Jimmy Ryan was born in Cashel, Tipperary on 25th July 1935, the youngest of 6 brothers. He played rugby and did some boxing in his late teens back in Ireland.
In 1952 at the age of 17 he came to England and stayed in Birmingham with one of his brothers, where he had various jobs such as a cellar man in the Queens Hotel. He also had several doorman jobs at night clubs. He then went to Southall and became qualified as a fireman. During this time he was very active in the amateur wrestling world, winning the Irish amateur middleweight championship in 1958. At one stage he reached the final qualifier for the 1956 Irish Olympic squad, which would take him to Melbourne, Australia. But he suffered a knock and in an uncharacteristic moment of temper threw an illegal uppercut at his opponent, and was disqualified.
In 1962 "Tiger" turned professional and trained regularly at Dale Martin's gym in Brixton, South London, as he was living with his family in South Croydon.
Jimmy tagged with Ivan Penzecoff in The Rebels until they turned upon each other during a match to end the association. Later tagged with Peter Rann in The Rioteer as well as having a successful solo career.
In 1971 Jimmy "Tiger" Ryan decided to quit the wrestling game because of injuries which had caused arthritis in both hips.
On leaving the wrestling business Tiger worked as a fire officer/security and in-store detective in Debenhams of Croydon, this he did for approximately 20 years.
In 1988 he moved to Horley, Surrey, where he lived until his untimely death from cancer in 1998, aged just 63 years.
In 2019 Tiger was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame and the award was accepted on the day by his son Steve.
(Jimmy Ryans Hall of Fame award presented in 2019)