Janos Ruthaly (May 26, 1875 – June 10, 1963), or known professionally as Jack Root, was a light heavyweight champion and also fought for the world heavyweight title. He fought out of Chicago. He was elected into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2011. His uncle, Janos Rutt, immigrated to Minnesota. Today, his descendants in and around south-central Minnesota evolved the spelling of their last name to Rutt. There are some descendants based in the Chicago area and have relocated around the United States to Arizona, California, Indiana, and Northern Michigan. A great-great-grandson, Travis Rutt, is a well-known wrestler from New Prague, MN.
Root (with the support of some historians) claimed that he was the first world light heavyweight champion. His bout with George Gardiner on July 4, 1903, is claimed by some to be the first title bout in the new division. Root contended that his manager, Lou Housman, created the division and billed the Root vs. Gardner fight, which Gardner won by knockout in the twelfth round. The fight was caught on film. Jack Root, George Gardner, and Bob Fitzsimmons all held the light heavyweight world championship title in 1903.
During the 1980s, however, some boxing historians found records indicating that Joe Choynski won a twenty-round decision over Jimmy Ryan on August 18, 1899, in a fight billed as being for the light heavyweight championship. Choynski never seems to have made any claim to be the first light heavyweight champion, however.
On July 3, 1905, Root fought Marvin Hart for the vacant world heavyweight championship in Reno Nevada. The former champion, Jim Jeffries, had retired and declared that Hart and Root were the two top heavyweights. Jeffries refereed the fight to name the new champion, which Hart won by a twelfth-round knockout.
Root served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War I. After his time in the service Root became the president and boxing manager of the renowned Los Angeles Olympic Auditorium. Root was also one of many boxers to attend the funeral of Feab S. Williams (better known as “George Godfrey“).