October 15, 1901 - October 26, 1970
Kid Kaplan (born Louis Kaplan), better known as Kid Kaplan, was a successful professional boxer in the American featherweight division in the first quarter of the XX century. He is often described as one of the greatest Ukrainian boxers of all time.
Kid Kaplan - the Meridien Buzzsaw
Luis Kaplan), better known as Kid Kaplan, was born in a Jewish family in Kiev, Ukraine, then - a province in the Russian empire. He and his family emigrated to the United States when he was five years old and settled in Meriden, Connecticut.
As a boy, Louis was selling fruit for five cents a day, earning a living.
He began boxing as a teenager at the Lenox Athletic Club in Meriden, and very soon decided on a professional career, becoming a paid boxer in 1919 and fighting against local favorites in Connecticut, then - an epicenter of boxing, a newly popular sport, in the whole region.
One of his opponents, former New York State champion Charlie Pilkington, would later become Kaplan's mentor and sparring partner, who did much to launch his boxing career.
During the very first four years of his professional career, Louis engaged in over 50 matches, which gave him widespread popularity and recognition in many boxing clubs across America. In one of the episodes, in 1920, Kaplan knocked out opponent Sailor Cunningham within two minutes, and his wins against Hughie Hutchinson, Earl Baird, Babe Herman and Jimmy Goodrich, all prominent boxers of the featherweight division (Goodrich would later become world lightweight champ), brought him fame and popularity.
By late 1924 featherweight U.S. champion Johnny Dundee vacated his title and a tournament was arranged to determine a successor. Kaplan knocked out Angel Diaz in three matches, and then defeated both Bobby Garcia and Joe Lombardo by decision to advance to the finals. And on January 2, 1925 he knocked out Danny Kramer in nine rounds at Madison Square Garden to become the new champion!
However, Kaplan's reign as champion ended in two years, when he was unable to keep his weight under the featherweight limit and decided to relinquish the crown to fight as a lightweight. As a lightweight, he scored wins over Jackie Fields, Johnny Jadick, Billy Wallace, Battling Battalino, Sammy Mandell and other famous boxers of the time.
Louis' brother, Israel "Izzy" Kaplan, was also a professional boxer.
Kaplan died in Norwich, CT, aged 69. He was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1986, and into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2003.
Rosenthal, Michael (May 24, 2010). "10: Greatest Ukrainian boxers"
"The Leading Sports Figures". The Morning Record (Meriden, Connecticut). September 3, 1976
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