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RSR Remembers Former World Featherweight Champion Petey Sarron By Antonio Santiago-May 26, 2007 Honestly speaking, the job that I enjoy the most at RSR is writing about former or past boxers. Sadly, boxing is not like other public activities, such as music, where the name Ella Fitzgerald still holds a lot of weight, religion, where historical names are still revered and historians quoted, or politics, where Napoleon, Fulgencio Batista and Abraham Lincoln are either held as heroes or vilified to this day, decades, even centuries, after their deaths. Boxers take blows and go through great physical harm just to leave their footnote in this world, their side of the story, their vision and humanity. Great historical figures like Ernest Hemingway, Queen Elizabeth II, the Marquess of Queensbury and Frank Sinatra as well as modern legends like Sylvester Stallone and former Puerto Rican Governor Carlos Romero Barcelo are known to be staunch boxing supporters. It is interesting then, that many of the world's wealthy business people, royalty, and socialites would have the above mentioned persons visit their homes for dinner any time, yet inviting someone like, say, former world Welterweight Champion Donald Curry or multiple division Champion Johnny Tapia over for a good old time anecdote swap along with caviar and Ernest and Julio Gallo would be considered a downturn by those who can afford to do that. Because your average boxing legend, be it a champion or not, is greatly forgotten by society in general, I love to pay my humble respect to those who brought all of us joy and hope at a time with their victories by remembering them in this column. I was thinking, and I am being actually serious about this, an RSR Remembers article on Fernando Vargas. But Vargas, whose career may be done is still not officially retired. And then it hit meâ¦how about Petey Sarron? Sarron is, fairly or unfairly, mostly remembered for one night in his career, the night he lost the World Featherweight Title to Henry Armstrong, who in turn began his historic, three division titles at the same time, run that same night. But Sarron had a great career of his own, beating solid boxers like Billy Grime, Al Foreman, Benny Bass, Frankie Wallace and Baby Manuel. He even beat a guy named Babe Ruth by a ten round decision! One of the few knocks on Sarron's career, however, is that he lacked the pop to hit the home run like baseball's Babe Ruth, scoring only 25 knockouts in more than 100 bouts. Sarron made his professional boxing debut on July 1, 1925, battling to an eight round no-contest with Red Burke, as no-contests were vastly regular at that era, when many jurisdictions had not applied scoring in boxing fights yet. Before Sarron got his first world title try, he was already 78-18-11 with 13 no-contests. He lost to Freddie Miller, who had one of boxing's best rivalries with Sarron, by a fifteen round decision for the NBA Featherweight Title on March 2, 1936, at Coral Gables, Florida. In Sarron's next bout, he would again challenge Miller for the title, on May 11 of the same year in Washington, DC, with Sarron finally getting his dues paid when he conquered that NBA World Featherweight Title by out-pointing Miller over 15 rounds. After three wins, including a fine victory over Nick Camarata, Sarron made his first title defense, and he proved his mettle by getting off the canvas twice, once in round one then in round ten, to defeat tough Baby Manuel by a fifteen round decision in Dallas, Texas, on July 22. Sarron would then make South Africa his home away from home, as he had done earlier in his career with Australia, holding seven of his next nine bouts there-the other two took place in England-including a ten round non title loss to Miller and a twelve round decision over him to retain the title in a torrid, compelling affair that took place on September 4, 1937. Like two normal brothers, Sarron and Miller fought constantly, but could not be separated from each other for long. Upon return to North America, however, Sarron was welcomed by another well loved member of the fistic family, Hammering Hank, Henry Armstrong. Sarron's welcome by Armstrong was not filled with the typical presents and greetings, as Armstrong presented Sarron with a brutal array of power punches and greeted him with one of the most fearsome beatings ever witnessed in a boxing ring. What mostly nobody remembers about that fight, however, is that Sarron almost went six full rounds in a fight he clearly had no chance of winning, his deep wells of courage not allowing him to handle Armstrong the title without offering Hank a good day's work. Sarron finished his career after a points loss to Sammy Angott on July 17, 1937. He had a record of 97-24-12, 25 KO's, and 17 no-contests. In fact, he had one of the most solid chins in boxing history, his loss to Armstrong being the only knockout loss he ever suffered in 150 