Friday, July 22, 2016

On This Day: Tony Galento the Two-Ton Heavyweight Remembered

By Peter Silkov

Tony ‘Two Ton’ Galento was one of the most unusual and colourful characters ever to enter the boxing ring. Standing just 5' feet 9” inches tall (some said that he was an inch or two shorter), Galento was the height of most middleweights or welterweights, but was as wide as he was tall, and at his peak, weighed around 220 to 230 pounds. Galento displayed his disdain for regular training for all to see, and preferred to spend time in the bar that he owned in Orange, New Jersey, rather than do road work or train in the gym. Galento’s attitude to each upcoming opponent was the same, ‘I’ll moider da bum’ he would famously say. The media loved his outlandishness and the fans loved his all-out, bar room brawling, fighting style. Yet behind it all, Galento was in truth a very formidable fighter, with heart and toughness in abundance, and one of the most dangerous left hooks of its time. He also had a good deal of ring guile, and knew all the tricks in the book, both legal and otherwise.

Galento was born Dominick Anthony Galento, on March 12, 1910, in Orange, New Jersey, and started his ring career at the age of 18, in 1928. Despite his barrel shaped physique, which grew ever wider as his boxing career progressed, Galento was not named ‘Two Ton’ because of his physical shape, but because of the job he had early in his career of delivering ice when he was not employed within a ring. Galento fought his way steadily into contendership, really hitting his stride by the mid-30s. 

The highlight of Galento’s career was undoubtedly his world title shot in 1939 against Joe Louis, in a fight that (while it lasted) was one of the most brutal, and exciting contests ever seen for the World heavyweight championship. ‘Two Ton’ challenged Louis for the world title on June 28, 1939, in what was his 106th professional contest.
The fight became a bloody brawl after Galento hurt and shook the champion in the 1st round, and shockingly floored him in the 3rd round. But, Galento was himself down in the 2nd round and was already bleeding from various cuts on his face by the time he had Louis down in the 3rd round. Tony’s brave challenge finally came to an end in the 4th round, with the heavily bleeding ‘Two Ton’ still on his feet, but being bludgeoned mercilessly by Louis. It was a gallant defeat, which gave Galento a special place in heavyweight boxing history.

Galento would have just 6 more fights, which included his infamous victory over Lou Nova when he stopped the favoured Nova in the 14th round, after what has been described as one of the dirtiest fights ever seen. Galento then lost to Max Baer and Buddy Baer on 7th round stoppages, before ending his career with three straight wins over mediocre opposition. ‘Two Ton’s’ final fight was a 3rd round knockout of Jack Suzek, on December 4, 1944. Tony Galento’s final record was 80(57koes)-26-5.

In his retirement from boxing, Galento appeared as a heavy in a number of movies, most notably ‘On The Waterfront”, acted on Broadway, and also did some wrestling. People never grew tired of hearing him talk about his brave challenge for the World heavyweight title against ‘The Brown Bomber’ Joe Louis. Tony suffered from many health problems later in life and especially diabetes.
He died on July 22, 1979, at the age of 69 years old, in New Jersey. 

Joe Louis Vs. Tony Galento:

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

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