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Lithuanian-American Athletes: Boxing "Kumštynės" - "Boksas"

A definitive accounting of 32 20th Century Lithuanian-American boxers:

Jack Sharkey "The Boston Gob" (born Joseph Paul Zukauskas (Juozas Povilas Žukauskas) heavyweight, (1902-94), from Binghamton, New York, was a Lithuanian-American world boxing champion, and in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Highlights of his 53 bouts, 1924-36 (Won 37, Lost 13, Draw 3):

  • 1927: lost to Jack Dempsey, KO'd in seven rounds, at Yankee Stadium

  • 1929: TKO'd (Technical Knockout) Tommy Loughran in 3 rounds at Yankee Stadium for the vacant ABA Heavyweight title

  • 1931: beat Primo Carnera in 15 rounds at Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, to retain the ABA title

  • 1932: beat Max Schmeling in a split decision at Madison Square Garden Bowl, Long Island City, NY, and won the NYSAC, NBA, and The Ring heavyweight titles; YouTube film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTWudnOEYwY

  • 1933: KO'd by Primo Carnera in the sixth round at Madison Square Garden Bowl, Long Island City, NY, losing the NYSAC, NBA, and The Ring heavyweight titles

  • 1936: In his last fight, at 33, he was KO'd by Joe Louis in the third round at Yankee Stadium

  • the only boxer to have fought both Jack Dempsey and Joe Louis


Heavyweight Hall-of-Famers: Joe Frazier, Jack Dempsey, Jack Sharkey, Georges Carpentier, Gene Tunney www.boxing.fandom.com

But wait -- there were many more Lithuanian-American boxers:

  • George Chip (Chipulonis) (Jurgis Čepulionis), middleweight, 1888-1960, Scranton, Pennsylvania, was the first Lithuanian-American world boxing champion, 1913-14; 65 bouts 1909-21: Won 42, Lost 17, Draw 4. His brother, Joe Chip (Chipulonis) middleweight, 1889-1961, 35 bouts 1909-22: Won 20, Lost 10, Draw 5. He fought for and lost the world championship to Johnny Wilson in 1921

George Chip www.vle.lt/straipsnis

  • Joe Vincha (Juozas Vinča), b. 1905 in Šiauliai, Lithuania, d. 1990, Boston, started his athletic career in 1925 weightlifting, but Steponas Darius persuaded him to switch to boxing. By 1926 Vinča had become Lithuanian champion. In 1927 and 1928 he was the Baltic heavyweight boxing champion, having defeated boxers from Latvia, Estonia, and East Prussia. In the 1928 Olympics he was eliminated in the second round of the light-heavyweight class, losing to Don McCorkindale. That was the best result for Lithuania, competing in the Olympics for the first time. His achievement helped to popularize boxing in Lithuania. After the Olympics Vinča became a professional boxer. He moved to the United States, and was managed by the men who managed Jack Sharkey. In 1931 he injured his wrist and returned to Lithuania. In 1932 he attempted to restart his career in France, but the injury renewed. He then took up wrestling and competed in England and France. When he retired, after 22 recognized boxing bouts, 1929-33: Won 13, Lost 9. Vinča served with the Lithuanian police in Klaipėda 1934-38. During World War II he retreated to Germany and from there went to the United States, where he competed as a wrestler until 1954. www.boxrec.com

Joe Vincha (Juozas Vinča), as a Klaipėda policeman, and as a wrestler in the US www.boxrec.com

  • Wildcat O'Connor (Walter Matis), welterweight, 1909-93, Carbondale, Pennsylvania; 143 bouts 1926-49: Won 101, Lost 26, Draw 15

Wildcat O'Connor (Walter Matis)

  • Dan O'Dowd (Antanas Lazdauskas), b. 1896, arrived USA 1902. He had 35 bouts, 1918-25: Won 15, Lost 19, Draw 1. He fought and lost three times to Gene Tunney (world heavyweight Champion 1926-28): in 1919 at Schuetzen Park, Bayonne; in 1923 in Queensboro Stadium, Long Island City; and was KO'd by Tunney in his last fight, in 1925, in Waterfront Park, Saint Petersburg, Florida

Dan O'Dowd (Antanas Lazdauskas) www.234fight.com/boxers-from-the-past

  • Yustin (Justin) (Justas) Sirutis, heavyweight, Brooklyn born (1908-88); 35 bouts, 1931-38: Won 22, Lost 11, Draw 1. Notable both for his 1931 Golden Gloves heavyweight championship, and for having worked as Jack Sharkey's sparring partner in 1933, while Sharkey was training for his second (and losing) bout with Primo Carnera

Yustin (Justin) (Justas) Sirutis www.boxrec.com/media/index.php/Yustin_Sirutis

More notable Lithuanian-American boxers, many from the privately published 1966 book "Amerikos Lietuviu Sporto Istorija," compiled by John Jakubauskas, and presented to "Vinsas (Vincas) Joe Višnius," of Ozone Park, New York, January 22, 1966, in recognition of his wide knowledge of Lithuanian sports figures, his friendships with those same figures, and his sports writing:

  • Frankie Abrams (Frank R. Abromaitis), welterweight, Pontiac, Michigan; 76 bouts, 1943-50: Won 48, Lost 22, Draw 6

  • Dave/David Andrews (Andrius Viča), "Golden Boy," welterweight, 1920-88, from Lowell, Massachusetts; 99 bouts 1941-53: Won 59, Lost 38, Draw 2

