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Charlie Spina

Sport: Boxing

Born: March 23, 1921

Died: May 30, 1988

Town: Hoboken

Charles Spina was born March 23, 1921 in Hoboken. Charlie began boxing as a teenager under Young Champ Sieger and won several fights before moving west as a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Charlie continued fighting in the Bay Area, winning 10 of 11 matches. Upon his return to New Jersey in 1937 he turned pro.

Charlie, who also went by the nicknames Blackie and the Hoboken Hurricane, was an intriguing fighter. His managers, Freddie Caruso and Fred Dellostritto, loved how he could knock opponents out with either hand—a rare talent for a young lightweight. In his first pro fight he earned a 4-round decision over Tommy Ferrara in Garfield.

Charlie enlisted in the Coast Guard at the start of World War II. He was stationed in Manhattan Beach under the command of Jack Dempsey—an outfit that might just be the greatest boxing movie never made. Among Charlie’s shipmates were Lou Ambers, Gus Lesnevich, Nathan Mann, Marteliano and Al Reid. Charlie had great success fighting in the service, but developed a case of pleurisy and did not return to the ring until after the war.

In 1946, Charlie stepped into the ring 11 times in three months as one of the crowd favorites at the Jersey Gardens Arena. He knocked out 7 of his first 8 opponents and won the 8th on a TKO. Charie finished his career with three wins over subpar fighters. With each win, his fans grew larger and noisier. They knew they’d get their money’s worth whenever he stepped into the ring.

Unfortunately, Charlie’s pleurisy returned. He left boxing hoping to recover, but he never did. He retired with a spotless 15–0 official record as a professional.

Charlie lived and worked in Lyndhurst for many year before moving south to Lakewood. He became the president of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame and was a walking encyclopedia of facts and figures. He passed away in the spring of 1988.

 

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