In anyone’s books, nine losses in 180 fights over fourteen years stands out as one of the greatest feats a boxer could lay claim to. For Billie Hughes, that record was only the tip of the iceberg. Hughes was known for his spirit and sportsmanship both in and out of the ring and was considered “one of the best” by those who knew him. During his career, Hughes wore more than twelve championship belts. In 1914 alone, Hughes held the featherweight, bantamweight, and lightweight titles of Canada, Minnesota, and Michigan. Hughes served in the Great War with the 97th battalion and following his discharge, he resumed his career as a trainer with the Soo Greyhounds and also fought until his retirement from the ring in 1924.
After the Winnipeg Football Club won the Grey Cup in 1935, Hughes was honoured to be the first trainer to assist western and eastern teams to the title, having also been with Queens when they won the championship from 1922-24.
When in need of solitude, Hughes often retreated to his den and trophy room where he could reminisce over hundreds of mementos from his long and illustrious career. Among those dearest to his heart were a pair of boxing gloves owned by former world champion Jack Dempsey and souvenirs from an exhibition bout he refereed in 1945. Another favourite was a pair of gloves smeared with acid which had been used against him by a challenger during a Canadian championship fight. Perhaps the most cherished item of all was the football from the Winnipeg victory in the 1935 Grey Cup. As the team trainer, Hughes patched up Fritzie Hanson long enough for the star to score the winning touchdown. In appreciation, Hanson gave the ball to Hughes who then presented it to the City of Winnipeg. That was the kind of person Billie Hughes was.
b. July 1888
d. November 14, 1975