|PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - February 12, 2019|
The Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame (PABHOF) will induct eighteen new members at their 62nd annual ceremony on May 3, 2020. Leading the crop of new Hall of Famers is “The Pittsburgh Kid”, Paul Spadafora, who won the IBF lightweight championship in 1999 and made eight successful defenses of his title. This was Spadafora’s first year of eligibility. He was not only elected on his first ballot, he received more votes than any other nominee in any of the ballot’s four categories.
In the Modern Boxer Category, Spadafora is joined by Myron Taylor, a Philadelphia featherweight who once vied for the IBF world title, and Derek “Pooh” Ennis, a junior middleweight from the Germantown section of Philadelphia, who was the USBA 154-ound champion and the PA State champion.
In the Vintage Boxer Category, Philly middleweight Otis Graham, who fought the likes of Kid Gavilan, Joey Giardello and many other standouts during the 1940s and 1950s, will be inducted, along with welterweight Bee Bee Wright of Clairton, PA, once ranked #10 in the world, and Pittsburgh’s Bill Bossio, a 1948 Olympian and later a world-class professional featherweight.
This year’s honorees from the Non-Boxer Category include referee Rudy Battle, promoter Marshall Kauffman, the first female boxing judge Carol Polis, trainer and Olympic coach Alfred Mitchell, trainer Jim Deoria Sr., and trainer Derrick “Bozy” Ennis, the father of fellow 2020 inductee Derek Ennis.
Six boxers in the Old-Timer Category will also be inducted: Curtis “Hatchet Man” Sheppard, Johnny Forte, Jack McClelland, Willie Moore, Maxie Strub, and Billy Wallace.
The PABHOF Class of 2020 will be officially inducted on May 3, 2020, at the Bridgemen’s Ballroom (11600 Norcom Road, Philadelphia, 19154). Tickets for the ceremony and banquet are $75 each and can be purchased by calling George Bonner (215-398-2082). See more information on ordering tickets, program ads, and Hall of Fame Plaques in the links to corresponding forms below.
The Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame was founded in 1958 and includes over 400 members. It is the oldest boxing hall of fame in the United States.
2020 PABHOF INDUCTEES
"The Pittsburgh Kid"
was the IBF lightweight champion from 1999 to 2003. He
won the vacant title with a 12-round decision over Israel
Cardona and went on to defend it eight times. Challengers to
his crown included Angel Manfredy, Leonard Dorin, Billy
Irwin, and Victoriano Sosa. Spadafora relinquished his belt
after fighting to a draw against Dorin in a 2003 unification
bout. Spadafora also defeated Chucky T, Troy Fletcher and
Rodney Jones in non-title bouts. His only career defeat came
late in his professional run against Johan Perez in an
attempt to win the Interim WBA junior welterweight title.
Legend has it that he got he best of Floyd Mayweather in a
1999 sparring session. In all, Spadafora posted a pro record
of 49-1-1, 19 KOs, between 1995 and 2014.
"Mighty" Myron Taylor
compiled a professional record of 29-9-2, 16 KOs, as a
featherweight between 1980 and 1991. The older brother of
Meldrick Taylor, Myron posted wins over Kevin Seabrooks
(W10), Alberto Mercado (TKO5), Richard Savage (W10) and
Curtis Strong (W10). However, his biggest achievement was
earning a crack at world champion Calvin Grove in 1988.
Grove defended his title, but Taylor extended him the full
twelve distance. Taylor also vied for the ESPN, USBA and PA
State belts, and finally brought home a regional title with
a third round TKO of Ed Pollard for the WBC Continental
Americas featherweight title in 1989.
"Pooh" Ennis was a
talented boxer from a famous Philadelphia fighting family.
Trainer by his father (and fellow 2020 PABHOF inductee) Bozy
Ennis, Derek was the first of the Ennis brothers to make a
splash in professional boxing. His brother Farah Ennis was a
ranked super middleweight and Jaron Ennis is currently
climbing the welterweight rankings. But "Pooh" led the way,
posting a 24-5-1, 13 KO, record between 2002 and 2014. He
won the USBA regional title and the PA State title on the
same night by defeating Troy Browning by unanimous decision
in 2008. Ennis defended his USBA title against Eromosele
Albert in 2009 and Gabriel Rosado in 2010. This was
Ennis' first year of eligibility.
Born James Maletta in Waterloo, IA, Bee Bee Wright began his
pro career in 1943 and went unbeaten in his first fourteen
bouts. Fighting out of Clairton, PA during his eight years
in the ring, Wright defeated Billy Arnold, Al Priest, Bobby
Lee, Van Butler, Terry Moore, and Jose Basora. His efforts
earned his the #10 spot in the world rankings. He also faced
Kid Gavilan, Freddie Dawson, Gene Burton and many other top
fighters of his era. He compiled an overall professional
record of 40-7-3, 17 KO, 1 NC. Wright died in 2009 and will
be inducted posthumously.
