Friday, April 22, 2016

On This Day: Johnny Dundee: The First of the Great Italian-American Fighters Remembered

By Peter Silkov

Johnny Dundee, the ’Scotch Wop,’ is recognized by many as the first great Italian-American boxer. He was one of the cleverest and most durable fighters ever, with great stamina, footwork, and ring guile. In a career lasting over 20 years, Dundee fought the best of his era, from featherweight to lightweight. He would also be one of the busiest and most prolific boxers of all time.
Born Giuseppe Carrora, on November 22, 1893, in Sciacca, Sicilia, Italy, Dundee emigrated to America in 1898 with his family, and was eventually naturalized in 1919.

Dundee’s professional career began in 1910, and was soon facing name fighters. Dundee would face an amazing array of top fighters, and it is a tribute to both his ability and determination that he eventually forced his way to a world title shot, after many years of being avoided. Some of the outstanding fighters whom Dundee fought include Paddy Callahan, Charlie White, Joe Shugrue, Johnny Kilbane, Freddie Welsh, Rocky Kansas, Matty Baldwin, George ‘Ko’ Chaney, Joe Mandot, Grover Hayes, Willie Richie, Mexican Joe Rivers, Benny Leonard, Leach Cross, Ever Hammer, Lew Tendler, Jack Bernstein, Sid Terris, Joe Glick, Tod Morgan, Tony Canzoneri, and Al Foreman. 

Dundee’s first shot at a world title came in 87th contest, when on April 29, 1913, he challenged Johnny Kilbane for the World Featherweight title, but was held to a draw. 

He would have to wait another 8 years before he got a second chance at a world title. On November 18, 1921, in his 260th fight, he beat George ‘Ko’ Chaney on a 5th round disqualification, to win the World Junior-lightweight championship. Dundee would defend this title 6 times, and on August 15, 1922, he added the New York State world featherweight title to his collection, when he knocked out Danny Frush in the 9th round. On July 26, 1923 Dundee gained recognition as undisputed World Featherweight champion, when he out-pointed Eugene Criqui.

On June 20, 1924, Dundee lost his World Junior-lightweight title when he was out- pointed over 10 rounds by Steve ‘Kid’ Sullivan. Two months later, Dundee vacated the world featherweight title.

Dundee had one last shot at a world title on October 24, 1927, when he challenged Tony Canzoneri for his old World featherweight title, but was out-pointed over 15 rounds.
Johnny Dundee carried on fighting until 1932, with his last contest being a 6 rounds point’ win over Mickey Greb, on December 5, 1932. It was Dundee’s 333th contest.
Dundee’s final record, was 200(22koes)-59-31 (and 32 no decisions) There are different versions of Dundee’s record , this is Nat Fleischer’s version of Dundee’s professional record.

Copyright © 2016 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to

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