HILL, WITHERSPOON, WEPNER, CHUVALO, TORRES, ORTIZ & BASILIO TO ATTEND
BOXING HALL OF FAME FUND-RAISER
A "Night of Champions” planned for November 17th at
CANASTOTA, NY – OCTOBER 1, 2006 – A Boxing Hall of Fame “Night of Champions” featuring WBA cruiserweight champion Virgil “Quicksilver” Hill, two-time heavyweight champion “Terrible” Tim Witherspoon, heavyweight contender “The Bayonne Bleeder” Chuck Wepner, Canadian heavyweight champion George Chuvalo and Hall of Famers Jose Torres, Carlos Ortiz and Canastota's Carmen Basilio, is scheduled for The Empire Room at the NYS Fairgrounds on Friday, November 17, 2006.
“The 'Night of Champions' promises to be an exciting time for all sports fans in Central New York,” said Hall of Fame director Edward Brophy. “It's a tremendous opportunity to mingle with the legends of the sport of boxing.”
The evening will run from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and consist of photograph and autograph opportunities, food and beverages, silent and live auctions, fight films, and speeches by the celebrity guests.
Also, the 2006 Central New York Boxing Appreciation Award will be presented to Peter Cappuccilli, Jr. of Syracuse, NY for his contribution to the sport of boxing in Central New York.
The pride of Bismarck, North Dakota, Hill captured a silver medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. As a pro, “Quicksilver” reigned as WBA light heavyweight champion (1987-1991 and 1992-1997), IBF light heavyweight champion (1996-97) and WBA cruiserweight champion (2000-2002, 2006-present). Over his two reigns as light heavyweight champion, he successfully defended his title 20 times. Hill's pro record stands at 50-5 (23 KOs) with wins over Bobby Czyz, James Kinchen, Tyrone Frazier, Frank Tate, Fabrice Tiozzo, and Henry Maske among others.
Boxing out of Philadelphia, PA, Witherspoon turned pro in 1979. In only his 16th bout, he challenged WBC heavyweight champion Larry Holmes for the title and dropped a 12-round split decision. “Terrible” Tim bounced back to defeat Greg Page in 1984 for the WBC title. In 1986 he became a two-time champion when he won the WBA title with a 15-round decision over Tony “TNT” Tubbs. A successful defense over Frank Bruno (TKO 11) followed. Witherspoon retired in 2003 with a 55-13-1 (38 KOs) record and wins over James Broad, Carl Williams, and Al Cole among others.
Known as “The Bayonne Bleeder”, Wepner is one of boxing's most colorful characters. He turned pro in 1964 and wins over Manuel Ramos, Randy Neumann, and Ernie Terrell led to a shot at world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali on March 24, 1975. A decided underdog, Wepner was stopped via TKO in the 15th round. However, his spirited effort inspired Sylvester Stallone to pen the story of an underdog boxer that became the Academy Award-winning motion picture Rocky. Wepner retired in 1978 with a record of 35-14-2 (17 KOs).
Toronto's Chuvalo began boxing in 1956. Within two years he won the vacant Canadian heavyweight title, a championship he would hold for the better part of twenty years. Chuvalo registered wins over Yvon Durelle, Doug Jones, Cleveland Williams, Jerry Quarry and Syracuse's Mike DeJohn. He engaged in two-world title bouts, first against Ernie Terrell in 1965 (L15) and then a much-hyped bout with Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) in Toronto in 1966 (L15). Chuvalo retired in 1978 with a 73-18-2 (64 KOs) record and remains one of the most popular fighters in heavyweight history.
Torres won a silver medal at the 1956 Olympic Games and turned pro in 1958. Under the guidance of Hall of Fame trainer Cus D'Amato, he won the world light heavyweight title from Willie Pastrano in 1965. During his career he posted a 41-3-1 (29 KOs) record that includes wins over Carl “Bobo” Olson, Wayne Thornton, and Eddie Cotton. He has stayed active in boxing as chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission (1983-88) and as president of the World Boxing Organization (1993-95). He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1997.
Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Ortiz won the junior welterweight title with a 2nd round TKO over Kenny Lane in 1959. He moved down to the lightweight division and in 1962 scored a 15-round decision over Hall of Famer Joe Brown to win the world title. He lost and regained the belt in two 15-round bouts with Hall of Famer Ismael Laguna. Ortiz retired in 1972 with a 61-7-1 (30 KOs) record that includes wins over Flash Elorde, Sugar Ramos, Johnny Bizzarro, and Duilio Loi. In 1991, Ortiz was elected into the Hall of Fame.
Basilio, nicknamed “The Upstate Onion Farmer,” was born in Canastota, NY. He twice won the world welterweight title, first from Tony DeMarco in 1955 and then from Johnny Saxton in 1956 before defeating Sugar Ray Robinson for the middleweight championship in 1957. With an aggressive, charging style and a powerful left hook, Basilio scored wins over Lew Jenkins, Ike Williams, and Billy Graham among others during his career. His pro record reads 56-16-7 (27KOs). In 1990, he was elected into the Boxing Hall of Fame.
Tickets are $50 and can be purchased by calling Don Hamilton at 315-469-5088 or the Boxing Hall of Fame at 315-697-7095. Only a limited number of tickets will be available. All proceeds will benefit the Hall of Fame.