Final Bell February 2018

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Jorge Fernandez – The former 1960s world ranked welterweight contender and world title challenger passed away on February 16, 2018 at the age of 82. He was born Jorge José Fernández in Buenos Aires, Argentina on September 28, 1935 and fought professionally from 1953-1973. Between December 1960 and February 1964 he was ranked as high as the # 3 welterweight in the world by The Ring magazine. On December 8, 1962, world welterweight champion Emile Griffith stopped him in the ninth round in the only world championship fight of his career. However, he did win 3 prestigious titles during his career: Argentina middleweight title; South American middleweight title; and Spanish middleweight title. He retired with an outstanding record of 117-10-3 (KO 84/KO by 3). During his career he defeated such fighters as Denny Moyer, Isaac Logart, Ted Wright, Joe Miceli, Charley Scott, Billy Collins, Stefan Redl, Gratien Tonna, Fortunato Manca, Fernando Barreto, Cecil Shorts, Jose Valdes, Adalberto Ochoa, Martiniano Pereyra, Rogelio Andre, Angel Ahumada, Mel Barker, Hector Mora and Charlie Austin. Besides Emile Griffith who beat him 3 times, he also fought such fighters as Carlos Monzon and Luis Federico Thompson. IBRO/BoxRec

Felix Said Brami – The former 1960s bantamweight contender died on February 11, 2018 at the age of 77. Of Tunisian-Hebrew heritage, Brami was ranked as high as the #6 bantamweight in the world by The Ring magazine in 1964. From 1963 to 1966, he was ranked among the top ten world bantamweights. Brami was born in Tunis, Tunisia on September 1, 1940 and fought professionally from 1961-1975. He retired with a career record of 44-10-3 (KO 22/KO by 5). Late in his career he won and held the French junior lightweight title from May 15, 1971 until March 15, 1975. During his career he defeated such fighters as Mimoun Ben Ali, Antoine Porcel, Tommaso Galli, Brian Cartwright, Federico Scarponi, Jackie Brown, Pierre Vetroff (2-1-1), Alex Ambrose, Renato Galli, Felix Alonso, Paul Rourre, Sean McCafferty, Kouider Meftah, Roland Cazeaux (1-1), Domenico Chiloiro and Marius Cordier. He also fought such fighters as Walter McGowan, Jose Legra, Lothar Abend,  Antonio Puddu, Jean-Baptiste Piedvache, Manuel Barrios, Vicente Garcia, Daniel Vermandere and  Jose Antonio Jimenez.  IBRO/BoxRec     

Stephen B. Acunto – Stephen B. Acunto of Mt Vernon, NY passed away peacefully on February 5th 2018 at 101 years of age of natural causes. Born on Staten Island to Loretta Berardini and Stefano Acunto in 1916, he lived in Mount Vernon for 86 years and was long active in Westchester charitable and civic affairs and grew to national stature in Boxing. Widely identified as the Dean of Boxing, he crusaded for the betterment of the sport of which he was a renowned exponent, regulatory authority and advocate. A former successful professional boxer during Boxing’s Golden Age, he was devoted to the idea that boxing should be a scholastic sport, should be well regulated for safety and financial probity and should be seen as a builder of character. Together with Rocky Marciano he founded the American Association for the Improvement of Boxing in 1969 and made the first of several instructional films, The Art of Boxing, featuring Marciano and other boxing luminaries. His later instructional films with Muhammed Ali, Willie Pep and Roy Jones Jr have delivered the AAIB’s message to audiences across the world. The AAIB advocated convincingly for such safety measures as the establishment of the three judge format, in which the referee’s sole focus is the safety of the contestants, the insistence upon ambulances at ringside and adequate medical exams, and the use of the thumbless glove, among many other measures. Today, AAIB is among the leading voices in Boxing for safety standards and administrative competency. His work included appearances before US Congress and New York State Commissions on the Boxing as well as television and radio when big fights or issues facing boxers arose. Called one of the foremost boxing instructors in the world by every major Boxing magazine, he served as the head coach of boxing at Westchester Community College where he developed the only boxing history and regulation classes for college credit in existence. He taught boxing at Fairfield University and several other institutions during his seven decade career. He served as a member of the New York State Athletic Commission from 1945 to 2010. In 1988, he was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame and in 1998 he was inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame. It was once estimated that he taught boxing to more than 6,000 young men. Of the students, one became a world champion, several have been leading contenders and may have been amateur champions. His full length biography, Boxing’s Champion, was published in 2012 and hundreds of articles about him have appeared in SPORT magazine , Sports Illustrated , the New York Times , the San Francisco Chronicle , the Philadelphia Inquirer, Boxing Illustrated, Look magazine, the WRN, and many hundreds of others. His well known New York Post back cover photo with Muhammed Ali drew country wide attention to their collaboration. He was honored by the Boxing Writers Association of America James J Walker Award for “Long and Meritorious Service” to the sport, including creation of the manual for The Art of Boxing and the decades of his syndicated boxing column and radio show, Ring Rhyme and Reason and Sidelines on Sports. He was a founder of the Mt Vernon Little League. Professionally, he joined the Westchester County Sheriff’s Department in 1955, going on to become Crime Prevention Director under Sheriff Tom Delaney, working intensely to attack youth crime in the County. As a volunteer, he chaired Boys Towns of Italy charity to help WW II and later orphans in Italy. The Italian government recognized him with the rank of Cavaliere for his work for Boys Towns. A 4th Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, he held fast to the values he learned at St Francis Xavier High School in Manhattan and as a sparring mate with champions such as Lou Ambers and Tony Canzoneri at New York’s legendary Stillman’s Gym. Published in the The Journal News from Feb. 7 to Feb. 8, 2018

