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Anton Raadik-The Rampaging Estonian


BoztheMadman
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The only noteworthy boxer from Estonia, Anton Raadik was a 1940's middleweight contender who didn't have a very successful career but was a dangerous fighter with a good punch, who famously came close to knocking out Marcel Cerdan, for which he is most known for. He fought both Jake LaMotta and his brother Joey, losing to the first and beating the other. He also stopped Anton Christoforidis and Georgie Abrams and Carmen DeJohn (brother of heavyweight Mike). He never got a world title shot because of his many losses, but had he succeeded in knocking out Cerdan, he most likely would have. 

He was born in Harma, a village in southeast Estonia, 15 January 1917. He stood 5'9 tall and was well built and weighed up to 168 pounds, meaning that today he would be super middleweight. He first boxed as amateur and won the European championship in 1939. He had reported 130 amateur fights, winning 118. It is reported that he had 3 professional fights in Moscow between 1940 and 1941, but his first registered fight was in Copenhagen, Denmark, 29 January 1943. After fleeing the Soviet-occupied Estonia during World War 2, he first came to Finland before he relocated to Chicago to train and live there, after fighting his first 9 fights in Sweden, Finland and Denmark. After winning his first 5 fights, he lost to the Finnish Oiva Purho in the 6th, by PTS8. He was then disqualified in the next one against Jimmy Ingle for a low blow in the 3rd round. He then scored 6 straight knockouts before losing by disqualification in 1 round against John Henry Eskew; after being down, he got up and then immediately went down again and that led to his disqualification-today that would have been a stoppage loss. In his next fight, he beat Joey LaMotta by decision.

He then faced Carmen DeJohn and put him down nine times before he stopped him by TKO4. After also knocking out Charley Hayes in 2, he then fought Jake "Raging Bull" LaMotta, 6 December 1946 at Chicago Stadium. He lost on points to the future legend after 10 rounds. On 18 February next year, he scored his probably biggest victory when he fought Anton Christoforidis, the future light heavy world champion, at Chicago Stadium. He was behind going into round 6, when he started to punish the Greek to the body and after another round of heavy body punching, Christo retired in his corner. He then fought the former world title challenger Georgie Abrams, who had come close to beating Tony Zale, 11 April in Chicago. Raadik opened best and punished Abrams to the body in the first few rounds, but he suffered a cut in the fist round and it affected him, as he lost all the rounds after the fourth and with it the decision. He next fought the hard-punching Al Hostak, a former world champion, who stopped him on a cut over the right eye in 5 rounds. 

After scoring 3 more knockouts over seasoned fighters, he got to fight Marcel Cerdan, who would soon thereafter win the world championship from Tony Zale. The fight took place 31 October 1947 at Chicago Stadium and Cerdan, the better boxer, dominated the fight soundly until the tenth and last round, when Raadik reportedly pushed the weary French-Algerian to the canvas and then dropped him twice with right hand punches, first time nearly knocking him thru the ropes. The bell then rang and deprived Raadik of a chance to finish of his wounded opponent and Cerdan was awarded a UD10. Although Cerdan had 2 losses already (and 101 wins), he had never come close to being stopped before. On 21 April next year, Raadik avenged the loss to Abrams when he stopped him by TKO10 after battering him around the ring, dropping him once in the 9th and twice in the 10th before it was over. Raadik was actually a late sub for Sugar Ray Robinson-guess he did Abrams a favour, because he ended up retiring and not fighting Robinson, who would probably have dished out an even worse punishment. 

Unfortunately for him, that would remain Raadik's crowning achievement and last big fight he would win. He lost a decision to Sonny Horne later that same year, then avenged the loss with another decision win, before he got stopped against the hard-hitting Ralph Zannelli, who floored him three times before getting the stoppage in the 5th. Raadik was the better man in the first 3 rounds but after first getting floored in the 4th with a left hook to the chin and then later getting hit with two big punches, he was unable to come back. On 15 March 1949, he went to Honolulu to fight their local hero Bobo Olson, a future world champion, and was stopped by TKO6, after getting both his eyes swollen shut. He was also down once in the second round. He would lose most of his remaining fights and retired in 1952, his last fight being against Garth Panter on 1 May. His last victory was on 24 May 1951, when he knocked out journeyman Frankie Gimbel in 7. He was also stopped by Steve Belloise by TKO7 before that and lost a decision to Sugar Ray Robinson-challenger Robert Villemain. 

His record is 36 wins with 25 ko's, 24 losses (8 by ko) and 1 draw. Despite suffering 8 ko losses, most of them were due to cuts or swellings, which attests to the fact that Raadik was a tough guy. He was also physically strong, obviously, but probably lacked some finesse and a tighter defence. It is also worth noting that 11 of those losses came after the Bobo Olson fight. His boxing alias was "The Rampaging Estonian", rather suitable one. Anton Raadik died on 13 March 1999 in Chicago, aged 82. His career is one of those curious stories of "what ifs?" in that he came very close to knocking out a world class fighter who was headed towards a world title fight. What if it had been Raadik there against Zale? Knowing that Zale was already past his prime, it isn't unthinkable that he might have stopped "Man of Steel"-Cerdan went on to stop him after all. That is an interesting food for thought-however, it wasn't meant to be and Anton Raadik was instead forever doomed to remain "the nearly man" and a sidenote on a great fighter's record. 

Raadik.Anton.jpg

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  • BoztheMadman changed the title to Anton Raadik-The Rampaging Estonian

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