JACK WALKER : ITALIAN-CONGOLESE CHAMPION BOXER OF THE 1920″S

This vintage real photo postcard features boxer Jack Walker (Leone Jacovacci). His story is fascinating. He was born in Pomba (Belgian Congo) in 1902. His father was an Italian agronomist and his mother was Congolese.  At age three, his father took him away from his mother and went to Italy where he left Jack to be raised by grandparents. Jack’s dad returned to the Congo. The child was a victim of racism in Italy so at sixteen years of age, he went to work as a “cabin boy” on a British ship. After arriving in England, he changed his name to John Douglas Walker, thinking the English name would help him be more socially accepted. He enlisted and served in the British army. Upon discharge, he learned to box in England and began his fighting career. During his boxing career he weighed about 150 pounds and his height was 5″ 10″. His final record as a fighter was 21 Wins, 22 Losses, and 5 Ties. His official record is thought to be incomplete. He began boxing in 1920 and his career ended in 1932. His fights were in Europe. He fought in England, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Norway, Austria, Denmark, and Spain. He fought using Italian citizenship and became the Middleweight Champion of Europe. Despite a number of successes in the ring, Jack never was accepted in Italy the way he would have liked. The racist and fascist society did not allow him to really feel like a full Italian citizen or enjoy the fruits of his boxing successes. After ending his boxing career, he became a wrestler for a few years and moved to France. He was trapped there through World War II. His companion, Berthe Salmon, changed her last name to avoid being identified as Jewish. Berthe gave birth to their only child, a daughter. Post war, he worked for the United Nations and assisted refugees. Later he was employed as a bit player in the Italian film industry. In his old age, he worked as an apartment doorman and janitor. Walker died in Milan, Italy in 1983. This postcard was published by Dix, a company located in Paris. Apparently, they published a series of portraits of boxers of the day. The Cabinet Card Gallery has another postcard from the series (Pierre Calloir: French Bantam Weight). This vintage photo portrait postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

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FELIX BRAMI : BANTAM WEIGHT BOXER : STAR OF DAVID ON HIS BOXING SHORTS

This vintage photograph features French bantam-weight boxer, Felix Said Brami (1940-2018). He was born in Tunis, Tunisia and was of Jewish descent. His boxing career spanned from 1961 through 1975. The website BoxRec states that he was in the super fly-weight division. Brami had an impressive record of 44 wins, 10 losses, and 3 draws. Twenty-two of his victories were by knockout. Brami won his first 20 fights. He was ranked as high as #6 bantamweight in the world by The Ring magazine in 1964, He was ranked in the top ten bantamweights in the world between 1963 and 1966. He held the French junior lightweight title from 1971 through 1975. Note the Star of David on Brami’s boxing shorts. I imagine that the star represents Brami’s heritage. Note the Star of David embroidered on his boxing trunks. Brami may have developed the idea in imitation of Max Baer. Baer was Jewish and a national hero after he won a bout against German boxer, Max Schmeling, in 1933. This photo indicates that Brami’s manager was G. Charles Raymond. The card’s portrait was photographed by the Belonie studio. This photograph measures about 3 3/8″ x 5 3/8″and is in very good condition (see scans).

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Published in: on March 17, 2020 at 7:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“BATTLING LEVINSKY”: PROLIFIC JEWISH BOXER AND WORLD CHAMPION

