History | Nov 06 2018

On This Day: The brilliant Tony Canzoneri was born in 1908

George Zeleny tells the story of Tony Canzoneri, one of boxing's chief history makers

EX-SHOESHINE boy Tony Canzoneri was a brilliant box-fighter who contested world championships at four weights, was the world’s champion at three of them and became the first man in the history of the ring to win the world lightweight title twice. He still holds the record for the quickest knockout in a world lightweight title bout when he stiffened champion Al Singer in 66 seconds in November 1930. All-in-all Canzoneri beat thirteen different world champions and was only stopped once, in his very last fight.

Born in Slidell in Louisiana in November 1908 of Italian parentage Canzoneri’s family moved to New Orleans when he was two. He followed his elder brother Joe to the Gayosa Gym when he was 11 years old and came under the tutelage of ex-world bantamweight champion Pete Herman. The family then moved on to New York and settled in Brooklyn where Tony continued his amateur career, winning the New York State bantamweight title when he was just 15.

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