STEFAN REDL – The former 1950s-1960s welterweight died on February 4, 2018 at the age of 84. Stefan was born in Heregsalva, Hungary on March 5, 1933. He was the only boy in a family of three. His father Frank and mother Katherine were of German descent. His father served in the Hungarian Army during World War II and in 1942 was reported missing in action. Sadly, Stefan’s father never did return from the war. Shortly after the end of the war, the Hungarian Communist Party started deporting all citizens of German heritage. In early 1946, 12-year-old Stefan, his mother and two sisters, Katherine and Elizabeth, were deported to Germany and settled in Heidenheim, near Stuttgart, Germany where his mother had relatives. Stefan‘s introduction to Heidenheim started off rocky because some of the local neighborhood kids started to pick fights with him because they considered him an outsider.  Stefan held his ground and gave as good as he got. One of the youngsters was an aspiring amateur boxer and quickly took a liking to him and encouraged him to join his gym and give amateur boxing a try. By the time Stefan finished high school he was on his way of becoming one of Germany’s top amateur fighters with numerous national titles. In 1952 he was defeated on a split decision in the finals of the Olympic Trials. He competed all over Europe compiling an excellent record of 138-3. Outside of boxing, Stefan learned to be a tool and die maker. In early 1956 Stefan received an invitation from his uncle who lived in Passaic, NJ to visit the United States. One day, while he was sightseeing in Paterson, NJ, he was directed to the Garden Gym run by Carl Duva. All he planned to do was work out. Carl Duva saw how well he was hitting the speed bag and heavy bag and came over and asked him if he had ever done any boxing.  Stefan told him that he was an amateur boxer in Germany and just came in to work out. Carl convinced Stefan to spar with one of the pros working out at the gym and was so impressed he convinced him to give professional boxing a try. Under Carl Duva’s guidance Stefan turned pro on April 20, 1956 in Patterson, NJ and carved out an excellent career for himself which ended on October 4, 1963 in Copenhagen, Denmark. He finished with a career record of 36-16-4 (KO 17/KO by 5). During his career he defeated such fighters as Paddy DeMarco, Al Milone, Frankie Ippolito, Johnny DiGilio, Charlie Cummings, Danny Russo, Roger Harvey, Eddie Lynch, Ronnie Cohen, Johnny Torres, Marcel Bizien and Johnny Gorman. He also fought such fighters as Curtis Cokes, Tony DeMarco, Virgil Akins, Vince Martinez, Gil Turner, Florentino Fernandez, Don Fullmer, Jorge Fernandez, Hector Constance, Gale Kerwin, Carl Hubbard, Bob Fosmire, Tony Fortunato, Chris Christensen, Eddie Jordan and Joe Salci. In 1964 Stefan started his own carpentry and construction business, which he later expanded into building custom homes. He also started investing in real estate in Vermont and Pennsylvania. He was inducted into The New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame in 1989. I had the personal pleasure of getting to know Stefan and found him to be one of the most accessible and humble ex-fighters I have ever met.  It was great to see someone like Stefan who had to overcome a horrific early life finish on his feet a winner in life, as well as in the ring. Dan Cuoco, (?IBRO)?

Daniel Benito Carriqueo – The San Luis, Argentina 1990s-2000s middleweight died on February 8, 2018 at the age of 45. He was born in Puerto Madryn, Chubut, Argentina on July 22, 1972 and fought professionally from 1998-2008. He retired with a record of 6-21-0 (KO 1/KO by 4). BoxRec

Mike Lankester – The 1970s Seattle, Washington middleweight died February 1, 2018 at the age of 71. He was born Michael Carlson Lankester on June 20, 1946 and fought professionally from 1970-1979. He retired with a record of 22-6-0 (KO 18/KO by 5). During his career he defeated such fighters as Luis Manuel Rodriguez, Mike Pusateri, Dave Hilton, Billy Marsh, Joe Hopkins, Johnny Coiley and Rocky Mosley. He also fought such fighters as Denny Moyer, Art Hernandez, Elisha Obed, Sugar Ray Seales, and John L. Sullivan. BoxRec

Jose Vasquez – The 1970s Colombian light welterweight champion died on February 1, 2018 at age unknown. He fought professionally from 1972-1979 and compiled a record of 6-5-1 (KO 1/KO by 5). During his career he defeated such fighters as Diego Alcala,  Enrique Maxwell, Jose Blanco, Jose Isaac Marin and Mario Molo. He also fought such fighters as Roberto Duran, Miguel Montilla and Bernardo Prada. It’s possible that this record is not complete. BoxRec  

