Philly Boxing History

JUNE 29, 1970




On this day in 1970, Charles "Sonny" Liston beat up Chuck Wepner and stopped him after nine bloody rounds at the Jersey City Armory. At the time, it appeared that Liston was just rebounding from his surprise loss of six months prior to Philly's Leotis Martin. However, this stoppage of Wepner, the "Bayonne Bleeder", turned out to be Sonny Liston's very last ring appearance. Six months later, he was found dead in his Las Vegas home.

The fight started with a surprise. Wepner nailed the former champ with a straight right and Liston's knees buckled. Thoughts of his last outing, the KO loss at the hands of Martin, must have flooded his mind. But he stayed upright and kept fighting. By round number three, Liston had the 'Bleeder' bleeding from a cut over his right eye. It was the first of six gashes that Liston would administer.

In round five, he dropped the 30 year old Wepner, who got up and fought on gamely, trying to do something against his methodical foe. By the seventh round, Wepner's left eye was almost completely shut. An underdog going into the fight, Wepner's chances of winning appeared to be getting even worse. After a couple more rounds-worth of punishment by Liston, the bout was mercifully stopped by the ringside doctor, Reginald Farrar, between rounds nine and ten. The result went into the books as a TKO 10, and raised Sonny's record to 50-4 with 39 KOs. It would be his final tally.

Five years later, Wepner would go on to lose even more famously to Muhammad Ali in a spirited challenge for the heavyweight title that inspired a then-unknown Sylvester Stallone to create the Rocky Balboa character.



  1931 - Al Ettore W10 Pete Latzo at the Arena Stadium in Philadelphia
  1938 - Tommy Forte KO2 Joe Transparenti II at Cambria Stadium in Philadelphia
  1954 - Sonny Liston W8 Johnny Summerlin I at the Motor City Arena in Detroit, MI
  1956 - Yama Bahama W10 Gil Turner at New York
  1970 - Sonny Liston TKO10 Chuck Wepner at the Jersey City Armory (Liston's last bout)
  1985 - Meldrick Taylor TKO3 Hugo Carrizo at Bellaria, Italy (Meldrick's 6th pro bout)
  2011 - Ed "BoJack" Williams