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The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia -- Lineal Champion
(Ignacius Pasquale Guiffi )
BORN November 30 1914; Baltimore, Maryland DIED September 1988; Baltimore, Maryland HEIGHT 5-5 WEIGHT 116 1/2 - 131 lbs MANAGER Max Waxman TRAINER Heinie Blaustein
Jeffra was a talented fighter who had nearly 122 bouts and lost but 20; He was an excellent boxer who exhibited wonderful footwork accompanied by a sneaky left jab; During his career; he won the Featherweight Championship of the World and the Bantamweight Championship of the World
Harry defeated such men as Lou Salica, Joey Archibald, "Pittsburgh" Jackie Wilson, Sixto Escobar, Phil Terranova, Ruby Bradley, Tommy Forte, Joey Iannotti, Mike Raffa, Indian Quintana, Nicky Jerome and Bill Speary
Harry was inducted into the Ring Boxing Hall of Fame in 1982; The eminent boxing historian, Hank Kaplan, felt that Jeffra deserved to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHOF link) - as do many others
Harry Jeffra was born November 30, 1914 in Baltimore, Maryland. After a brief amateur career, he turned pro on September 21, 1933. He was undefeated in his first 26 fights – only a draw with Mike Tardugno marred a perfect record. Heinie Blaustein was his long-time trainer and was ably assisted by Max Waxman and the Manassa Mauler, Jack Dempsey.
Jeffra won his first World Championship on September 25, 1937 when he won a 15 round decision by defeating Sixto Escobar for the Bantamweight title. His second World title was for the NYSAC Featherweight crown when he defeated Joey Archibald for the Featherweight Championship on May 20, 1940. He finished with an outstanding record of 122 fights – 94 wins (KO 28), 20 losses (KO 2) and 7 draws.
Harry Jeffra has been inducted into the Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame, the Ring Hall of Fame, the National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame. WHAT IS MISSING? His deserved induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, Canastota, New York.
May 19, 2008
RE: Harry Jeffra
On behalf of Mr. Joe Sanchez, Sr., President of Veterans Boxing Association Inc., International Ring 101, Baltimore, MD and through him, the entire membership, I am writing this request to list Harry Jeffra as a nominee on the 2009 ballot for induction into the IBHOF.
Nominating a boxer for the celebrated distinction of being placed in the IBHOF is in itself an enormous challenge. Complete records are available, but these do not always reveal an accurate depiction of ability. The hard, cold facts relating to ability and talent are usually inscribed and then deciphered between the lines of boxing ledgers. A notable name may appear in a win column but what is the true importance of that triumph. Was that opponent in an emerging or regressive stage in his career? To the contrary, an entry in a loss column may call for more explanatory answers. A search through newspaper clippings and magazine stories often disclose surprising facts: Poor officiating, an unmistakable home town decision, one man visibly weakened by making weight, a bout halted prematurely, a slip called a knockdown and many other reasons a verdict could become clouded. However, in some way and by some means, true ability is always acknowledged.
In addition to the self evident ability and ingenuity that is indispensable for ring notoriety, another combination of qualities are most necessary to distinguish predominance. They are profound moral strength and a noble character, qualities that seem to be deficient with some of today’s athletes.
Much has been said and written of Harry Jeffra’s achievements in the boxing ring along with his being regarded as “just about the cleanest guy in the fight business” and his courage. By demonstrating these qualities on all occasions, he has added luster to the very highest traditions of boxing history.
Born on November 30, 1914, in Baltimore, Maryland to Samuel & Mae Jeffra, Harry was the grandson of Italian immigrants on his father’s side of the family. He started boxing in the amateurs at age 15.
Harry had an impressive record of 122 fights - 94 wins (KO 28), 20 losses (KO 2) and 7 draws. Some sources say his professional debut was on September 28, 1933 vs. Angelo Brocato. But in fact, his boxing debut was against Earl Wise on September 22, 1933. He had 26 fights before suffering his first loss on October 21, 1935 vs. Danny London via TKO. Within those first 26 fights, he had 1 draw.
Jeffra was considered an unorthodox, swarming type of a fighter, hard hitting, who could hit with either hand and take his full share of punishment. The 1936 NBA ratings ranked him as the #1 contender. Of his 28 KO/TKO wins, the majority of these came in the early rounds.
Harry is one of the super champions in boxing history who have won two or more world titles. He won the World Bantamweight title on September 23, 1937 vs. Sixto Escobar via a 15 round unanimous decision and the NYSAC World Featherweight & Maryland State World Featherweight championship on May 20, 1940 vs. Joey Archibald via a 15 round unanimous decision which was recognized by the NYSAC, Maryland, Pennsylvania & California boxing commissions.
