Venue: The Plaza  

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The Plaza was another old Philadelphia movie theater that was converted into a boxing venue by owner Jimmy Toppi, Jr. during the 1950s. Located at Broad and Porter Streets, this South Philly fight club only operated between 1954 and 1955, but still managed to pack a lot of boxing into that short run. The Plaza hosted nineteen shows in 1954 and fifteen in 1955 - all of them on Thursday nights. Most shows were comprised of five or six total bouts. Jimmy Riggio was the promoter for all 34 Plaza events. 

During both years of operation, Riggio ran his boxing cards from January to May, took the summer months off (June, July & August), and then returned for more shows between September and December.

The Plaza was a club. So its main events were usually eight (or seven) rounders. The big fights -


championship battles and major marquee names fought at the larger City venues like the Arena and Convention Hall. But the Plaza offered ts own specialties for their fans.

Boxing at the Plaza often featured cross town rivalries and rising local stars. Fans came out to South Philly on Thursday evenings to root for their neighborhood heroes as they climbed the ladder and tried to become major attractions.

The stars of the Plaza were Jimmy Soo of Grays Ferry, North Philly's Boland Abrams, Charley Scott and Jethro Cason, South Philly's Carmen Bartolomeo, Vinnie DeCarlo, and Tommy Marciano and Joey Rowan of Phoenixville, all of whom had multiple main events at the venue.

Out-of-towners like Don Braun, Issac Jenkins, Johnny Ciccarelli and others came to Philly to test our prospects, and local vets like Eddie Giosa (who fought his final fight at the Plaza) made occasional appearances, as well.

However it was classic Philly vs. Philly matchups like Toothpick Brown vs. Boland Abrams, Vinnie DeCarlo vs. Honeychile Johnson, Johnny Cook vs. Jake Josato, Carmen Bartolomeo vs. Ike White, Boland Abrams vs. Cortez Jackson III, Jake Josato vs. Boland Abrams, Sugar Hart vs. Roosevelt Coward, Jimmy Soo vs. Howard Curry, and Mickey Rosati vs. Jethro Cason that were the Plaza's bread and butter.

The Plaza
Indoor Club / 1,500 Capacity
South Philly - Broad & Porter Street

Main Event List
Poster Gallery
Program Gallery
Photo Gallery


   1954 - First boxing card - 1/28
   1954 - Abrams vs. Jackson III
   1954 - Brown vs. Abrams
   1954 - Bartolomeo vs. White    
   1955 - Jimmy Soo hits 20-0
   1955 - Jesse Smith scores KO
   1955 - Sugar Hart headlines
   1955 - Soo off the floor to win
   1955 - Josato vs. Douglas
   1955 - Last boxing card - 11/10 

Jimmy Soo was probably the biggest attraction at this venue. He started his career in 1953 and reeled off 33 straight victories. Five of them occurred at the Plaza (#14, 17, 20, 21 & 22). He came off the floor to beat Charley Slaughter in a thriller, and scored a few of his trademark knockouts there as well. 

But Soo wasn't the Plaza's only star. If you were a true fight fan in the 1950s, chances are you spent your Thursday nights at the Plaza cheering for your favorite local ring hero. The Plaza only held about 1,500 people. So fans were close up to all the action.