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Steve Belloise


BoztheMadman
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Belloise was a middleweight contender who mostly fought in the 1940's. He was a hard-hitting scrapper who twice unsuccessfully challenged for the world title and lost both times by a close decision to same man, Ken Overlin. He beat fighters like Ceferino Garcia, Al Hostak (by knockout), Anton Christoforidis, Robert Villemain, Tommy Bell, Izzy Jannazzo, Georgie Abrams and Anton Raadik. Most of these names may be unfamiliar to many, but the first two were world champions and the rest were all solid contenders. He scored 59 ko's in 95 wins. He was only stopped by hardest punchers in his prime. He only lost 13 out of 111 fights. Belloise was a talented and capable fighter who achieved relatively lot in his 12 years in the ring.

 

He was born 16 December 1918 in Bronx, New York. His older brother Mike was the world featherweight champion in 1936. Steve turned pro in 1938 with a TKO 4 of Vincent Califano but then lost his next fight by KO 2 to Vince Jaskul. He won three more fights before again losing to Gene Molnar, who was far more experienced, this time by decision in a 4-rounder. At first he fought as a welterweight and then scored 27 straight wins and 1 draw (including a dominant unanimous decision over Ceferino Garcia) before suddenly landing a fight against the world champion Ken Overlin on 1 November 1940. Overlin was known as an excellent technician and had taken the title from Ceferino Garcia himself. He would go on to win 135 bouts, but the 8 years younger and less experienced Belloise went on to give him a run for his money, knocking him down in the 6th and giving him a hotly contested fight which went to the scorecards. The scoring referee scored it a draw, but the other two judges scored it for the champion. The majority of the crowd shouted their disagreement but the verdict remained. It was a very good showing from Belloise, who at the time was still only 21, a month shy of his 22nd birthday. The rematch was scheduled a month later, again at Madison Square Garden. Once again, the fight was a close and competitive one and again it went the distance, with the referee giving it to Belloise but again the other two judges favoured Overlin. He rebounded with a second-round stoppage of Irwin Kay Kaplan, but then in a fight against journeyman Andre Jessurun, he got two points deducted for low blows and lost by a split decision. He avenged the loss a month later, in February 1941, by KO 7. On 14 March, he fought against big puncher Tami Mauriello, who later went on to challenge for the world light heavyweight title and also campaigned as a heavyweight. Belloise was down no less than five times from "furious right-handed bombardment that seemed to come from all directions" and counted out with a second remaining of the first round. It was billed as a Bronx championship bout as Mauriello also came from Bronx.

 

Belloise took three months away from the ring before returning with a points win over Vic Delicurti. He then joined the Navy to fight in world war 2 in 1942 but came back after a year and opened 1943 by knocking out the 1-0 Horace Jones, whom he put down eight times, in 2 rounds. At the end of the year, he went to Philadelphia to face the skilled veteran Holman Williams and dropped a 10-round decision to him. He then hit a winning streak of 15 fights before fighting Georgie Abrams on 23 August 1946 and dropping a majority decision to him. Abrams was a technician who drew against Charley Burley and lost a world title fight to Tony Zale on points previously, knocking him down once. Following that fight, he would lose to Marcel Cerdan on points in a hard fight-in other words, a class fighter. On 22 November Belloise scored his first notable victory over Anton Christoforidis, the future world light heavyweight champ, whom he stopped by TKO 10. But his greatest achivement was just around the corner. On 22 January next year he went to Houston to fight Al "Savage Slav" Hostak, a hard puncher and former world champion. Belloise was put down with a right hand for a count of nine in the first round, but he came back and knocked Hostak out with a short right to the jaw in the fourth. The blow was so hard that it lifted Hostak off his feet and sent him down, where he stayed. He then stopped the noted contender Izzy Jannazzo by TKO 3, before avenging the loss to Abrams on 11 June. He put Abrams down in the first and the second before knocking him down again in the fifth, after which the fight was stopped. After such a great streak, he once again faced Hostak on 26 August. This time, Hostak had learned his lesson and boxed more patiently, letting Belloise attack first. In the second round, Hostak landed a left hook and a right cross to Belloise's jaw which put him down for a seven-count. He survived but it appeared his nose had been broken. He was again in trouble in the seventh but came back in the last three rounds and traded with Hostak, who won on points in the end. Belloise ended the year by knocking out Billy Arnold in 1 minute 21 seconds with a right to the jaw and then decisioned the former Sugar Ray Robinson-challenger Tommy Bell, whom he put down twice also.

 

He kept on fighting but would never land another world title fight, unfortunately. On 7 January 1949 he beat the capable 33-0 Frenchman Robert Villemain, who would later defeat Jake La Motta. Harder-punching Belloise bloodied the Frenchman around the eyes but didn't manage to put him down or out. After knocking out a few more semi-names, he was pitted against Sugar Ray Robinson himself in a fight billed as the eliminator for the world title. The fight took place at the Yankee Stadium in Belloise's home turf of Bronx, 24 August 1949. Robinson was a 3-1 favourite, naturally. The crowd of 28,000 came to see Robinson dominate Belloise, who only was given the fifth round by the judges, but was otherwise outclassed and then put down in the seventh with a left hook to the chin. The referee was at the count of five as the bell rang and Belloise was dragged back to his corner, where he remained as the fight ended, his manager stopping the fight. He still managed to score one last good victory against Anton Raadik, a hard-hitting brawler from Estonia, who had nearly stopped Marcel Cerdan once and also stopped Georgie Abrams. Steve delighted the Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo by stopping him by TKO 7, on 30 January 1950. He won four more fights against minor opposition before he faced the former world title-challenger, the Frenchman Laurent Dauthille and lost by TKO 7 in a fight in Montreal, Canada on 1 May. Seven months later, on 20 December, he was again stopped by Billy Kilgore in a fight that today would be billed at super middleweight, by TKO 3 and after that he retired at the age of 32.

 

After retirement, he worked as a bricklayer and then a city building inspector. He also had a cameo role in the movie Requiem for a Heavyweight. He also had another brother, Sal, who boxed as a middleweight during the late 40's and early 50's. Steve Belloise died 18 February 1984, at the Bronxs Veterans Hospital, aged 66, from Alzheimer's disease. His boxing nickname was Gink.

Edited by BoztheMadman
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