Philadelphia's Otis Graham fought in one of boxing's
toughest eras and faced all the top boxers of his day. His
biggest wins came against Honeychile Johnson (W10, W10,
D10), Tommy Bell (W10), Bernard Docusen (W10), George
LaRover (W8), and Jimmy Collins (TKO5). But he is best
remembered for giving both Kid Gavilan and Joey Giardello
all they could handle in separate bouts. Graham also stepped
in with Holly Mims, Joey Giambra, Lee Sala, Robert Villemain
and Dorsey Lay on his way to career record of 39-34-6, 16
KO, between 1945 and 1953. Graham died in 1968 and will be
Pittsburgh's Bill Bossio competed in the 1948 Olympics as an
amateur bantamweight before turning pro the following year.
Bossio, the very first fighter trained by the great Angelo
Dundee, launched his career with a 21-2-1, 8 KO streak and
quickly became an avoided featherweight. So, Bossio hit the
road and began chasing opponents all over the country. He
was particularly active in the New York area. His key wins
came against the likes of Pappy Gault, Tony Longo, Tito
Valles, and others. He also lost bouts with Sandy Sadler and
Lulu Perez on the way to a 43-16-3, 15 KO, record. Bossio
died in 2016 and will be inducted posthumously.
Rudy Battle was one of
the most important referees to work in PA, NJ and on the
world stage. His days as a ref spanned between 1977 and 2004
and he worked many big bouts involving Evander Holyfield,
Paul Spadafora, Arturo Gatti, Matthew Saad Muhammad, Bennie
Briscoe, George Foreman, Riddick Bowe, Shane Mosley, Bernard
Hopkins, Vitali Klitschko, Micky Ward, David Tua, Bert
Cooper, Jermaine Taylor, Ray Mancini, Joe Calzaghe, Naseem
Hamed, Terry Norris, Ivan Robinson, Tony Thornton, Anthony
Boyle, Rodney Moore, Tim Witherspoon and so many others.
Battle also served as a judge (1981-1987) and is currently
the PA State Boxing Commissioner.
After a brief amateur career as a boxer, Mitchell hung up
his gloves and embarked on his career as a boxing coach
around 1960. In 1989, he became the head coach at he Olympic
Education Center (USOEC) in Michigan. As head coach at the
USOEC Mitchell trainer numerous Olympians and more
than 800 National Amateur Champions. He has also trained
many professional fighters. Some of the boxers he worked
with include David Reid, Vernon Forrest, Jermaine Taylor,
Brian Viloria, Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather. Mitchell was
recognized as the USA Boxing Coach of the Year in 1994. He
was also the head coach of the 1996 Olympic Boxing Team, and
the technical advisor for both the 2004 and 2012 US Olympic
Derrick "Bozy" Ennis is
one of Philadelphia's very best boxing trainers. Bozy
currently trains his youngest son Jaron Ennis (25-0, 23 KO),
a rising welterweight contender, and also trained his older
sons, Derek and Farah during their celebrated professional
careers. Derek (also a PABHOF inductee this year) was the
USBA junior middleweight champion, while Farah won the NABF
super middleweight title. Ennis has also worked with pros
Anthony Thompson, Ray Robinson, Coy Evans, Olivia Fonseca,
and many others at "Bozy's Dungeon", his famously gritty and
tough boxing gym. Before becoming a trainer, Bozy had a
brief professional boxing career (1977-1984).
Marshall Kauffman began
promotion fights in 1994 and is currently the busiest boxing
promoter in the Philadelphia area. His regular shows in
Philly, Reading, Allentown, Harrisburg, Ft. Washington, and
other nearby locales have helped to keep the sport
flourishing in Eastern PA, especially in recent years. He
guided Kermit Cintron to the world title and also worked
with Steve Little, Julian Letterlough, (his son) Travis
Kauffman, and many others. Currently promotes a large stable
of fighters and has been an active promoter for 25 years.
Credited as the first
female boxing judge in the world, Carol Polis began scoring
fights in 1973, with the Earnie Shavers vs. Jimmy Young
fight in Philadelphia as her first assignment. Judged from
1973 to 2009, and worked a reported 27 world title bouts
during that stretch. Some of her championship bouts included
Chandler-Solis, Chandler-Carter, Dokes-Weaver I,
McCallum-Santos, Drayton-Santos, Starling-Breland I,
Daniels-Qawi, Vasquez-Cruz, Perdoza-Pinango, and
Kalule-Villa. She also judged non-title fights involving
Mike Tyson, Rodney Moore, Steve Little, Tony Thornton, Ivan
Robinson and Gabriel Rosado. In 2012, Polis co-authored a
book about her life and career, "The Lady is a Champ". She
has also been profiled often in print and on television
(including "What's My Line?").