bouts. Among the many things people forget is the fact Sarron was in fact the first Syrian world boxing champion. Although born in Birmingham, Alabama, Sarron was proud of his Syrian heritage, a fact underlined by Time magazine, which reported his title winning effort against Miller. Many, myself included, had assumed Mustafa Hamsho was the only Syrian ever who was even close to becoming a world boxing Champion. Ironically, so far the International Boxing Hall of Fame has also seemingly forgotten Sarron, even as they have Miller, the guy Sarron took the title from, already enshrined. Sarron later became a referee, and he passed away July 3, 1994. Royalty, religious leaders, and superstars may be remembered by mass audiences, but we choose to remember those who put their body at risk for our general entertainment, often men and women who unjustifiably leave the sport and entertainment business into the darkness of a night that will never change into day again. Because of that, today we remember Petey Sarron, a warrior the sport of boxing should feel proud of.
Anton Christoforidis: Unheralded but Undisputed Boxing Champion By TNH Staff - April 1, 2016 1 1062 Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter Anton Christoforidis is one of the most successful professional boxers of all time. Winner of multiple middleweight and light-heavyweight titles in Europe, North Africa, and the United States, Christoforidis has long been recognized as the first Modern Greek to become a world class boxing champion. Yet such acclaim did not come easily or without considerable and sustained effort. Christoforidis was born on May 6, 1917 in Mersin, a large port city on the Mediterranean coast of what is today southern Turkey. An interview with Christoforidis, a year before his death, offers this recollection: “when I was one month old, the Turks killed seven of the twelve members in our family, including my father. All that was left was my mother, sister, brother, a nephew and me. The rest of us were exiled to Greece in 1921 (European Stars and Stripes September 7, 1984).” Once in Greece the family eventually settled in Athens where Christoforidis began picking cotton by the age of six. Within two years of their arrival Christoforidis’ mother was dead. By the very early 1930s, Christoforidis while struggling to live on the streets of Athens he was even then learning to box. Unable to make a living by boxing in Greece Christoforidis, around 1933, went to Paris and immediately entered boxing circles. Very quickly Christoforidis was recognized as a very competent boxer who possessed good basic skills. At the same time it was also clear that the young Greek did not possess “heavy hands” which is boxing jargon for the ability to cleanly and consistently knockout one’s opponents. Consequently, throughout his career Christoforidis focused on his innate ability to cannily size up the moment and out-work his adversary in the ring. From 1935 to 1939 Christoforidis fought not just in France but also Holland, Belgium, Germany, Greece and North Africa. From 1935, until late 1939, the young Greek had 46 professional fights in Europe. Various reports allege that Christoforidis’ first professional bout was against Theodore Korenyi in Athens, Greece, which he won by a second round knockout. On November 8, 1937, Christoforidis won both the Greek Middleweight and Greek Light Heavyweight titles from Costas Vassis in Athens, Greece. Christoforidis defeated EBU (European) Middleweight Champion Bep van Klaveren on November 14, 1938 in a title match. Christoforidis later said that one of the spectators of this bout was none other than Adolf Hitler. His first title defense, for the European middleweight was against France’s Edouard Tenet in Paris. Anton was ahead on points going into the eleventh round, but broke his left hand that round and was forced to finish the fight on the defensive. He lost via decision and so lost his European middleweight championship title. Yet it was his 10-round contest with Lou Brouillard, on April 5, 1939 that brought Christoforidis to the attention of American boxing promoters such as Ed Mead and other notables. Again, rather than a clean win by either boxer Christoforidis won by decision. By early November 1939, Christoforidis was brought to the United States by American boxing promoter Lou Burston. As reported by syndicated sports columnist Jack Cuddy: “Burston considers himself mighty lucky because this Greek battler shapes up as one of the finest middleweight prospects ever to hit town. Veteran lookers-over, like “Dumb Dan” Morgan, Lou Brix and Nat Rodgers (all notable boxing promoters) predict Anton will develop into the greatest of all Greek fighters, whether born here or abroad (San Diego Union December 31, 1939).” Press accounts of this period stressed that Christoforidis was “rated among the best fighters in Europe…out of 100 fights he’s said to have scored at least forty-five knockouts” (Daily