frank Mantell.
He battled for the middleweight championship on Oct
19, 1914 against Al McCoy. It took place in Buffalo New York where Brennan
was based out of at the time. Al McCoy weighed 158 lbs. for the fight and
Brennan weighed 157. Brennan lost the fight which was a No Decision 10 rounder.
The following is taken from the "Buffalo Veteran Boxers
Association" website. http://esf.uvm.edu/vtbox/buffbanq.htm
Willie "KO" Brennan: Middleweight 1905-22: Perhaps the best
fighter in Buffalo during the years of 1910-20 was a man by the name of
William M. Brenner, who fought under the name Willie "KO" Brennan,
so as to draw on the Irish-American's love for boxing.
A list of Brennan's opponents during this period reads
like a boxing Who's Who. He traded punches with eight world champions and
many top contenders of his day. He fought Harry Greb three times in no decision
bouts, two of which were in a ten day span in 1916. Greb later remarked
that "those fights with that Dutchman were some of the toughest I've
had." Brennans' best fighting weight was 154, but he made 148 ringside
for Ted "Kid" Lewis, Jack Britton, Jimmy Duffy, and Kid Curley.
As young men Brennan and Herman Smith went to Coney Island
in 1909, where they waited on tables, and fought whenever they could get
bouts. Many of these fights were unrecorded, but Brannan scored 31 KOs in
his first 40 fights and thus got his nickname. By 1912 "Kayo"
was fighting top contenders such as Mike Gibbons and George Chip. Brennan's
fight with Chip was considered one of the best bouts ever witnessed in Buffalo,
as they went at each other like two wildcats for 10 rounds. Less than a
year later Chip knocked out Frankie Klaus to win the world middleweight
No one knows for sure how many professional fights Willie
had, but it had to be well over 175 bouts, not counting those he had in
the Service. His 1914 record shows that he fought a "suicide"
schedule of six bouts in eight nights and six different cities. Fighting
in Philadelphia, Buffalo, and Columbus, Ohio, Brennan then took the train
back to Buffalo for the weekend, and then shoved off for Windsor, Ontario,
Cincinnati, Ohio and Joplin, Missouri, where he fought on three successive
K.O. Brennan's fighting career was interrupted by WWI,
where he served in the Army overseas for 2.5 years in 1917-19. He came back
to resume boxing in 1920, but at age 32 he only fought a few more times.
He claimed he had over 300 fights and was never knocked down.
After Willie retired from the ring he refereed wrestling
matches, and operated taverns bearing his name, first at Broadway and Jefferson
Avenue, and later at Jefferson and East Ferry Street. He loved hunting and
fishing, and at one time belonged to six different clubs. Kayo Brennan died
in 1975 at age 87.
Tale Of The Tape
Real name: William Brenner
Born: Feb 4, 1888
Height: 5 ft. 5.5 in.
Based out of Buffalo, N.Y.
Weight: 150-157 lbs.
Reach: 72 in.
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