Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Metcalfe, Alan,


History, Canadian.




This thesis was undertaken to establish when professional boxing declined in Toronto, and how and why it happened. It was hoped that answering this question would provide insight into the nature of Toronto, the nature of boxing, and the relationship between the two. It was determined that boxing enjoyed a golden age of popularity between 1920 and 1939, with the sport rapidly declining thereafter. This popularity was dependent on the support of Toronto's dominant British population. This support was only given through a reinterpretation of boxing by mainstream Toronto. A sport with a long-standing reputation of being crude and dishonest was redefined as a pursuit consistent with the agenda of Toronto's establishment. That agenda insisted that sport be about the building of character and other values that made for good British subjects. The 1940's saw mainstream Toronto no longer willing to look beyond boxing's blatantly unsavoury nature, a nature inextricably linked to its commercial roots. Boxing's unregulated nature, notwithstanding the efforts of the Ontario Athletic Commission to reform the sport in its small corner of the professional boxing world, made it inherently prone to improprieties. Recognizing this, Toronto's British population withdrew its support and local boxing has steadily declined ever since. Paradoxically, Toronto has been receptive to occasional closed circuit television broadcasts of American matches, a continuation of a long-standing trend whereby Toronto has been willing to put aside its moral reservations about the sport when the opportunity existed to watch world-class American boxers. The city has become content with whatever boxing its neighbours to the south would provide, undermining the likelihood of a rebirth of local boxing. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 34-02, page: 0575. Adviser: Alan Metcalfe. Thesis (M.H.K.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1995.