Johnny Molloy



Written by Rob Snell   

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Name: Johnny Molloy
Career Record:
Alias: James Molloy
Nationality: British
Birthplace: St Helens, England
Hometown: St Helens, Merseyside, United Kingdom
Born: 1926-03-26
Died: 2005-03-20
Age at Death: 78

  • Started boxing at the age of eight with the Lowe House BC, St Helens, Liverpool.
  • Had over 100 amateur fights, losing only to Albert Barnes from Wales and to Stan Hibbert from London.
  • Won a Junior ABA Title in 1942, and an AT Title in 1943.





Johnny Molloy

 MUGS ALLEY The monthly newsletter of the Merseyside Former Boxers Association

 April 2005 The death of Johnny MOLLOY.

I received a telephone call on Monday 21sb March from Tommy McNamara who informed me that former British Featherweight title challenger,Johnny Molloy had passed away the previous at  the age of 78 years. Johnny was  the President of the St Helens association.

 Johnny started his boxing career at the age of when he joined the famous Lowe House ABC at St. Helens. He had well over 100 bouts in the amateur ranks and was good enough to win a Junior  ABA title in 1942. His last contest as an amateur was a win over Billy Thompson who, of course-would go on to win the British title as a professional.


It was another bout with Billy Thompson which led to Johnny Molloy joining the professional ranks, for Johnny was unable to get to the contestant, and he wrote to the ABA authorities telling them he would not be able to appear for his contest with Thompson. He was suspended as a result and at the age of 17 years Johnny joined the professional ranks, in protest at his treatment. 

He had his first professional contest at the Liverpool Stadium on 16th September 1943 stopping Alf Roe in two rounds. He went on a winning streak of 13 contests before losing against Tommy Foxhall, on an eye injury.
Although a formidable puncher, Johnny  would always have a problem with eye injuries, and a number of his losses were a result of stoppages because of damage to his eyes. 

The start of Johnny professional career was also during midst of world war two, and in 1944,  Johnny did what many of the professional fighters of that era were forced to do. He joined the forces and went into the Merchant Navy. His sea duties of course, meant that his ring appearances were severely limited,  but in 1947 he was free to resume his ring career, and he proved that he had lost none of his skill and enthusiasm by going on another winning streak, beating such names as Ben Duffy, Jackie Turpin, Frankie Williams, Bert Jackson,  and then he scored the biggest upset of his career, when he beat the reigning British featherweight champion, Ronnie Clayton over eight rounds at the Royal Albert Hall. 

It may of course have had some effect on Clinton's performance when it became known that his manager had passed away on the day of the contest. 

When signing professional forms, Johnny had signed for Liverpool  manager Billy Metcalf , and this caused a problem from the very outset  for Johnny's real name was Jimmy Molloy, and Liverpool’s  lightweight and welterweight of the same name , was also under the stewardship of Billy Metcalf. Obviously two Jimmy Molloy's fighting from the same stable would have presented problems and so Jimmy Molloy from St. Helen’s became Johnny Molloy, and he remained known as Johnny Molloy from that day. 

Johnny's win over  Ronnie Clayton earned him an eliminating contest against Al Phillips and Johnny went on to upset Phillips London fight crowd by beating the Aldgate Tiger on points over 12 rounds , again at the Royal Albert Hall. 

After three years with Bllly Metcalf Johnny signed with Ton Hurst, who was looking after both Bruce Woodcock and Henry Hall at the time, and his win over A1 Phillips took him into a final eliminator   for Clayton's title, against Liverpool's Frankly Kelly, and Molloy proved successful once again, outscoring Kelly over 12 rounds at Liverpool Stadium. 

Prior to beating Frankie Kelly , Molloy had gone in with the fabulous Finn Ellis Ask who was a formidable foe at that particular time. The fight took place at Nottingham, and Johnny was beaten on time. He would later say that  Elis Ask was the greatest fighter that he had met during the whole of his career. Incidentally Johnny would gain revenge by beating Ask at Harringay, after the Kelly victory. 

Molloy didn't take any easy contests during his preparation for his title challenge against Ronnie Clayton for another of his opponents was the fabulous Frenchman Ray Famechon, another favourite with the fight crowds during that era. 

Famechon was the reigning European champion when Molloy met him at Harringay, on 7th February 1949 losing a close points decision. 

This was followed by a points win over Alex Sinnaeve at Newcastle on 28th February l949, and 21st March saw Johnny winning on points over Kerome Galloo at Newcastle. 

Next came his title challenge against Ronnie Clayton at Nottingham, and the Blackpool battler proved that he had learned from his previous contest against Johnny by winning a hard fought 15 rounds decision. Johnny was badly cut over both eyes during this contest. 

This fight really was the highpoint of Johnny's career, for, although he fought on for another four years winning and losing against Liverpool's Bernie Pugh , and fighting three losing battles against another Liverpool featherweight favourite Tommy Bailey he also fought and beat the tough West Indian Rolly Blyce at West Hartlepool. 

In 1951 Johnny had his first contest with a new promoter, Mickey Duff, and the opponent chosen for him was the scourge of Britain's featherweights the ferocious Roy Ankarah , the notorious ''Black Flash''. Johnny was stopped in four rounds. In 1952  Johnny was beaten on points by ''Smiling'' Sammy McCarthy, and on 8th May 1953 Johnny had his last paid contest losing on points over 12 rounds to Denny Dawson, at Manchester, for the Central Area feather- weight title. 

In all Johnny had a total of 64 paid contests winning 37, losing 25, drawing 1, and he fought 1 ''No Decision'' contest, at the Liverpool Stadium when both he and his opponent Paddy Dowdall were disqualified. 

A glance through the names I have mentioned in this article will show the quality of the opponents that Johnny Molloy faced in his professional career. He fought the best and beat many of them. May he rest in peace.