James Joseph "Gene" Tunney (May 25, 1897 – November 7, 1978) was the world heavyweight boxing champion from 1926-1928 who defeated Jack Dempsey twice, first in 1926 and then in 1927. Tunney's successful title defense against Dempsey is one of the most famous bouts in boxing history and is known as The Long Count Fight. Tunney retired as an undefeated heavyweight after his victory over Tom Heeney in 1928.
Mary Lydon from Culleen House,Gorthgarve, Kiltimagh, Ireland, emigrated to the United States after the Irish potato famine. She settled in New York City where she met John Tunney, also from Cill Aodain, Kiltimagh, County Mayo, Ireland. They married after a short courtship. The Tunneys had seven children; one son was killed in a homicide around 1920, another was a NYPD Detective from 1924 to 1951, dying in 1971, while Gene would become famous as World Heavyweight Boxing Champion.
Tunney fought some 68 official professional fights, losing only one, to Harry Greb, while fighting as a light heavyweight. He reported that he lost a second fight during World War I, a 10 round decision, to Tommy Loughran, as a Marine before he began his professional boxing career. Tunney was regarded as an extremely skillful boxer who excelled in defense. In addition to beating Dempsey, the most famous fighter of his era, Tunney defeated Tommy Gibbons, Georges Carpentier, and many other fine boxers.