William Muldoon Original Signed Press Photograph – 1932
William Muldoon (May 25, 1852 – June 3, 1933) was the Greco-Roman Wrestling Champion, physical culturist and the first chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission. He once wrestled a match that lasted over seven hours. Nicknamed “The Solid Man,” Muldoon established himself as champion in Greco-Roman wrestling in the 1880s and over the years gained a remarkable measure of public influence that would continue through his days as a health farm proprietor in Westchester County and his service on New York State Athletic Commission. Muldoon was a mainstay in New York sports for over 50 years. In 1889 Muldoon trained John L. Sullivan for his famous 75-round fight against Jake Kilrain for the world heavyweight bare-knuckle boxing championship. He had done so on a friendly wager and offered to absorb expenses if Sullivan lost. Sullivan won and Muldoon gained national notice for restoring the boxing champion to fighting form after Sullivan was dismissed by the press and sporting public as a hopelessly dissipated wreck. Muldoon’s methods at accomplishing Sullivan’s rejuvenation gained much public interest. Muldoon was never defeated for his Greco-Roman Championship. William Muldoon was born in the village of Belfast , New York , in 1845 and joined the Union Army in 1861 to fight in the Civil War. He learned his wrestling in the Union camps between battles, and when the war ended he returned to New York City and joined the police force. Muldoon continued to wrestle on the side, and became a very popular attraction throughout the city. He eventually won acclaim as world champion in the Greco-Roman style of wrestling, and began barnstorming throughout the country. He was one of the first athletes to appear on a sports card, being in the popular Allen and Ginter card series of 1887. After retiring from the ring, Muldoon became a highly respected trainer of athletes and opened a physical fitness farm. He also worked as trainer for the legendary world heavyweight boxing champion John L. Sullivan.