Gary Cowburn – The former 1960s Australian welterweight champion died on January 27, 2018 at the age of 80. He was born Gary Christopher Cowburn on December 16, 1937 in Gayndah, Queensland, Australia and fought professionally from 1959-1966. His final ring record was 24-15-2 (KO 13/KO by 7). During his career he defeated such fighters as Aldo Pravisani, George Barnes, George Bracken (split 2 fights), Peter Cobblah, Stan Hayward, Johnny Butterworth, Ray Greco, Tommy Collins (split 2 fights), Steve Nittes, Guizani Rezgui (split 2 fights) and Alf O’Sullivan. He also fought such fighters as Ralph Dupas, Arthur Persley, Auburn Copeland, Roberto Cruz, Sid Prior, J. D. Ellis, Alfredo Cota, and Norm ‘Kid’ Langford. BoxRec

AL “BLUE” LEWIS – Former heavyweight contender of the late 1960’s-early 1970’s Al “Blue” Lewis passed away on January 21 in his hometown of Detroit having just turned 75 on December 11. Lewis was best known for his gallant effort against Muhammad Ali in 1972 in which he gave “The Greatest” a good tussle before succumbing by eleventh round TKO. Lewis also had previously served as a sparring partner for Ali. Lewis first reached contender status with his exciting TKO of then highly ranked Eduardo Corletti in 1968 at the old Olympia Stadium in which he knocked Corletti out of the ring in the first round. He engaged in two tough bouts with Leotis Martin, both losses, one by split decision, before running off a seven bout win streak that kept him in the heavyweight picture. He scored a TKO over Cleveland Williams in that streak before heading to Argentina to tangle with Oscar Bonavena. Some reports have Blue getting robbed in the Bonavena fight, others that the DQ 7 ruling for Oscar was correct. Regardless, Lewis landed the Ali fight in Dublin in his very next outing. Despite his good showing, the Ali fight proved to be Lewis’ last shot at the big time. A decision loss to Jack O’Halloran less than a year later effectively ended his status as a heavyweight contender. Three more wins over non-descript opposition brought Lewis’ final record to 30(19 KOs)-6. After retiring from the ring, Lewis could often be found in attendance at local cards in and around the Motor City mingling with the fans. He also spent some time training young Detroit amateur boxers. The last few years were not kind to Blue. He had been hospitalized and treated in extended care facilities. Alzheimer’s Disease robbed him of his speech by the end. No matter, those who knew him will always remember his voice and friendly welcome whenever one crossed his path. By Bob Ryder/Photo: Bob Ryder

Daniel Leullier – The 1960s Paris, France middleweight died on January 20, 2018 at the age of 81. He was born in Blangy, Seine-Maritime, France on April 21, 21, 1936 and fought professionally from 1960-1969. He retired with a record of 16-36-9 (KO 7/KO by 12). During his career he fought such fighters as Nino Benvenuti, Sandro Mazzinghi, Luis Folledo, Wally Swift, Tom Bogs, Germinal Ballarin, Young McCormack, Michel Diouf, Willie Warren, Yoland Leveque, Fabio Bettini, Milo Calhoun, Souleymane Diallo, Gerhard Piaskowy, Bruno Santini, Klaus Peter Gumpert and Tom Jensen. BoxRec

CHARTCHAI CHIONOI – The former world flyweight champion died January 21, 2018 at the age of 75. He was born Naris Chionoi in Bangkok, Thailand on October 19, 1942 and fought professionally from 1959-1975. He retired with a record of 61-18-3 (KO 36/KO by 5). Between December 1961 and December 1974 he was ranked as high as the world flyweight champion by The Ring magazine. He won his first professional title on September 22, 1962 when he outpointed Primo Famiro in 12 rounds for the vacant OPBF flyweight title in Quezon City, Philippines. He lost the title on July 7, 1973 to Tsuyoshi Nakamura by 12 round decision in Osaka, Japan. Chionoi won the WBC and world flyweight title on December 30, 1966 when he stopped defending champion Walter McGowan on cuts in Bangkok, Thailand. He successfully defended his world title four times (Puntip Keosuriya, WKO 3, Bangkok, Thailand), (Walter McGowan, W TKO 7, Wembley, England), (Efren Torres, W TKO 13, Mexico City, Mexico), (Bernabe Villacampo, W PTS 15, Bangkok, Thailand) before losing his title to Efren Torres on February 23, 1969 by TKO 8 in Mexico City, Mexico. He regained his title in a rubber match with Efren Torres by 15 round unanimous decision on March 20, 1970 in Bangkok, Thailand. He lost his world title on December 7, 1970 by TKO 2 to Erbito Salvarria in Bangkok, Thailand. On January 2, 1973 he was unsuccessful in a bid for the WBA flyweight title when champion Masao Oba knocked him out in the 12th round in Tokyo, Japan. Tragically, Oba died 22 days later in an automobile accident. On May 17, 1973 Chionoi won the vacant WBA world flyweight title by 4th round stoppage over Fritz Chervet in Bangkok, Thailand. He successfully defended his WBA title twice with points wins over Susumu Hanagata in Bangkok, Thailand and Fritz Chervet in Zurich, Switzerland before losing his title on October 18, 1974 to Susumu Hanagata by a 6th round knockout in Yokohama, Japan. Besides the abovementioned, he also defeated such fighters as Salvatore Burruni, Mitsunori Seki (split 2 fights), Mimoun Ben Ali, Ernesto Miranda (split 2 fights), Seisaku Saito and Baby Lorona. He also fought such fighters as Hiroyuki Ebihara, Bernardo Caraballo and Eduardo Raton Mojica. BoxRec         