Deoria began coaching
boxers in 1982 as an assistant to John Mulvenna at the
original Front Street Gym, along with Frank Kubach and Stan
the Cut Man. In 1988, Deoria partnered with Mulvenna to
train and manage boxers including his son Jimmy Deoria, Jr.,
Chris Guest, Monty Sherrick, John France, Hank Quinn, Tommy
Quinn, Jerry Cullen and Harry Joe Yorgey. Deoria was
instrumental in forming the Phoenixville PAL Gym, which
started its boxing program in 1999. Deoria was devoted to
the sport for more than 20 years and impacted many lives
along the way. Deoria died in 2007 and will be
younger brother of bantamweight Tommy Forte, Johnny Forte
had a fine professional career as a lightweight between 1939
and 1950. Fought many top fighters in his 89-bout run, but
lost prime years 1943 and 1944 while serving in WWII.
Forte's biggest wins came against Joey Archibald, Jimmy
Lancaster, Frankie Donato, Dusty Brown and Jackie Floyd.
Also faced Sandy Sadler, Percy Bassett, Eddie Giosa, Billy
Speary and Ellis Phillips en route to a professional record
of 61-25-3, 22 KO. Forte died in 2000 and will be
Pittsburgh-based Curtis "Hatchetman" Sheppard was one of the
most feared punchers in heavyweight history. Credited as the
only man to ever knock out slick and tough Joey Maxim,
Sheppard reached as high as the #2 spot in the world
rankings. His many victims included Joey Maxim (KO1), Gus
Dorazio (W10), Big Boy Brown (KO11), As Hart (W12, KO4),
Buddy Walker (KO8) and Lee Q. Murray (W10). Sheppard also
faced Archie Moore, Jersey Joe Walcott, Jimmy Bivins, and
Melio Bettina. In all, Sheppard posted a pro resume of
51-33, 33 KO between 1938 and 1949. Before turning pro,
Sheppard was a decorated amateur and won the Intercity
Golden Gloves in 1938 and the runner up in the New York
Golden Gloves that same year. Sheppard died in 1984 and will be
Billy Wallace was a
15-year professional boxer (1920-1935) who won more than 100
bouts during his memorable career and once made the cover of
The Ring magazine (February 1928). Wallace defeated Johnny
Jadick, Louis "Kid" Kaplan, Joe Glick, Bruce Flowers, Ray
Mitchell, and lost bouts to top foes like Jimmy McLarnin,
Jackie "Kid" Berg, Sammy Mandell, and Mushy Callahan while
compiling an incredible record of 108-27-28, 42 KO, 1 NC.
Wallace died in 1986 and will be
The "Pride of
Pittsburgh", Jack McClelland fought more than 100
professional bouts against many of the best boxers of the No
Decision Era. His campaign stretched from 1896 to 1911 and
included wins over Abe Attell, Eddie Lenny, Tommy Sullivan,
Sammy Smith and Tim Callahan. McClelland lost bouts with Kid
Herman, Billy Wills, Billy Ryan, Dave Sullivan and Oscar
Gardner. In all, McClelland's record ended at 50-8-1, 26 KO,
50 No Decisions. Jack died in 1954 and will be
Erie, PA lightweight
Maxie Strub was once ranked #3 in the world with victories
over some of the best fighters of his era. He beat former
champion and International Boxing Hall of Famer Sammy
Mandell (W10) and split three bouts with Wesley Ramey
(1-1-1), also an IBHOF'er. His biggest wins included Eddie
Cool (W10), Johnny Jadick (W10), Sammy Mandell (W10), Jimmy
Reed (KO6, W10, W6), and Wesley Ramey (W10). Strub's
thirteen-year, 108-bout career ran from 1924-1937 and
finished with a record of 79-21-8, 25 KO. Strub died in 1976 and will be
Born William Von
Franzke in Philadelphia, Willie Moore was one of five
fighting Moore Brothers (Pal, Reddy, Willie, Frankie, Al).
He fought professionally between 1910 and 1922, posting an
overall record of 41-17-5, 20 KO. A quick and clever boxer,
Moore laid his own claim to the world welterweight title,
but is not widely recognized as a champion. He did score
wins over Tommy Langdon, Pat Bradley, Ted "Kid" Lewis, Young
Jack O'Brien and Joe Hefferman, and lost bids to Steve
Latzo, Sam Robideau, Ted "Kid" Lewis, and Young Jack
O'Brien. Moore died in 1974 and will be