After two previous wins over Sixto Escobar, the crowning of Jeffra as the World Bantamweight Champion took place at the Polo Grounds in New York City on the promoter Mike Jacobs' famed "Carnival of Champions" card. This was the only boxing extravaganza in which four World titles were at stake. Jeffra decisioned Sixto Escobar in 15 rounds for the first of his two crowns. In the other title bouts in the show, Lou Ambers successfully defended his Lightweight crown against Pedro Montanez and Barney Ross put his crown on the line against Ceferino Garcia. Ambers & Ross both won 15 round decisions. The only bout that failed to go the distance was Fred Apostoli's TKO win in the 10th round over Marcel Thil. In an article from The Gleaner, dated September 25, 1937, the Jeffra-Escobar bout was considered as the "top spot on the card" because they gave more thrills during their bout than all the fights for the night combined. At the end of the fight, Escobar was heard to have said the best man had won.
Jeffra won his title that night against an inductee of the IBHOF. Of the four winners that night, Jeffra is the only one not yet inducted into the IBHOF. He was inducted into the Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame in 1962 as well as the Ring Hall of Fame in 1982 and is one of the 22 inductees who have not been inducted in the IBHOF. Jeffra was also inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1988 and the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1998.
Harry fought Sixto Escobar four times during his boxing career. His only loss to him was on February 20, 1938, when Escobar won his Bantamweight title back. According to an article in the Montana Standard, dated January 30, 1938, Jeffra was the first World Champion who had ever risked his title against a native of the tropics in his homeland.
Jeffra felt indebted to the game, always talking of how good boxing had been to him. He was proud of the fact that his earnings had enabled him to send his four children to college. After retiring in 1950, one of his jobs included spending two years as a boxing coach for Western Maryland College.In an article from the Sweet Science website, dated October 21, 2007, two other notable historians agree that Harry should be inducted into the IBHOF.
The article states:
“Anyone who could be a bantamweight or featherweight contender in the thirties and forties deserves to be in the Hall of Fame,” said noted historian Mike Silver. “Those divisions were loaded with talent. To win a title back then, that that was quite an accomplishment. Anyone who beat the fighters he did deserves to be in the Hall, no question about it.”
And when Hank Kaplan, who is undoubtedly the world’s premier boxing historian, was asked about Jeffra being Canastota worthy, he responded unequivocally, “Absolutely, he was a great fighter.”
Harry Jeffra performed with class, both in and out of the ring, always conducting himself as a gentleman. As you examine his distinguished career, you must be impressed by the caliber of his opponents which included Billy Landers, Danny London, Skippy Allen, Ruby Bradley, Spider Armstrong, Jackie Wilson, Lulu Costantino, Lou Salica, Phil Terranova and Packy McFarland, to name a few. Unfortunately, as the years pass, recollections of the great ones fade except for perhaps some clippings or photographs hidden away in a shoe box or in a historian’s private collection. Induction into the IBHOF is boxing’s way of remembering these great fighters. Harry Jeffra passed away in September 1988.
Publicist, Int’l Ring 101
January 18, 2009
RE: Nomination and Induction of Harry Jeffra
Once again, the membership of Veteran Boxing Association International Ring 101, Inc., is submitting the name of Harry Jeffra for nomination and induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Harry was born on November 30, 1914, in Baltimore, Maryland. He started boxing in the amateurs at age 15. His professional career spanned seventeen years from September 22, 1933 to December 12, 1950. Harry fought in a time of ONLY eight weight classifications and when there were no governing bodies like we have today. In his time, you had to “be the man who beat the man.” And Harry did just that by becoming the World Bantamweight Champion with his win over Sixto Escobar on September 23, 1937 and the NYSAC World Featherweight Champion on May 20, 1940 with his win over Joey Archibald.
He had an outstanding record of 122 fights – 94 wins, 20 losses and 7 draws. Within his 94 wins, he had 28 KO’s and in his 20 losses, he was KO’d only twice. Harry had 26 fights before suffering his first loss on October 21, 1935 vs. Danny London via TKO. Within those first 26 fights, he had 1 draw. Among his many opponents are notable names such as Billy Landers, Danny London, Ruby Bradley, Spider Armstrong, Lulu Costantino, Lou Salica, Phil Terranova and Packy McFarland.
Jeffra was considered an unorthodox, swarming type of fighter – hard-hitting – who could hit with either hand and take his full share of punishment. The 1936 NBA ratings ranked Harry as the #1 contender. The majority of his 28 KO/TKO wins came in the early rounds of his bouts.
Harry fought five current Hall of Famers, beating four of the five. He had winning bouts against Sixto Escobar, Joey Archibald, Phil Terranova and Lou Salica. The one Hall of Famer he lost to was the last fight of his career – losing a 10 round decision to Packy McFarland.
