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Tony Galento

Sport: Boxing

Born: March 12, 1910

Died: July 22, 1979

Town: Orange, New Jersey

Domenico Antonio Galento was born March 12, 1910 in Orange. He was nicknamed "Two Ton Tony" by his manager when he was almost late to one of his fights, claiming that he had to deliver two tons of ice on the way there.

Tony stood 5'9" and weighed 235 pounds—a short but not small heavyweight by any means. He did very little training other than eating massive quantities of food—sometimes even his opponents' meals to intimidate them. Tony often trained on beer after closing his bar. He once ate 52 hot dogs on a bet before fighting Arthur DeKuh. Before the bout, trainers had to cut a slit in Tony's trunks so he could fit into them; he was so sluggish he could barely move. Even then, he still knocked out DeKuh with a single left hook in the fourth round.

On June 28th, 1939, Tony fought for the heavyweight championship of the world against Joe Louis. Louis was favored 8 to 1, but Tony was not impressed. In an interview, he claimed he had never even heard of "da bum" and predicted he would "moida" him. He must have known Louis would be a formidable opponent—Tony did not drink any alcohol two days before the bout!

The fight took place in Yankee Stadium. Tony stunned Louis with a powerful first-round left hook. Louis retaliated in the second round by flooring Tony with a punch that lifted him off his feet. It was the first time Tony had been knocked down in a professional fight. In the third round, Louis was hitting Tony with combinations when he was struck with a wild left hook, sending the Brown Bomber to the canvas. Tony's lack of defense crippled him in the fourth round, forcing the referee to stop the fight. Tony claims that he lost the fight because he had been encouraged to change his style and fight cleanly.

Tony fought Lou Nova in one of the bloodiest and dirtiest fights in history, with kneeing, gouging, and hits below the belt from both fighters, and Tony "falling" on Nova twice, knees first. He eventually knocked Nova out in the 14th round. Tony also fought Max Baer, going into the bout with a stitched-up lip from an argument with his brother just hours before the fight. Baer reopened the cut in the first round, leaving Tony to swallow blood for the remainder of the fight, which ended in Baer's victory.

Tony's boxing record was 80-26-5 with 57 knockouts. For publicity stunts and stage attractions, Tony wrestled an octopus, boxed a kangaroo, and fought a 550-pound bear. He retired in 1943, turning to professional wrestling. Tony also tried acting, with roles in Wind Across the Everglades, The Best Things in Life Are Free, Guys and Dolls, and On the Waterfront.In his retirement, Tony once got into a famous fight with Jackie Gleason, knocking him out cold after heckling Gleason while he was performing onstage. He died July 22, 1979 at the age of 69.


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