Butch Kattanick – The 1940s Oneonta, New York light-heavyweight died on January 17, 2018 at the age of 91. He was born in the same city on September 17, 1920 and fought professionally in 1948 compiling a record of 5-5-0 (KO 5/KO by 3). BoxRec

BillY Pender – The former Massachusetts Boxing Commissioner died peacefully on January 14, 2018 at the age of 89. He was the brother of former world middleweight champion Paul Pender. He was born William F. Pender Jr. in Boston, MA on November 11, 1928. He entered the US Marine Corps where he proudly served during the Korean War and later worked as a Police Officer for the town of Brookline. Pender had a short professional career in 1948, compiling a record of 1-1-0 (KO 1/KO by 1). He also was the Boxing Commissioner for the state of Massachusetts and was inducted into the Ring 4 Boxing Hall of Fame. Mr. Pender was an avid golfer. Ring 4 Massachusetts VBA

Ella Mfene – The 1980-90s East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa bantamweight died on January 25, 2018 at age unknown. He fought professionally from 1989-1991 and compiled a record of 5-1-2 (KO 4/KO by 1). BoxRec

Henry Mosco – The 1960s Cleveland, Mississippi middleweight died on January 14, 2018 at the age of 81. He was born in Shaw, Mississippi on October 29, 1936 and fought professionally from 1960-1961 compiling a record of 4-1-0 (KO 1/KO by 1). BoxRec

Johnny Villanueva – The 1940s-50s San Antonio, Texas featherweight died January 13, 2018 at the age of 89. He was born in Webster, Texas on October 20, 1928 and fought professionally from 1944-1955. He retired with a record of 42-37-5 (KO 29/KO by 3). He fought such fighters as Paul Jorgensen, Jackie Blair, Eddie Bertolino, Johnny Grady, Lenny Alvarez, Richie Callura, Al Gualteri, Mimmie Adragna and Joe Garcia. BoxRec     

Ellsworth (Spider) Webb –  Word reached us on January 12, 2018 that the former 1950s-1960s middleweight contender passed away in Tulsa, Oklahoma on November 23, 2017 at the age of 86. He was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on November 20, 1931 and campaigned out of Chicago, Illinois. As an amateur he won NCAA junior titles in 1950 and 1951 at Compton Junior College. After graduating from Compton, Ellsworth entered Idaho State where he won NCAA light middleweight titles in 1952 and 1953. In four years of college competition he went undefeated in 71 fights, winning 57 of his fights by knockout. Ellsworth was also a member of the great 1952 U.S. Olympic Team that won five gold medals at Helsinki. Unfortunately, he wasn’t one of the winners. He had the misfortune of meeting Hungary’s legendary Laslo Papp, the 1948 Olympic middleweight gold medalist who also went on to capture gold in the 1952 and 1956 Olympics. Papp, a hard-hitting southpaw, knocked out Webb in the second round.  After the Olympics Webb returned to Idaho State and repeated as NCAA champion in 1953. After his college career ended he turned professional under the tutelage of outstanding Chicago trainer Carl Nelson and made his professional debut on July 1, 1953. Between November 1956 and February 1961 he was ranked as high as # 2 in the world by The Ring magazine. Webb was unsuccessful in his only bid for a world title when he lost a 15 round unanimous decision to N.B.A. champion Gene Fullmer in Logan, Utah on December 4, 1959. Spider was the quintessential boxer-puncher who engaged in many exciting fights in his forty fight professional career that began in 1953 and ended in 1961. He finished with a career record of 34-6-0 (KO 19/KO by 1). During his career he defeated such fighters as Joey Giardello, Dick Tiger (split 2 fights), Terry Downes, Rory Calhoun, Holly Mims (split 2 fights), Bobby Boyd, Neal Rivers, Franz Szuzina, Randy Sandy, Charley Joseph (split 2 fights), Charlie Cotton, Wilfie Greaves, Jimmy Martinez, Jimmy Beecham, Willie Vaughn, and Pat McAteer. His six losses were to the aforementioned Gene Fullmer (0-2), Dick Tiger (1-1), Holly Mims (1-1), Charley Joseph (1-1), and a controversial decision loss to Red Elby in his third professional fight. By Dan Cuoco, IBRO

