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Former Spectrum Director of Boxing Celebrates Half Century in Boxing

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In honor of his 50th anniversary of promoting boxing in this city, J Russell Peltz will join musicians, athletes and former world champion boxer Jeff Chandler in signing the ‘Spectrum S’ — the actual letter S that hung on the legendary South Philadelphia sports and music venue.

On Tuesday, Oct. 1, at 11:00 am, just one day after the 50th anniversary of his first-ever boxing event as a promoter, Peltz will open his office-museum to media for the ceremonial signing of the iconic S, which owner and Spectrum devotee Andrew Key purchased in an auction after the venue’s retirement.

The Spectrum Arena, which opened in 1967, was demolished in 2009. During its tenure, it was dubbed “The House that Rock Built” as it became a regular stop on every major musical act’s tours. The first sporting event at the Spectrum was boxing, featuring “Smokin” Joe Frazier vs. Tony Doyle in October, 1967. The venue would go on to host the Flyers, 76ers, NCAA basketball tournaments and a multitude of other sporting events.

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Peltz was the Director of Boxing for the Spectrum from December, 1972, thru February, 1980. During that time he promoted over 75 boxing cards. Peltz, a Hall-of-Famer himself, put on bouts that included fellow Hall-of-Famers Emile Griffith, Roberto Duran, Matthew Saad Muhammad, Thomas Hearns, Michael Spinks, “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler, Bobby Chacon and Chandler.

The venue also boasts the largest-ever indoor boxing crowd in Pennsylvania for a world championship fight, as well as the largest-ever indoor crowd for a non-world championship fight.

On Nov 30, 1976, 16,019 fans paid to see the WBC Junior Lightweight Championship fight between Alfredo Escalera, of Puerto Rico, and Tyrone Everett, of South Philadelphia. On Aug. 24, 1978, the venue hosted 14,950 paying customers for a 10-round fight between middleweights Bennie Briscoe and Hagler.

Other world champions who boxed for Peltz at The Spectrum include: Mike Rossman, Ernie Terrell, Marvin Johnson, Gary Hinton, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Bruce Curry, Charlie “Choo Choo” Brown and Elisha Obed as well as top contenders Jimmy Young, Earnie Shavers, Jesse Burnett, Sammy Goss, Richie Kates, Jerry “The Bull” Martin, Yaqui Lopez, Billy “Dynamite” Douglas, Jerry Celestine, Lonnie Bennett, Don Fullmer, Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, Mike Everett, Art Hernandez, Miguel Barreto, Li’l Abner, Stanley “Kitten” Hayward, Willie “The Worm” Monroe, David Love, Edwin Viruet and Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts.

During Peltz’ years there, The Spectrum was considered one of the country’s four major boxing venues, alongside Madison Square Garden in New York, The Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles and The Forum in Inglewood, CA.

The signing kicks off fight week for Peltz’ 50th Anniversary event, Blood, Sweat & 50 Years, to be held at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia, on Friday, Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for Blood, Sweat & 50 Years are available at 2300arena.com.

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