Nonpariel January 7, 1940).” Christoforidis made his United States debut on January 5, 1940 in Madison Square Garden, defeating Willie Pavlovich by decision. After this success, for reasons not now known to history, Christoforidis settled in Geneva, Ohio. Anton next built up a six fight winning streak, which was stopped when future Hall of Famer Jimmy Bivins. Anton once said, “I won that fight; it was strictly a hometown decision.” Rather than a mere brag, in a rematch held on December 2, 1940, Christoforidis returned the favor and walked off with a 10-round decision, handing Bivins the first defeat of his American career. The Bivins win landed Christoforidis a shot at Melio Bettina for the vacant National Boxing Association World Light Heavyweight title. At this moment, in American sport’s history boxing titles were regional not national. With that in mind, Christoforidis won the NBA Light Heavyweight title-crown on January 13, 1941 in Cleveland, Ohio by defeating Bettina in a unanimous decision of a fifteen-round bout. It is with this success that Anton Christoforidis became the first Greek to become a world boxing champion. Just for the sake of a Greek-American historical perspective, at this very same moment, Jim Londos held various heavy weight boxing titles as well. American sports writers have never been known for their innate sensitivity. So, Christoforidis’ name became a long running topic of discussion. In the end, the fans dubbed the young Greek “Christo the Fisto” while the press grudgingly admitted the young boxer’s good looks and so tended to call him the “Greek Sheik.” But the world of American professional boxing was a volatile forum during this period. After knockout wins over Italo Colonello and Johnny Romero in nontitle bouts, Christoforidis lost his NBA title to Gus Lesnevich by unanimous decision on May 22, 1941. Although this event was not technically an NBA title fight, Lesnevich was later awarded the title by the NBA regardless on May 24, 1941. Never stopping long in his career Christoforidis next met and defeated both Ceferino Garcia and George Burnette. Then, on January 12, 1942, Christoforidis suffered his first knockout loss at the hands of rising contender and future light heavyweight legend Ezzard Charles in Cincinnati, Ohio. On February 2, 1943, Christoforidis won the “duration” heavyweight title from Jimmy Bivins and then promptly lost it to Lloyd Marshall on April 21st of that same year. Christoforidis fought his last bout on February 18, 1947 against Anton Raadik. While accounts vary it seems safe to say that at his retirement Christoforidis’ record consisted of 53 wins (13 by knockout), 15 losses and 8 draws. At his height of his career it was not uncommon for 12,000 to 14,000 people to attend a Christoforidis bout. A longtime resident of Ohio, upon his retirement Christoforidis ran a bar-restaurant in Geneva, OH for a good number of years. In 1961, Christoforidis and his wife were divorced and in 1968 he sold his interests in Geneva and moved to Florida to retire. In 1971, he took an extended trip back to Greece for the first time for a scheduled 45 days. However, he liked it so much, the 45 days turned into 15 years. As one might expect Christoforidis was a hero in Greece. On October 31, 1985, Christoforidis died suddenly of an apparent heart attack in Athens, Greece. Holder of at least five different European, North African and American professional boxing titles Anton Christoforidis is the first Greek to become an undisputed professional box champion. The logical question here is why do we not hear more of this champion and the other Greeks like his contemporary Londos, who all were literally at the pinnacle of American sports? http://www.thenationalherald.com/118943/anton-christoforidis-unheralded-but-undisputed-boxing-champion/ CBZ - Anton "The Sheik" Greek vs Jimmy Bivins
From Jews in Sports - Pinky Silverberg Pincus Silverberg A smart, tough flyweight and bantamweight in the 1920s and early 1930s who fought in such diverse locations as Connecticut, Australia, and Cuba, Silverberg was knocked out only once in 78 fights and claimed the world flyweight title in 1927. When champion Fidel LaBarba vacated the crown in August to attend college, the division was thrown into chaos as the championship was broken into three versions -- the NBA (National Boxing Association), the New York Commission, and the IBU (International Boxing Union). In October, Silverberg faced Ruby Bradley and won when Bradley was disqualified in the seventh round of their bout. Following his victory, Silverberg claimed the NBA title and was recognized as champion -- he was awarded a belt in a ceremony a few days later. He was stripped of the title shortly thereafter, causing many historians to ignore Silverberg even as a title claimant of the era. The fact that he was recognized by the NBA Commission as champ, however, necessitates that Silverberg deserves a spot in history among boxing's