As the years pass, recollections of the great ones fade except for perhaps some newspaper clippings or old photographs hidden away in an historian’s private collection or perhaps an old shoebox in someone’s closet. Harry Jeffra performed with class both in and out of the ring – always conducting himself as a gentleman. He was a true credit to the sport of boxing. Harry passed away in September of 1988.
Jeffra was elected into the Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame in 1962, the Ring Hall of Fame in 1982, the National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame in 1988 and the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1998. He was also inducted into the Veteran Boxers Association International Ring 101, Inc. Hall of Fame in Maryland in 1973. Induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame is boxing’s way of remembering these great fighters of the past and is the “final crown” on their illustrious careers. Harry Jeffra deserves the honor of induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and his “final crown.”
Publicist, Int’l Ring 1011933 Sep 22 Earl Wise Baltimore, Md W 4 Sep 28 Angelo Brocato Baltimore, Md W 4 -Some sources report 9/21/33 Oct 6 Bob Sponsler Baltimore, Md W 4 Oct 18 Earl Wise Baltimore, Md W 4 Nov 9 Chester Fowble Baltimore, Md W 4 Nov 16 Al Beatty Baltimore, Md W 4 Dec 21 Bob Sponsler Baltimore, Md KO 1 Dec 27 Russ Driscoll Baltimore, Md KO 1 1934 Jan 4 "Young" Harry Groves Baltimore, Md TK 4 Jan 8 Lew Votta Baltimore, Md W 4 Jan 29 Elmer Lytell Baltimore, Md KO 1 Feb 16 Pete Galiano Baltimore, Md W 6 Apr 9 Leroy "Kid" Dugan Baltimore, Md W 6 Jul 27 Lou Young Baltimore, Md KO 2 Aug 10 Joey Selmar Baltimore, Md KO 2 Sep 10 Chester Fowble Baltimore, Md TK 5 1935 Jan 11 Tommy Horn Baltimore, Md W 6 Jan 28 Tommy Horn Baltimore, Md TK 3 Feb 11 Mike Tardugno Washington, DC D 6 Mar 18 Nick Montano Baltimore, Md TK 3 Apr 8 Lloyd Pine Washington, DC W 6 May 20 Milt Jacobs Baltimore, Md KO 1 Jun 7 Chester Fowble Baltimore, Md KO 2 Jun 21 Eddie Burl Baltimore, Md W 8 Jul 11 Mickey Duca Baltimore, Md W 8 Aug 2 Billy Landers Baltimore, Md W 8 Oct 21 Danny London Baltimore, Md LT 5 Nov 25 Pete Romanelli Baltimore, Md W 10 Dec 30 Victor Vallee Baltimore, Md L 10 1936 Jan 27 Joey Allen Baltimore, Md L 10 Mar 30 Norman Rahn Baltimore, Md W 8 Apr 27 Dewey Cannon Baltimore, Md KO 3 May 4 Joe Temes Washington, DC W 6 Jun 1 Joe Temes Baltimore, Md W 8 Jun 29 Santos Hugo Washington, DC W 6 Sep 7 Sammy Tucker Baltimore, Md TK 4 Sep 21 Joe "Reds" Transparenti Baltimore, Md KO 7 Oct 5 Sixto Escobar Baltimore, Md W 10 Nov 23 Skippy Allen Baltimore, Md KO 6 Dec 9 Sixto Escobar New York, NY W 10 1937 Jan 18 Jackie Corcoran Baltimore, Md KO 2 Feb 22 Lawrence Gunn Baltimore, Md W 10 Mar 29 Al Gillette Baltimore, Md KO 1 May 10 Jimmy Martin Baltimore, Md TK 7 May 14 Georgie Holmes Philadelphia, Pa TK 2 -Some sources report "Baltimore, Md" Jun 23 Jimmy Moran Easton, Pa KO 2 -Some sources report "Baltimore, Md" Jul 19 Ruby Bradley Philadelphia, Pa KO 4 Aug 14 Biff Lemieux Milford, NY W 8 Aug 30 Biff Lemieux Philadelphia, Pa W 10 -Some sources report "W 8" on 8/28/37 at "Long Beach, NY" Sep 23 Sixto Escobar New York, NY W 15 -Bantamweight Championship of the World Nov 1 Biff Lemieux Dayton, Oh W 10 Nov 16 Jackie Carter St. Louis, Mo TK 4 Nov 26 Indian Quintana Baltimore, Md W 10 Dec 20 Armando Sicilia Washington, DC W 8 1938 Jan 1 Panchito Villa Mexico City, Mexico L 10 Feb 20 Sixto Escobar San Juan, Puerto Rico L 15 -Bantamweight Championship of the World Sep 17 Nicky Jerome Brooklyn, NY TK 6 