World Sports Hall of Fame 1925: Benny Leonard, Duke Kahanamoku, Jimmy Smith and Kalle Anttila

My choices for the 1925 Hall of Fame are:

Benny Leonard (USA – Boxing) – won the world lightweight title in 1917 and retained it until he retired in 1924.  In that period his only defeat was when he stepped up to welterweight to try and win the world title.  He came out of retirement in 1931 and won twenty fights.  A powerful puncher he won 183 fights and lost 24.  Many authorities regard him as one of the all-time greatest fighters and the best lightweight in history.

Duke Kahanamoku (USA – Swimming) – the winner of three Olympic gold medals from 1912 and 1920 in which he won and retained the 100m freestyle.  He set a world best by nearly five seconds in 1911 in the open sea in Hawaii.  He broke the world record for the 100m freestyle when winning his second Olympic gold and was in the gold medal and record breaking team in the 4 x 200m at those Games.  In total he set three world records at 100m and five world bests at 100 yards.  In 1924 he won silver at 100m.  He also represented the USA at water-polo and was influential in popularising surfing.

Jimmy Smith (USA – Ten Pin Bowling) – the first great bowler of the 20th century.  World champions were decided in challenge matches and in 1906 Smith declared himself champion after winning a match against Johnny Vorhies.  He defeated all challengers and toured the USA from 1910 to 1924 playing exhibition matches.  He gave up his claim to the title when losing over sixty games to Jimmy Blouin.

Kalle Anttila (Finland – Wrestling) – One of only three wrestlers to have won Olympic titles at both freestyle (in 1920 at lightweight) and Greco-Roman (1924 featherweight) styles. He also won world titles at Greco-Roman wrestling in 1921 and 1922.




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