Born Leonard Florian Houck in Lancaster, PA on November 4, 1888. Houck began boxing in 1904 and would compete in each weight division from flyweight to heavyweight.
During his 24 years in the ring he met 12 world champions from several divisions including welterweights Jack Britton and Harry Lewis; middleweights George Chip, Frank Klaus, Johnny Wilson, Billy Papke, Harry Greb; light heavyweights Jack Dillon, Battling Levinsky and heavyweight Gene Tunney. He also engaged prominent stars Eddie McGoorty, Gunboat Smith, Jeff Smith, Jimmy Gardner and Mike Gibbons. Most of his bouts took place in the Northeast, but one bout overseas made a memorable impression. Houck met rival Harry Lewis in Paris, France on May 3, 1911. After 20 rounds of skillful and grueling exchanges, he was awarded the 20-round decision and won the hearts of French boxing fans who chanted “Bravo Leo!” to salute his performance. The rugged Houck never received a world title bid. He hung up his gloves in 1926 with over 200 bouts to his credit and the title of “Uncrowned Middleweight Champion.”
For 27 years (1922-1949) he was the head boxing coach at Penn State, guiding 48 boxers to college championships. One of his pupils, Billy Soose, became middleweight king. "The Lancaster Thunderbolt" died January 12, 1950 at age 61.
Born: Nov. 4, 1888
Died: Jan. 12, 1950