Home Boxing News The International Boxing Hall of Fame road to Canastota New York State.

The International Boxing Hall of Fame road to Canastota New York State.

The International Boxing Hall of Fame road to Canastota New York State.

In 1982 two American Legionnaires and long time Canastota residents were particularly struck by a article in a Canastota journal on the 25th anniversary of Carmen Basilio’s victory over Sugar Ray Robinson for the middleweight title, they thought something ought to be done, to commemorate the achievements of the boy who once worked in the onion fields just outside the town and grew up to become a World Champion, added to that the area also produced another World Champion at welterweight Carmen’s nephew Billy Backus, The Legionnaires felt the town had something to crow about, A movement was started to raise donations from local businesses to construct a showcase featuring memorabilia from the careers of Basilio and Backus, This was dedicated in 1984, The showcase is still there to this day, outside McDonald’s restaurant opposite present day hall of fame museum grounds, This success gave impetus to the group that had already established itself as The Boxing Hall of Fame Inc, to plan and build a shrine for the sport and It’s stars from around the world, Many Canastota residents put their energies behind efforts to establish a new Hall of Fame, They managed to secured two state grants to get the Hall up and running.

I know that my friend Dave Allen a big boxing memorabilia collector was the very first European visitor in 1989, Then in June 1990 the first International Boxing Hall of Fame began, Some of those there Included Archie Moore, Jersey Joe Walcott, Carmen Basilio, Jake LaMotta, Sandy Saddler, Jose Napoles, Emile Griffith, Bob Foster, Billy Conn, Kid Gavilan, Ike Williams, Willie Pep and Muhammad Ali.

Through another good friend and Dave Allen I myself visited The Hall of Fame for the first time in June 2002 and I have now visited a total of eight times and met some of my biggest heroes in the wonderful sport of Boxing.

Mick Smith.

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