Tom Heeney was New Zealand's top professional boxer in the early 1920s. Having conquered the local scene, he travelled to Britain in 1924 and moved on to the United States in 1926. He performed well there and was selected to fight world champion American boxer Gene Tunney in 1928. The bout in New York's Yankee Stadium attracted a 46,000-strong crowd. Heeney (in the Māori cloak) was outclassed by Tunney and the bout was stopped in the 11th round to save him from further injury. Heeney remained in the US and continued to box until 1933.
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