Saturday, January 28, 2006

Madison Central High School Once Had a Boxing Team

Browse through some of the old Madison Central High School yearbooks and you'll encounter lots of delights and surprises. In the June 1934 yearbook, which was called The Orange and Black rather than the Tychoberahn, I discovered that Central once had a boxing team. Reproduced below are a photo of the team and the accompanying text and caption. There are plenty of bare chests, but if you're more interested in Central history than beefcake, you'll find a lot of information in the text above the photo.

In order to make the text and caption easier to read, I am also reprinting it below. This should also make it easier for people using search engines to learn about this post. It would really interesting to receive some comments or additional information from friends and relatives of these boys -- and truly exciting to learn that some of these boxing team members are still around to share their stories.

Photo Caption: Back Row (reading from left to right) the senior high squad: Ruskin, Parisi, Wilson, Gervasi, Di Salvo, Motisi, Cuccia, Schiro, Flynn, and Dean; front row, junior high: Justo, Masino, Cuccia, Chiovero, Badenna, Loniello, and Toseff. Inset - Christopher Canepa.


Central's newest and most successful team came through its first season undefeated in two team matches. Boxing in its second year here proved a bigger money maker for the athletic department than any other sport because of its small overhead. This year for the first time the boxers met fighters from other schools. They defeated West 8-2 and easily bested the Vocational school although the fights were non-decision bouts.

Seven champions from last year fought in this year's all-school tournament, but only four of them were successful in defending their championships. These were Julius Ruskin, Jim Flynn, Vito Schiro, and James Dean. Joe LaBella, Tony Cuccia, and Ernie Jones were the three who were dethroned. Other battlers who caome out on top this yuear were Chris Canepa, Pete Parisi, Joe Di Salvo, and Woodrow Wilson.

An unhappy event after the close of the season, the death of Christopher Canepa, rather dims the joy of an otherwise happy season. Chris was flyweight champ, undefeated in the five bouts he fought.

Parisi and Schiro were both post-graduates and as a result only Schiro fought against West, and his was an exhibition bout. Other men who boxed were Tony Cuccia, Tony Gervasi, and Sam Motisi, and two of these boys, Cuccia and Motisi dropped the only bouts to the West Siders. They were defeated by Schmidt and Manzer, respectively.

The outlook for next years team is rather good with Ruskin, Flynn, and DiSalvo returning, and several promising runnerups and junior high champions back. Chief among the latter is Steve Chiovero, who fought an exhibition bout against "Slug" Wilson, and did very well.

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