Len Mullen -The 1950s Glasgow, Scotland light-heavyweight died on January 13, 2018 at the age of 83. He was born in the same city on September 17, 1934 and fought from 1956-1958. He retired with a record of 7-6-0 (KO 4/KO by 4). During his career he fought such fighters as John McCormack, George Aldridge, Eddie Williams, Johnny Barton and Abe Stanley. BoxRec

Luis Rosa – The New Haven, Connecticut featherweight was killed in a traffic accident on January 11, 2018 at the age of 26. He was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico on April 27, 1991 and fought professionally from 2010-2017, compiling a record of 23-1-0, 2 NC (KO 11/KO by 0). During his career he defeated such fighters as Luis Hinojosa, German Meraz, Jonathan Perez, Luis Orlando Del Valle, Jorge Diaz, Jose Angel Beranza, Giovanni Caro and Carlos Osorio. His only defeat occurred on November 10, 2017 when he lost a 10 round split decision to Yuandale Evans for the vacant WBC Continental Americas Featherweight Title. Rick Kaletsky and BoxRec

Frankie Carini – The 1940s-50s New York welterweight died January 10, 2018 at the age of 87. He was born Francis J. Carini  in the same city on January 28, 1930 and fought professionally from  1948-1950. He retired with a record of 15-6-1 (KO 3/KO by 1). During his career he fought such fighters as Carmine Fiore, Johnny Bernardo, Fred Monforte and Harry Diduck. BoxRec

Giovanni Girgenti –  The former Italian Featherweight and Super Featherweight champion died on January 10, 2018 at the age of 75. Girgenti was born in Marsala, Sicilia, Italy on December 18, 1942 and campaigned out of the same city. He represented Italy as a featherweight at the 1964 Olympics losing a decision to Anthony Villanueva of the Philippines in the first series. He fought professionally from 1965-76 and retired with a record of 48-15-5 (KO 15/KO by 1). During his career he defeated such fighters as Renato Galli (3-1), Ugo Poli (1-0-1), Mario Redi, Domenico Chiloiro (3-0), Nevio Carbi, Giancarlo Casti, Augusto Civardi, Manny Santos, Lino Mastellaro, Franco Innocenti and Michel Houdeau. He also fought such fighters as Eder Jofre, Johnny Famechon (0-2-1), Jose Legra, Svein Erik Paulsen, Ould Makloufi, Elio Cotena, and Marius Cordier. BoxRec     

Billy Collins The former 1960s welterweight contender passed away January 9, 2018 at the age of 81. He was born William Ray Collins in Memphis, Tennessee in 1937 and fought professionally from 1958-1965. He retired with a record of 38-17-1 (KO 25/KO by 3). In 1958 Collins won the Chicago Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions at lightweight. Between May 1965 and March 1966 he was rated as high as the # 7 welterweight in the world by The Ring magazine. During his career he defeated such fighters as Tony Fortunato, Antonio Marcilla, Bobby Cassidy, Guy Sumlin, Gabe Terronez (split 2 fights), Pete Toro, Rafael Gutierrez, Joe Salci, Vince Bonomo, Ricky Ortiz, Peter Schmidt, Ronnie Cohen, Bobby Bartels, Kid Rayo and Eli Leggett. He also fought such fighters as Curtis Cokes, Duilio Loi, Virgil Akins, Jorge Fernandez, Willie Ludick, Jose Stable, Tony DeCola, Battling Torres, Stan Harrington, Cecil Shorts, Percy Manning, Hurricane Kid and Sugar Cliff. 10 of his losses occurred in his last 16 fights. He was the father of ill-fated 1980s welterweight Billy Collins, Jr. BoxRec

Wayne Ellis – Former 1980s Welsh Area middleweight champion died January 9, 2018 at the age of 49. He was born in Cardiff, Wales on July 18, 1968 and fought professionally from 1988-1995. He retired with a record of 14-4-1 (KO 7/KO by 2). During his career he fought such fighters as Steve Collins, Darron Griffiths, Paul Busby, Paul Jones and Johnny Melfah. BoxRec

Robert Boudouani – The 1980s-1990s Sallanches, Haute-Savoie, French Super Middleweight champion died on January 9, 2018 at the age of 52. He was born in France on April 29, 1965 and fought professionally from 1987-1994 compiling a record of 12-5-1 (KO 7/KO by1). During his career he defeated such fighters as Etienne Obertan (split 2 fights), Jean-Paul Roux, Tshimanga M’Biye (split 2 fights) and James Stokes. He also fought such fighters as Jean-Noel Camara and Zdravko Kostic. BoxRec

LOU MYERS – Australian promoter and trainer Lou Myers from the 1970’s passed away on the Gold Coast, Queensland on January 8, 2018. Lou trained Australian light middleweight champion Shane Patrick who captured the title by outpointing Ricky Patterson over fifteen rounds at the Blacktown RSL club in 1976 with former world bantamweight champion Jimmy Carruthers working as the third man in the ring. Lou also trained Australian junior lightweight champion Larry Valesini who captured the title by outpointing Roger Henry over twelve rounds in 1979 at the Rooty Hill RSL. Australian light heavyweight contender Rocky St Claire and NSW light middleweight champion Lou Hurst were also trained by Lou who promoted regular shows at the Blacktown RSL near Sydney during the 1970’s. By Ray Wheatley — World of Boxing

