Ted Morgan


Ted Morgan
Ted Morgan

Ted Morgan was a boxer and a plumber, and was the first New Zealander to win an Olympic gold medal.

Born in London, England, an infant Morgan and his parents emigrated to New Zealand. Attending Wellington College, he became a promising boxer, finishing second in the college bantamweight championship in 1921 and the same in the lightweight class the following year.

Having left school, Morgan joined Tim Tracy’s gymnasium, while undergoing a plumbing apprenticeship. As a 5’9” southpaw, Morgan won the Wellington amateur lightweight championship in 1925, followed by a national title. Morgan failed to retain his national title in 1926, but, upon seizing it again in 1927, was selected for the 1928 Olympic team.

Upon reaching the Amsterdam Olympics, Morgan was forced to fight as a welterweight, as, during the voyage, he had gained too much weight to remain a lightweight. Having made his way through the preliminary bouts with relative ease, Morgan met Argentinian Paul Landini in the final, and scored a unanimous points victory.

After the Olympics, Morgan turned down offers from British and American promoters to fight professionally, and returned to New Zealand. He turned professional in 1929, and would go on to have 26 professional bouts, winning 13. Given his Olympic success, the professional chapter of Morgan’s career was perhaps a disappointment.

Upon his retirement from boxing, Morgan owned and managed a successful plumbing business in Wellington’s Cuba Street. Ted Morgan died of lung cancer aged 46, brought on by the inhalation of fumes during his plumbing work.

Adapted by Patrick Whatman from the DNZB biography by N. A. C. McMillan

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