Bill Lang (born William Lanfranchi, was an Australian professional boxer who held the national heavyweight title. He was also an Australian rules footballer who played with Richmond in the Victorian Football League (VFL) and played 14 games and kicked 7 goals with us. Lang began his professional boxing career in 1905, the same year he was fullback in the Richmond VFA premiership team. He fought future world champion Jack Johnson at Richmond Race Course in 1907 and lost in a TKO. Later that year he defeated Peter Felix in Broken Hill to claim the Australian heavyweight title.

After defending his title five successive times, Lang earned a title bout with reigning world champion Tommy Burns at West Melbourne Stadium in September 1908. He knocked Burns to the floor with a left hook in the second round, however Burns got up before the end of the count. The Canadian went on to win with a KO in the sixth round. Earlier in the year, Lang had taken part in Richmond’s inaugural VFL season, playing their first ever game and eight in all. Primarily a follower, he added six more games the following year before retiring to concentrate on his boxing career.In 1909, Lang had a notable knockout win over Bob Fitzsimmons at Sydney Stadium.

The hard punching Lang went overseas in 1910 and fought Al Kaufman in the United States. Over the course of the year, and in 1911, Lang boxed in the United Kingdom and took on the renowned Sam Langford at the Olympia AC in London, where he lost after being disqualified.

When he returned to Australia he twice defended his national title before losing it against Jack Lester in a points decision. Lang was inducted into the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame in 2004. He had been the first Australian to fight for a world heavyweight title


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