Gene Young – The former 1959 intercity Golden Gloves’ bantamweight titlist died January 7, 2018 at the age of 79. He was born Howard Eugene Young in Glen Easton, West Virginia on September 29, 1938. Young fought out of Moundsville, West Virginia as a featherweight from 1960-1967 and compiled a record of 17-9-0 (KO 3/KO by 5). He was managed by legendary manager/promoter Don Elbaum. BoxRec

Richard Pakozdi – Boxing lost another member of its esteemed fraternity as referee Richard Pakozdi passed away January 5, 2018 after a tough battle with Cancer. He was 67. Among his accomplishments, Pakozdi reffed three world title bouts. An athlete in his youth, Pakozdi was a golden gloves boxer and played minor league baseball in Florida. Pakozdi began refereeing in the amateurs, especially in the Rochester, New York area, including golden gloves, Empire State Games and the Aquinas Mission bouts. Pakozdi entered the pro officiating ranks in 1991 and within two years scored the job of third man in the ring for Oscar de la Hoya’s sixth pro bout with Mike Grable. Other future or former champs Pakozdi reffed during his twenty-five years in the squared ring were Lonnie Bradley, Aaron Davis, Hasim Rahman, Charles Murray, Julio Cesar Green, Tim Witherspoon, Shannon Briggs, Carlos Molina, Serhiy Dzinziruk, Alberto Machado and Demetrius Andrade. As mentioned earlier, he also reffed three world title bouts: Luis Ortiz-Bryant Jennings (WBA interim heavy), Jesus Cuellar-Claudio Marrero (WBA interim feather) and Christy Martin-Dakota Stone #1 (WBC super welter). Pakozdi also is a past recipient of the Rochester Boxing Hall of Fame’s Carmen Basilio award. For the last seventeen years, Pakozdi worked in the field of neuro-muscular therapy. He owned and operated Advanced Health Therapy Center in Brockport, NY. Pakozdi specialized in Bowen Therapy, which focuses on the central nervous system and he was one of only three specialists practicing Bowen therapy in New York State. Pakozdi is survived by his wife of thirty-seven years Connie, his daughter Jackie Iwasko (Mark) and two granddaughters Chloe and Victoria. Truly one of the good guys in boxing, Richard “Dick” Pakozdi took charge in the ring in an understated way, was unassuming outside it and always quick with a smile. By Boxing Bob Newman, Fightnews

Lou Mola – The 1940s-1950s Norwalk, Connecticut lightweight died on January 4, 2018 at the age of 86. He was born Louis J. Mola on June 17, 1931 and fought professionally from 1948-1953. He was inactive 1951-1952. He retired with a record of 3-5-0 (KO 3/KO by 4). BoxRec

Chris Walker – The 1970s BBBofC Central Area Light Welterweight Champion died in January 2018 at the age of 66. Walker was born on April 23, 1951 and fought professionally from 1976-1979 compiling a record of 15-11-1 (KO 5/KO by 3). During his career he defeated such fighters as Gordon Kirk, Johnny Elliott, Herbie McLean, Billy Waith (split 2 fights) and Mick Minter. He also fought such fighters as  Colin Powers, Claude Lormeau, Clinton McKenzie, Chris Sanigar, Chris Glover and George Feeney. BoxRec

Skip Yeaton – The former Portland, Maine middleweight died December 31, 2017 at the age of 67. He was born Roland Albert Yeaton in Skowhegan, Maine on October 9, 1950 and fought professionally from 1967-1973. He retired with a record of 34-26-3 (KO 19/KO by 15). During his career he fought such fighters as former middleweight champion Vito Antuofermo,  Mark Rowe, Mike Pusateri, Johnny Coiley, Dennis McNamee, Johnny Hasson, Freddie Butts, Al Romano, Gene Herrick, Jerry Graci, Tommy Dragon, Manny Freitas, Aimee Morin and Paul Osborne. BoxRec Sandro Abel Vazquez – The 1980s-2000s Buenos Aires, Argentina middleweight died on December 31, 2017 at the age of 50. He was born in Santo Tome, Santa Fe, Argentina on September 15, 1967 and fought professionally from 1988-2003. He retired with a record of 18-25-2 (KO 10/KO by 12). During his career he fought such fighters as Jorge Castro, Miguel Angel Arroyo, Ruben Dario Cabra, Hector Hugo Vilte, Ricardo Raul Nunez, Omar Eduardo Gonzalez, Roberto Coelho, Mario Gaston,  Hugo Antonio Corti, Sergio Arturo Machado and Carlos Rene Monzon. BoxRec

