Sunday, February 21, 2016

Boxing History: Tony Janiro

Remembering....Tony Janiro

Tony Janiro was a ‘Golden boy’ of the ring; a good looking boxer who was overflowing with talent, with fast hands and swift feet, he seemed to have everything he needed to take him to the very top.  But, Janiro fought at a time when the competition was intense, and world titles were not simply given away, no matter how popular or good looking you were.  Yet despite his youthful features, Janiro could really fight as well as box. He wasn’t a big puncher, but he had a good chin and plenty of heart, which he would display numerous times during a colourful and exciting career.  If Janiro had one major flaw it was his love of the night life and the ladies outside the ring. Eventually his fast living away from the ring, coupled by too many tough fights inside the ring, led to him burning out at an age where many fighters are approaching their peaks.

Janiro was born on October 27, 1927, in Springdale, Pennsylvania, (he would later live in Youngstown, Ohio.)  He was a talented amateur boxer, winning the Intercity Golden Gloves Championship, and before he turned 16 years old,  the Chicago Golden Gloves tournament of champions at featherweight in 1943. In that same year, just two months after his 16th birthday, Janiro turned professional.

Today a boxer with Janiro’s potential would be wrapped up in cotton wool and brought along very slowly and carefully, but in the 1940s there was no getting away from having to fight your way to the top.  Starting his career as a lightweight, Janiro boxed 29 times in his first 12 months as a professional, winning all, except one contest, a 6-rounds point’s defeat to Al Guido, which was avenged two months later.

By 1946 Janiro was ranked amongst the top welterweights in the world, but he started taking on middleweights due to the fact that many of the top welters were refusing to fight him.  By 1947, still not yet 20 years old, Janiro had fought 67 contests.  Janiro’s opposition was made up from many of the top welterweights and middleweights in the world.  Janiro fought Johnny Greco, Tony Pellone, Beau Jack, Jake Lamotta, Laverne Roach, Lou Valles, Henry Hall, Rocky Castellani, Charley Fusari, Rocky Garziano, Sonny Levitt, Kid Gavilan, Fitzie Pruden, Laurent Dauthuille, and Charles Humez. 

Despite his success and activity, Janiro would never gain a shot at a world title.

In 1950 Janiro had two fights with former World middleweight champion Rocky Graziano, and with victory, there would be a possibility of a world title shot.  Janiro held Rocky to a draw in their first match on March 31, 1950, after 10 exciting rounds.  7 months later, Graziano won a point’s decision after another furiously fought 10-rounder.

After dropping the decision to Graziano, Tony lost 3 of his next four contests, before meeting Graziano for a 3rd time, on September 19, 1951.  Janiro needed a win, and gave a stirring display as he used his boxing skills to pile up a early lead, but Rocky produced a storming finish in the last round to hurt a tiring Janiro, causing the referee to controversially stop the fight in Graziano’s favour in the 10th and final round.. This was Janiro’s first stoppage defeat.  It was the end of Janiro’s career as a top liner, and the end of his hopes of challenging for a world title.  Janiro had two more fights, being stopped in 4 rounds by Kid Gavilan, then, on June 30, 1952, after a 6 month lay off, he was stopped in 4 rounds by Charles Humez, when  his corner threw in the towel after the 3rd round.  Janiro retired at 24, with a final record of 80(26koes)-15-2. 

In his later years, Tony worked as a bartender.  He died on February 21, 1985, at 57 years old.

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1 comment:

  1. OT: Hey sports fans, i know this is a bit off topic, but just to let you know Manny Pacquiao will be getting back in the ring with Timothy Bradley this 2016. Fortunately we can still see his training and fights at Manny Pacquiao Video Channel