The newly-founded New York State Boxing Hall of Fame (“NYSBHOF”), sponsored by Ring 8, held a press conference today at famed Gallagher’s Steakhouse in Manhattan to announce its inaugural class of inductees.
The late, great “Sugar” Ray Robinson, arguably the greatest boxer of all-time, leads a star-studded list of 12 boxers and eight non-participants who will be inducted into the NYSBHOF at its inaugural induction dinner, which is tentatively scheduled for next March in New York City.
The complete list of inductees includes “Sugar” Ray Robinson, Iron” Mike Tyson, Jake “Bronx Bull” LaMotta, Carmen “Upstate Onion Farmer” Basilio, Riddick “Big Daddy” Bowe, Carlos Ortiz, Vito Antuofermo, Emile Griffith, Mike “Bodysnatcher” McCallum and the late Gene “The Fighting Marine” Tunney, Benny “The Ghetto Wizard” Leonard and Tony Canzoneri.
Non-participant inductees include judge/HBO analyst Harold Lederman, coach/instructor Steve Acunto, trainer/cut-man Jimmy Glenn and, posthumously, trainers Gil Clancy and Ray Arcel, Ring Magazine founder Nat Fleischer, New York Daily News boxing reporter/cartoonist Bill Gallo, and referee Arthur Mercante, Sr.
“The concept for the New York State Hall of Fame was the idea of one man who had the insight to contact the state, Tony Mazzarella,” Ring 8 president Bob Duffy said. “The idea was around for a while and a group of us got together about 14 months and got this going.
“We plan to do this every year. Our first introduction dinner will be at Russo’s On The Bay in March of 2012. We have a wall at Waterfront Crabhouse which will list our Class of 2012 and another at the New York State Athletic Commission. We started this to honor New York fight people.”
The inductees were selected by a six-member NYSBHOF nominating committee comprised of Jack Hirsch, Steve Farhood, Henry Hascup, Bobby Cassidy, Jr., Ron McNair and Neil Terens.
All boxers had to be inactive for at least three years and all inductees had to have resided in New York State for a significant portion of their careers.
Tony Mazzarella (NYSBHOF President): “A dream is happening and with your help together we the dream is becoming reality. We are recognizing all who put on the gloves in the state.”
Bob Duffy (Ring 8 President): “We’re all volunteers and moving forward. It all starts with the Nominating Committee. Jack Hirsch stepped forward to lead it. This is a dream for New York fighters and that dream has become a reality. Because of the number of boxing people in New York, we can’t make everybody happy. It would be easier if this was a smaller state. It’s not about being friends of a friend. If you belong, you will be in.”
Jack Hirsch (NYSBHOF Nominating Committee): “It’s good to see so many good people in this business here and I see some future Hall of Famers. This is a celebration more than a press conference. The New York State Boxing Hall of Fame is only for New York people. Selecting was a difficult task and it will be even more difficult in years to come.”
Steve Farhood (NYSBHOF Nominating Committee): I want to thank Ring 8 because without Ring 8 we wouldn’t be here. I have tremendous respect for this organization. It really does take care of its own. This is an extension of that love. When we think of New York State, in terms of boxing, we think of a little place up the street, Madison Square Garden because it’s played such a huge part of boxing. Gleason’s Gym is another shrine. And New York is the media capital of the world. Now, New York hasaa Boxing Hall of Fame and I’m happy to be part of it.”
Henry Haschup (NYSBHOF Nominating Committee): “This is a great honor to be here to announce the first class of the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame.”
Harold Lederman (Class of 2012 inductee): “This is such an honor for me to be here, an unbelievable honor. What a fabulous idea to form the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame. New York has more fighters, better fighters, and is still the Mecca of boxing. It’s such an honor to be in the same class as Sugar Ray Robinson, Tony Canzoneri and Benny Leonard. It’ll get better and better each coming year, bringing people to the forefront for what they did in New York and Madison Square Garden. I’m so honored to be in this first class. I’ve asked myself how did I get in the same class as Sugar Ray Robinson.”
Vito Antuofermo (Class of 2012 inductee): “I’m so glad to be in the first induction class. Me and Jack (Hirsch) go back to the first day I stepped in the ring.”
Jimmy Glynn (Class of 2012 inductee): “I want to thank everybody for being here. God bless and thanks. I had Vito when he first came here (Bronx). I sent him to a gym in Brooklyn where he lived.”