BARBARA ROACH – Whoever said “You can’t have it all” never met Barbara Roach. Wife of midcentury Lightweight Paul Roach and mother of boxers Freddie, Pepper and Joey Barbara shone on her own and made boxing history when she became the first female professional judge in Massachusetts. She went on to judge the Middleweight Championship of the World in 1981, featuring Marvelous Marvin Hagler vs. Vito Antuofermo. Barbara was a devoted friend and mother. Even after life took her out West, she never forgot her friends from New England boxing back home. She answered her final bell on December 27, 2017. By Christine Lewis

HERBERT WEISSBLUM – Of Whidbey Island, Washington, formerly of Winchester, Massachusetts died unexpectedly on December 26, 2017 at the age of 89. Herb, a resident of Whidbey Island (WA), was originally from Boston, where for 35 years he practiced law primarily as a business litigator after obtaining his B.A. from Michigan State University and an LL. B. from Boston University School of Law. He was active in the sport of boxing for most of his entire life. Starting as an amateur boxer off and on for 9 years in competitions sanctioned by the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States, the Golden Gloves and the military service, he ended his boxing competitions in 1957 as a member of one of the last intercollegiate boxing teams, the Michigan State University Varsity Spartans, the 1956 NCAA boxing champions. He then, while still in law school, became a trainer, coach, manager and promoter of amateur and professional boxers and boxing shows. Subsequently, Herb became legal counsel and Registration Chairman for both the New England Amateur Athletic Union (1977-85) and the N.E. Amateur Boxing Federation, now USA Boxing, New England (1980-89). He also served both organizations as their president. He was legal counsel to the U.S. Olympic Boxing Trials (1992) and chairman of the Massachusetts State Boxer’s Fund Board (1993-97). He also was a successful  amateur and professional boxing referee for 35 years. He was a member of the International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO) from 2014-2016. In addition to boxing, Herb was a veteran of other not-for-profit boards, such as the Cambridge (MA) Community Economic Development Corporation, the Cambridge Boys and Girls Club, the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys, and, as a Korean combat veteran, the boards of military veterans’ organizations. In addition to boxing, Herb had a deep interest in maritime history and wooden boat sailing, which began early, having been raised on Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay and Boston’s North Shore. As a youth, he served as a seaman in the U.S. Merchant Marine before his military service in the U.S. Infantry Airborne Rangers. One of his interests, besides his commitment to the Northwest Maritime Center and Wooden Boat Foundation of Port Townsend, WA, where he was a member of its board of directors and on several of its working committees, was collecting museum-quality ship models, mostly sailing vessels. Weissblum was inducted into the Ring 4 Boxing Hall of Fame in 1998. International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO)   

Willie Toweel – Willie Toweel one of the legends of the South African ring and the last of the fighting Toweel’s passed away at his home on Christmas night. He was 83. Willie who was born in Benoni on April 6 1934, was a magnificent fighter and trained by his father “Papa Mike” he developed into a brilliant amateur and won SA junior and senior titles and a bronze medal at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki. It was reported that he lost only five fights as an amateur. In his professional debut, in Johannesburg in May 1953, he beat Jackie O’Connor on points over four rounds. He won his first six fights before stopping Matthew Raaf in the seventh round to win the vacant SA bantamweight title and then beat Tony Lombard, an old rival of the Toweel’s, to become the national featherweight champion. Willie won his next ten fights, beating the likes of Andre Valignat and Pappy Gault. By then he was ready to challenge Robert Cohen, a French Algerian, for the world bantamweight title. They fought in Johannesburg on September 3 1955. Willie was 22 years old and confident, but already battling to make the bantamweight limit. Cohen dropped Willie twice in the second round but the South African fought back and the 15-round battle turned into one of the most exciting fights in SA boxing history that ended in a draw. Moving up in weight he took on Johnny van Rensburg for the SA and Empire lightweight titles on December 10 1955. Toweel faded after a good start and retired at the end of the ninth round; his first defeat in 23 fights. It was reported that injuries to his right hand and an ankle had been the cause of his disappointing performance. The bout was the first of five between the two. Toweel won three and they drew over 15 rounds when he defended the SA and British Empire lightweight titles he had won from Van Rensburg on May 19 1956. Most experts later agreed that Willie Toweel never reached his full potential. The reason was undoubtedly the death of Hubert Essakow after their fight in the Johannesburg City Hall on March 19 1956. The tragedy haunted him for the rest of his life. After losing to Van Rensburg, Toweel had to defend his SA featherweight title against the top contender, Essakow. However, both failed to make the weight and they met in a non-title fight over twelve rounds. Toweel knocked out Essakow in the eleventh round and the 21-year-old never regained consciousness. He underwent brain surgery at the Princess Nursing Home in Johannesburg but died 52 hours after the knockout. Campaigning in the United Kingdom he retained his Empire lightweight against Dave Charnley and impressed in victories over Billy Kelly, Bobby Ros, Mario Calcaterra, Jimmy Carter and Jose Hernandez. He then came home and outpointed a tough Mexican, Alvaro Nevarez, in a brilliant performance before heading back to Britain when he defeated Orlando Zulueta and Fernand Nollett early in 1958. He lost the Empire lightweight title in return match with Charnley when he was stopped in the tenth round. But experienced observers had noticed that Toweel tended to hold back after hurting his opponents. His record proved it. Before beating Essakow, he had won 15 of his 23 fights inside the distance. In his last 30 fights he stopped only seven of his opponents. Moving into the welterweight division he stopped Paddy Graham in four rounds before one of the highlights of his career. He went to New York to become the first South African to top a bill at Madison Square Garden. His opponent on that night, November 20 1959, was Lenny Matthews, an excellent American boxer. Toweel was knocked down twice in the eighth round but produced a brilliant performance to win on points. By then, his brothers Alan and Maurice also thought he might have lost his edge. It was confirmed when, for the first time in his career, he lost on points – against Wally Swift in Nottingham. He seemed to be going through the motions in 1960 when he beat Julio Silva and Freddie Teidt. Even so, he won the vacant SA welterweight title – his fourth national crown – by beating Benny Nieuwenhuizen. He lost the title in his next fight when he was disqualified for a low blow against Jannie Botes at the same venue where he had fought Essakow. He then received an offer to fight Emile Griffith at Madison Square Garden on October 22 1960. He started well but was stopped in the eighth round. Griffith later won the world welterweight and middleweight titles. It was Toweel’s last fight. He retired at the age of 27, with a record of 46-6-2, including 23 wins inside the distance. He later became a successful manager and trained Charlie Weir as well as world champions Brian Mitchell and Thulani “Sugarboy” Malinga. Willie Toweel was undoubtedly one of the best fighters South Africa ever produced. By Ron Jackson, Fightnews/ Photo from African Ring Collection