Dec 19 Johnny Mirabella Baltimore, Md TK 1 1939 Jan 9 Danny London Baltimore, Md NC 4 Jan 16 Danny London Baltimore, Md W 6 Feb 6 Lou Transparenti Baltimore, Md KO 6 -Some sources report 2/22/39 May 1 Marcus Pitts Baltimore, Md W 10 Jun 12 Al Mancini Baltimore, Md W 8 -Some sources report "W 10" Jul 11 Johnny Marcelline Philadelphia, Pa W 10 Sep 11 Baby Yack Washington, DC W 8 Sep 28 Joey Archibald Washington, DC L 15 -Some sources report this bout as a Featherweight Championship of the World contest Nov 20 Andre Sarilla Baltimore, Md W 10 Dec 11 "Young" Johnny Buff Washington, DC W 8 1940 Apr 17 Hitoshi Tanaka Hagerstown, Md W 8 May 20 Joey Archibald Baltimore, Md W 15 -Featherweight Championship of the World (as recognized by New York and Maryland states) Jul 29 John "Spider" Armstrong Baltimore, Md W 15 -Featherweight Championship of the World (as recognized by New York and Maryland states) Aug 20 Jackie Wilson Youngstown, Pa W 10 Nov 19 Bill Speary Wilkes-Barre, Pa L 10 Dec 2 Sixto Escobar Baltimore, Md W 10 1941 Jan 6 Bill Speary Baltimore, Md W 12 Apr 21 Tony Iacovacci Baltimore, Md W 10 Apr 29 Al Brown Wilkes-Barre, Pa TK 7 May 12 Joey Archibald Washington, DC L 15 -Featherweight Championship of the World (as recognized by New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania and California states) Jun 24 Bobby "Poison" Ivy Hartford, Ct L 10 Jul 29 Patsy Giovanelli Long Island City, NY L 8 Aug 12 Mike Raffa Pittsburgh, Pa D 10 Sep 8 Tommy Forte Philadelphia, Pa W 10 Sep 15 Lou Transparenti Baltimore, Md W 12 -Featherweight Championship of Maryland Nov 10 Joey Archibald Providence, RI W 10 1942 Feb 2 Bill Speary Toronto, Ontario, Canada W 10 Feb 27 Joey Iannotti New York, NY W 8 Mar 9 Jose Domingo Rozo New York, NY W 8 Mar 16 Billy Banks Baltimore, Md W 10 Mar 30 Sonny Brentz Baltimore, Md TK 2 Apr 13 Lulu Constantino New York, NY L 8 Apr 28 Frankie Rubino Brooklyn, NY W 8 Jun 19 Albert "Chalky" Wright Baltimore, Md LT 10 -Featherweight Championship of the World (as recognized by New York state) 1943 Jul 30 Frankie Rubino Brooklyn, NY D 8 -Some sources report 7/31/43 Aug 24 Billy Banks Washington, DC W 8 Sep 28 Davey Crawford Long Island City, NY W 8 Oct 4 Johnny Cockfield Washington, DC W 10 Nov 8 Phil Terranova Baltimore, Md W 10 Nov 22 Paulie Jackson Philadelphia, Pa W 8 1944 Jan 24 Frankie Rubino Baltimore, Md W 10 Feb 7 Jimmy Collins Baltimore, Md W 10 Mar 13 Frankie Rubino Baltimore, Md W 10 Mar 27 Lou Salica Baltimore, Md W 10 May 31 Cleo Shans Baltimore, Md L 10 Aug 15 Domingo Diaz Montreal, Quebec, Canada TK 6 Aug 28 Charley Noel Montreal, Quebec, Canada W 8 Nov 3 Charley Noel Providence, RI W 10 Nov 20 Phil Terranova New York, NY D 10 1945 Jan 8 Jackie Wilson Baltimore, Md L 10 Feb 6 Jackie Graves Minneapolis, Mn L 8 Mar 21 Leroy Jackson Cleveland, Oh W 8 Apr 4 Leroy Jackson Cleveland, Oh W 8 Jun 1 Sammy Garcia Boston, Ma W 10 Sep 11 Mickey Quack Millvale, Pa D 10 Oct 29 Freddie Russo Baltimore, Md L 10 Nov 27 Enrique Bolanos Los Angeles, Ca L 10 1946 Jan 28 Mickey Quack Pittsburgh, Pa W 10 Mar 3 Oscar Calles Caracas, Venezuela L 10 Jun 25 Nick Stato Hartford, Ct D 8 1947 Jan 20 Leslie Harris Baltimore, Md D 10 Feb 3 Leslie Harris Baltimore, Md W 10 1950 Oct 23 Lenny Alvarez New Orleans, La L 8 Dec 12 Packey McFarland Omaha, Ne L 10 -Some sources report 12/13/50 at "Wichita, Ks" *** The Following Bout Is Reported But Not Confirmed *** 1939 Aug 11 Joey Marcelline Baltimore, Md W 10
Record courtesy of Tracy Callis, Historian, International Boxing Research Organization
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