Born Erwin Erne on January 8, 1875 in Zurich, Switzerland.
At seven, Erne settled in Buffalo with his family and took up boxing while in school. After finding success in the amateur ranks, he turned pro in 1892 and quickly climbed the featherweight ranks, defeating Jack Skelly twice and drawing with George Dixon and Young Griffo. Various sources credit his 1896 win over featherweight champion Dixon (W 20) as a title fight. He moved up to lightweight and drew with champion George “Kid” Lavigne in 1898. A win over George “Elbows” McFadden (W 25) set up a rematch with Lavigne and Erne captured the lightweight title via 20-round decision and defended against “New York” Jack O’Brien (D 25) and Joe Gans (TKO 12). In 1901, he unsuccessfully challenged Rube Ferns for the world welterweight title (KO by 9). He returned to lightweight to defend against Gans and lost the title via first round KO. Inactive from 1904-07, while away from the ring he was boxing instructor at Yale. Erne returned to the ring for a bout in 1908 (W 10 Curley Watson) and promptly retired with a pro record of 30-6-11 (15 KOs, 1 NC).
Erne died on September 17, 1954 at Beth David Hospital in New York City at age 79.
Born: Jan. 8, 1875
Died: Sept. 17, 1954