Cincinnati's Tommy Ayers

10.06.07 - By Jim Amato: The State of Ohio has turned out many outstanding boxers. Champions like Joey Maxim, Ezzard Charles, Johnny Kilbane, Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, Aaron Pryor and the hard punching Harry Arroyo. Top contenders like Earnie Shavers, Ray Anderson, Billy Wagner and a fighter who should have been a champion named Jimmy Bivins.

There are so many other great champions and contenders I could have mentioned but that would take up quite a bit of space. One of Ohio's best fighters of the 1980's was Cincinnati's own Tommy Ayers. Tommy turned pro in 1981 and began racking up victory after victory. He won 16 straight through 1982 but the streak continued on into 1983. That year he stepped up the quality of his opposition defeating the likes of Adriano Marrero, Milton Steward and former title challenger Bruce Finch.

In July of 1983, Ayers took a 21-0 record into the ring to face the slick Marlon Starling. Although he would go on to become a two time world welterweight champion, at this time Marlon held the USBA and NABF welterweight titles. Starling proved to be a little too much for the young Ayers as he won a twelve round decision. Tommy took six months off but upon his return he registered a 1984 decision over rugged Roger Stafford.

Tommy continued to pile up wins through 1985 and 1986. Finally, in March of 1987, he won the NABF welterweight title by a forth round TKO over Luis Santana. Just when it seemed like Tommy was on the verge of a title shot, he lost the NABF title to under rated Rollin Williams. Tommy would put together a four fight victory streak but in March of 1990 he met former junior welterweight titlist James "Buddy" McGirt. Buddy had invaded the welterweight division and was looking to make a statement. Ayers was still a highly regarded contender. McGirt stopped Tommy in the second round thrusting him deeper into the welterweight mix. The loss all but eliminated Tommy as a serious title challenger. Five months later Tommy was halted in three by Jay Bell thus ending his fine career.

Ayers ended up with an impressive 38-4 record. He registered 32 knockouts. He was a smart, sharp punching boxer who was without a doubt, one of the best welterweights of the 1980's.

Article posted on 11.06.2007

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