Meet Barney Lebrowitz (1891-1949. He was known in the boxing world as “Battling Levinsky” and he was the world light heavyweight champion from 1916 until 1920. “Box Rec”, a boxing statistical website rates Levinsky as the 12th best light heavyweight of all-time. “Ring Magazine” placed him at 9th. He clearly was no slouch in the ring. He was named to the hall of fame for Ring Magazine, the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, and the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Jewish immigrant parents from Russia. He worked as a shoe shine boy and sold newspapers to help support his family. When he began boxing, he sold jewelry during the day, and boxed in the evenings in Philadelphia clubs and gyms. It is conjectured that he had his jewelry sales job in order to hide his boxing career from his parents. In 1906, Levinsky began his boxing career using the pseudonym of Barney Williams. He took on a manager named “Dumb” Dan Morgan in 1913. Morgan changed the boxer’s name and helped his career. Levinsky was known as a defensive fighter. Although he delivered few knockouts, he was adept at avoiding truly damaging blows. In 1913, to hide the fact that Levinsky was not a very aggressive fighter, Morgan added the “Battling” part of “Battling Levinsky’s” name. Levinsky was a prolific fighter. In his first hundred fights (1910-1914), he lost only three fights. Between 1914 and 1918, he fought 127 times. In 1914, he fought 37 times, 9 times in January alone. On New Years day in 1915, he had two bouts. One fight was in Brooklyn, New York, while the other was in Waterbury, Connecticut. Levinsky beat Jack Dillon in 1916 to gain the Light Heavyweight crown. He kept it until 60 fights later when he lost the championship to French fighter, Georges Carpentier. Levinsky fought all major challengers. His record includes losses to boxing greats, Gene Tunney and Jack Dempsey. Levinsky’s official professional record indicates that he won 196 fights (including 30 knockouts), lost 54, and had 37 draws. After losing to Gene Tunney in 1922, he retired from boxing to enter the Real Estate business. He was drawn back to the ring in 1926 after experiencing some major financial losses. He returned as a heavyweight and fought 42 fights, losing just 12 bouts. His comeback ended in 1930. This vintage press photograph comes from the archives of the “Acme News Pictures Company”. This photograph measures about 7″ x 9″ and is in good condition (see scans).   (SOLD)                                                                                                            : 00

Published in: on October 18, 2018 at 12:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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PIERRE CALLOIR: FRENCH BANTAM WEIGHT BOXER

This vintage real photo postcard features French bantam weight boxer, Pierre Calloir (1898-?). He fought between 1919 and 1929. Calloir was no champ, but he also was no chump. His record in the ring was 23 Wins (11 by knockout), 28 losses (10 by knockout), and 11 draws. This postcard was made in France and published by DIX in Paris.  (SOLD)

Published in: on September 13, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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TOMMY RHETT: UNSPECTACULAR FLYWEIGHT BOXER WEARING SPECTACULAR YANKEE BOXING SHORTS

Meet boxer Tommy Rhett. He fought out of New York, and the website BoxRec lists him as a flyweight.  He began his boxing career in 1947 and battled his way to 1955. At first, his career got off to a promising start. He won his first five fights (1 by KO). In his next 21 fights, he lost 19 bouts. He had the unfortunate distinction of losing his last 16 fights. He finished his career with 7 wins and 19 losses. Tommy Rhett appears to have been a journeyman fighter. Apparently, after a few fights he became fodder for other boxers to improve their record. Rhett must have been frustrated and disappointed with his performance in the ring. Tommy was no champion, but he sure wore terrific boxing shorts. The logo on his shorts is the same logo that is currently worn by the New York Yankees. A little investigating revealed that the logo has a connection to Tiffany’s. The interlocking “NY” logo was designed by the jewelry store in 1877,  as part of a Medal of Valor for a NYPD officer who was shot in the line of duty. The 1909 season marked the first time the New York Highlanders used the logo in its present form. The Highlanders became the New York Yankees in 1913.  (SOLD)

PORTRAIT OF SWISS BOXER ANDRE SIMETH (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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This vintage real photo postcard features champion Swiss boxer, Andre Simeth. This postcard is part of a series (no. 26) entitled “Les Vedettes du Ring” (Stars of the Ring). In the course of his career, Simeth won 39 fights, lost 55 , and had 16 draws. He won 13 fights, and lost 16 fights by knockout. He was born in 1902 and made his debut in 1919. Simeth fought as a lightweight and at times held the Swiss lightweight title. The photographer of this portrait is Felix Bonnet who operated a studio in Paris, France. The postcard was published by Ajax.

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