  • Steve Dudas, heavyweight, 1913-99, Jamaica, New York; 89 bouts 1933-45: Won 62, Lost 35, Draw 2; KO'd by Max Schmeling, 1938; TKO'd by Jersey Joe Walcott, 1945, in his last fight

  • Whitey Gray (Joseph Wyshner), middleweight, 1902-82, Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, 11 bouts 1921-28: Won 6, Lost 5

  • George Gress, heavyweight, Brooklyn, New York; 26 bouts 1935-37: Won 9, Lost 15, Draw 2; his last fight, in 1937, was a loss at Yankee Stadium

  • Joe Hardy (Ragunis), featherweight, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; 11 bouts 1917-23: Won 9, Lost 2. His brother, Johnny Hardy (Ragunis) super-featherweight, 1901-27, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; 2 bouts 1919-23: Won 2

  • Eddie Hogan (Yuska) (Edvardas Juškis), heavyweight, b. 1912, in Waterbury Connecticut; 31 bouts 1933-38: Won 25, Lost 6; won on points over Joe Uždavinis (who used the name Davin for this fight) in 1935 at Madison Square Garden, New York City

  • Jack Kelly (Antanas Dobilaitis), light-heavyweight, b. Waterbury, Connecticut; 47 bouts 1928-35: Won 31, Lost 16

  • Andy Krysinal, welterweight, Brooklyn, New York; 9 bouts 1934-36: Won 4, Lost 4, Draw 1; all but one bout was at Ridgewood Grove, Brooklyn, New York

  • Joey Lawrence (Johnny Carroll) (born Joseph Zaronsky), welterweight, Dayton, Ohio; 36 bouts 1926-33: Won 12, Lost 14, Draw 8. His brother Pepper Lawrence (Stanley L Zaronsky) , lightweight, 1914-42, 12 bouts 1928-40: Won 4, Lost 5, Draw 3

  • Leo Leonard (Young Leonard, Terry Mitchell) (Leonard Pokunas), middleweight, Edwardsville, Pennsylvania; 30 bouts 1912-27: Won 13, Lost 16, Draw 1

  • Mickey Makar, welterweight, 1917-67, b. Bayonne, New Jersey; 108 bouts 1934-44: Won 57, Lost 42, Draw 9; all his fights in his last two years were at Grotto Auditorium, Jersey City, New Jersey

  • Charley Norkus, "The Bayonne Bomber," heavyweight, Bayonne New Jersey; 52 bouts 1948-59: Won 33, Lost 19; in 1958 he lost to Archie Moore in 10 rounds in San Francisco

  • Alex Novecky lightweight, b. Lithuania, moved to Cincinnati, Ohio; 26 bouts 1920-25: Won 15, Lost 5, Draw 6. Once the lightweight boxing champion of Russia

  • Frank Remus (Pranas Rimas), welterweight, b. 1919 Great Neck, New York; 3 bouts 1943: one win followed by two losses, all in Los Angeles, California

  • Matt Rice (Joseph Matthew Rice) 1906-50, middleweight, Gilberton, Pennsylvania, 41 bouts 1921-35: Won 31, Lost 9, Draw 1

  • Wally Sears (Alexander Suchowiecki), light-heavyweight, 1910-81, Minersville, Pennsylvania; 140 bouts 1930-48: Won 81, Lost 54, Draw 5; knocked out Matt Rice, 1934; fought Frank Zamaris three times in Philadelphia in 1939, losing the first two bouts, winning the third

  • Gummy Snyder (Alexander Žemaitis), middleweight, New York City, 21 bouts 1925-30: Won 14, Lost 7

  • Tony Usas (Anthony Peter Usas), middleweight, Dayton, Ohio, 1914-2006; 42 bouts 1930-38: Won 15, Lost 23, Draw 4

  • Joe (Juozas) Uždavinis (Davin), heavyweight, b. 1910, Middleboro, Massachusetts; 19 bouts 1933-35: Won 13, Lost 3, Draw 3; lost to Eddie Hogan (Edvardas Juškis) in 1935

  • Frankie Venchell (Frank Vensouskas), welterweight, 1901-67, Wilkes Barre Pennsylvania; 26 bouts 1917-26: Won 11, Lost 15

  • Tony Youkonis, heavyweight, Allentown, Pennsylvania; 22 bouts 1924-29: Won 14, Lost 8

  • Frank Zamaris (Zamoris), 1914-58, New York City; light-heavyweight, 110 bouts 1932-47: Won 66, Lost 38, Draw 6

Today's Divisions/Weights Former Weights

Heavyweight 200+ lbs/90.71 kg 1738: 160+ lbs/72.57 kg; 1920: 175+ lbs/+79.37 kg

Light heavyweight 168–175 lbs/76.20-79.37 kg 1909: 175 lbs/79.37 kg

Middleweight 154–160 lbs/69.85-72.57 kg 1909: 160 lbs/72.57 kg

Welterweight 140–147 lbs/63.50-66.67 kg 1909: 147 lbs/66.67 kg

Lightweight 130–135 lbs/58.96-61.23 kg 1909: 135 lbs/61.23 kg

Featherweight 122–126 lbs/55.3-57.15 kg 1909: 126 lbs/57.15 kg

Bantamweight 115–118 lbs/52.16-53.52 kg 1909: 118 lbs/53.52 kg

Flyweight 108–112 lbs/48.98-50.80 kg 1909: 112 lbs/50.80 kg


Thanks to this boxing site for records and photos: www.boxrec.com

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