Freddie Todino – The 1950s Bronx, New York  heavyweight died on December 25, 2017 at the age of 84. He was born Fiorellio Todino in the same city on December 6, 1933 and fought professionally from 1958-1959. He retired with a record of 3-0-2 (KO 1). BoxRec

Yaqui Lopez – 1960s Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico Light Heavyweight Jesus Lopez Preciado who fought as Yaqui Lopez (this is not former light heavyweight contender Alvaro “Yaqui” Lopez) died December 18, 2017. No age is given. He fought professionally from 1960-1963 and compiled a record of 2-5-0 (KO 2/KO by 5). His most notable opponents were Gene Bryant, Charlie Austin, Willie Ross and Alfredo Zuany.  BoxRec

Jerry Huston Jr. – The former 1970s New England Heavyweight Champion died mid December 2017 at the age of 66. Huston fought professionally from 1971-1976 and compiled a record of 15-7-1 (KO 7/KO by 3). During his career he defeated such fighters as Charley Polite (split 2 fights), Brian O’Melia (split 2 fights), Jesse Crown and Bill Hardney. He also fought such fighters as John L. Gardner, Dino Denis, Kallie Knoetze and Jerry Judge. Huston won the New England Heavyweight Title on June 24, 1974 by a 10 round unanimous decision over defending champion Charlie Polite in New Bedford, MA. Ring 4 Massachusetts VBA


Ricky Beaumont – The 1970s-80s Hull, Yorkshire, England lightweight died on December 18, 2017 at the age of 62. He was born on October 5, 1955 and fought professionally from 1976-1982. He retired with a record of 18-6-1 (KO 9/KO by 2). During his career he defeated such fighters as George Feeney,  Jeff Pritchard, Tommy Davitt (2-1), Bingo Crooks, Barry Price and Tony Zeni. He also fought such fighters as Jeff Malcolm, Dave McCabe and Willie Booth. BoxRec

Mario Camarena – The Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico light-welterweight was murdered on December 7, 2017 at the age of 37. He was born Mario Camarena Nambo in the same city on February 22, 1980 and fought professionally from 1992-2010. He retired with a record of 2-12-1 (KO 1/KO by 9). No further information available. BoxRec

Dai Merchant – The 1950s Cardiff, Wales featherweight died December 5, 2017 at the age 81. He was born in the same city on April 13, 1936 and fought professionally from 1956-1957. He retired with a record of 4-2-1 (KO 0/KO by 1). BoxRec

Guillermo Mosquera – The former Roma, Lazio, Italy based light welterweight died on December 4, 2017 at the age of 53. He was born Pantera Guillermo Mosquera in Columbia on October 26, 1964 and fought professionally from 1985-2012. He retired with a record of 42-10-3 (KO 21/KO by 5). Titles held: WBF Light Welterweight Title (2007); New Zealand Boxing Association Light Welterweight Title (2004); PABA Light Welterweight Title (1997-98); WBC International Light Welterweight Title (1990-91). During his career he defeated such fighters as Lovemore Ndou, Eduardo Roberto Benvenuti, Bruno Simili, Belaid Khaldi, Abraham Mieses, Patrick Vungbo,  Lance Gostelow and Fernando Sagrado. He also fought such fighters as Michael Katsidis, Jan Piet Bergman, Rodolfo Aguilar, Dindo Castanares, and Renee Ganoy. BoxRec



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