world champions. Birth and Death Dates: b. April 5, 1904 - d. January 16, 1964 Career Highlights: Born in New York City, Silverberg began his professional boxing career in 1920 at the age of 16 to help support his family in the Bronx (he had four brothers and two sisters). He fought once that year -- in September in Bridgeport, Connecticut -- against Young Pastoria; the bout ended in a 4-round draw. Silverberg fought exclusively in Connecticut, mostly out of New Haven, over the next three years, and was quite successful. He fought twice in 1921 (a knockout win and a decision loss), four times in 1922 (three draws and one win), and twelve times in 1923. By the time he faced Joey Russell in Passaic, New Jersey in 1924, Pinky had compiled a terrific record, losing only twice in 19 career fights. Silverberg fought Russell on February 19, 1924 and the 12-round bout ended in a no decision. Pinky fought three more times that year, winning all three bouts in New York City, and then won both of his fights the following year. By the end of 1925, Silverberg still only had two career losses (in 25 fights), but he had yet to face top competition in the division. That changed in January 1926 when he fought flyweight contender Ruby Bradley in Bridgeport, Connecticut and lost an 8-round decision. Although Silverberg lost twice more that year (against contenders Willie LaMorte and Joey Eulo), he gained valuable experience in the ring. On January 18, 1927, Silverberg was scheduled to fight Sammy Tisch in New York City in his first fight of the year. Because Silverberg (112 pounds) weighed nine fewer pounds than Tisch (121), however, he was not allowed to fight. In his place, Silverberg's 124 pound brother Herman (who fought under the name Kid Silvers), fought Tisch and won the bout. The following night, Pinky faced one of the top flyweight contenders, Black Bill, in a benefit for recently retired boxer Sam Langford (a Hall of Famer considered by many to be the greatest boxer in history to never win a title) at the Walker Athletic Club. Silverberg lost a 6-round decision. Despite that loss to Black Bill at the beginning of the year, the step up in quality of competition proved a smart move for Silverberg. Following the loss, he won his next four and was considered a contender in the flyweight division. When world champion Fidel LaBarba suddenly retired in August 1927, the flyweight division was thrown into confusion. Silverberg, who had lost only 6 of 37 career bouts when LaBarba retired, claimed the title and was given a shot at the NBA crown. On October 22, 1927, Silverberg faced fellow claimant Ruby Bradley and defeated him when Bradley was disqualified in the seventh round for a low blow. In a ceremony a few days later, Silverberg was awarded a belt and recognized as the NBA champion (see photographs for picture of the belt). Stripped of the title soon after his victory (it is unclear as to why Pinky was stripped of the title), Silverberg continued to fight the top boxers in 1928 in an attempt to regain the title (the flyweight division would not be unified until the mid-1930s). His reputation as a clever and skilled boxer cost him the opportunity to reclaim the title though, because many of the top flyweights refused to fight him. Silverberg was forced to fight heavier opponents, and he lost decisions to bantamweights Pete Sanstol, Archie Bell, and Kid Chocolate. In 1929, Silverberg left the United States and travelled to Australia for a series of bouts. He fought three times, including a 15-round loss to future world featherweight champion Petey Sarron in May. Pinky returned to New York in November, but then went to Havana, Cuba in January 1930 to fight world bantamweight champion Panama Al Brown; he lost a 10-round decision. By then, Silverberg was a bantamweight contender and "ready to meet anyone in the world at the bantamweight limit." He also developed a rivalry with New York flyweight champion Midget Wolgast, and the two boxers fought three times between March 1930 and March 1931; Silverberg lost all three bouts on decision. Over the next couple of years, Silverberg fought infrequently (twice in 1932 and six bouts in 1933), and after losing a four-round decision to Damasco Seda in February 1934, promptly retired. Pinky remained away from the ring for three years, but returned to fight Frankie Reese in March 1937 in New York City. Silverberg won a four-round decision and retired again, this time for good. He settled in Connecticut after his retirement, and worked for the defense industry, but remained connected to boxing. He promoted some fights, taught boxing as a volunteer at the local YMCA, and occasionally refereed local bouts in the 1940s. Origin: New York City Physical description: 5'4", 112 pounds Career Statistics: Professional record: Wins: 29 (4 by knockout) Losses: 30 Draws: 12 No decisions: 6 No contests: 1 http://boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?human_id=27849&cat=boxer