Antonios Christoforidis Greek professional light, heavyweight boxer. (May 26, 1917 – October 31, 1985)

Antonios Christoforidis Greek professional light, heavyweight boxer. (May 26, 1917 - October 31, 1985) 1

Antonios Christoforidis (May 26, 1917 – October 31, 1985)

He was born in the Port City of Mersini on the southern Anatolian coast. When only a toddler, several of his family members including his father, were executed by the Turks in the midst of the Greek Genocide (1914-23).

His mother, 2 siblings and himself were spared. They were all exiled to Greece and ended up like so many of the Greek refugees, on the streets of Athens. 2 years later his mother would also die, leaving him an orphan.

Forced to work at a young age to survive, he found a lifeline through boxing. He was a strong boy and had talent, becoming Athens Champion at 15.

Aware of his talents, in 1933 he went to Paris, where he could make a living being a boxer, he fought all over Europe over the next few years – France, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Greece and North Africa.

After winning Greek & European Championships, he was noticed by promoters, who brought him to America. He won his first fight on American soil at Madison Square Garden in 1940.

In 1941, he earned a shot at the Light-Heavyweight Championship. He became the first and so far, only Greek Boxing World Champion, defeating Melio Bettina in Ohio.

After retiring in 1947 he settled in the US, where he ran a restaurant for many years. In 1968 he sold up and headed to Florida to retire.

In 1970, he decided to take a trip back to Greece for a month and a half vacation. He was treated as a hero in Greece and enjoyed his time so much; he ended up staying for 15 years until his death in 1985.

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