Written By: Lou McLaughlin
On Thursday, November 14, 2019, the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame held its 50th Annual Induction & Award at the Venetian in Garfield, New Jersey. It was my pleasure to attend this event. Special recognition is due to The New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame President Henry Hascup for organizing this event as he has for many years. The dinner was a sumptuous meal during the cocktail hour many unique, creative, and delicious hors d’oeuvres were served. The event was well worth the admission price. Among the many luminaries of the sport in attendance were former two-time world heavyweight champion Tim Witherspoon, Iran Barkley who held world championships in three weight classes, including the WBC middleweight title from 1988 to 1989, the IBF super middleweight title from 1992 to 1993 and the WBA light heavyweight title in 1992. Chuck Wepner is best known as a heavyweight who fought world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in a 1975 title fight.
The 2019 inductees into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame were as follows.
Mike Borao besides being a noted boxing advisor having worked with boxing stars such as former IBF Heavyweight Champion Charles Martin, former world welterweight champion Cory Spinks and Heavyweight contender Jameel McCline. Mr. Borao is also a distinguished attorney.
Tom Casino is a renowned boxing photographer. He has shot boxing action for Showtime television. Also his work has appeared in numerous newspapers. In the history of the Boxing Writers Association of America photography contest, Mr. Casino is the only photographer to have won first place in the action-photo category for three consecutive years.
Nelson Cuevas boxed as an amateur compiling a record of 93 wins and only 4 losses. He won the NY Spanish Gloves in 1962 and was a semi-finalist in the NY Golden Gloves in 1962 and 1963. He also boxed as a professional in the welterweight division from 1967 to 1970. After which he made his life long career as a trainer and cut man
Larry Hazzard, Jr. A former three-time New Jersey Golden Gloves champion, Mr. Hazzard began refereeing amateur bouts in 1967 and professional bouts in 1978. He went on to serve as third man in the ring for over 40 major world title fights. In 1985 he was appointed commissioner of the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board and served until November 2007.
Vinny LaManna has been a fight manager since 1989 guiding the careers of eventual world champions Ray Mercer, Al Cole, and Imamu Mayfield. His son Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna is professional in the super welterweight division and a main event headliner on Atlantic City fight cards.
Santos Lopez began boxing at 18 and fought twenty amateur fights and went to the Golden Gloves finals. Mr. Lopez turned professional having had 19 fights in the light weight division from 1992-1998
Jameel “Big Time” McCline a heavyweight who went straight to the pro ranks with no amateur experience at age 25. He engaged in four Championship contests from different sanctioning organizations against titlists Chris Byrd, Wladimir Klitschko, Nikolai Valuev and Samuel Peter. Mr. McCline fought from 1995-2012.
Reyes Munoz was a lightweight who fought from 1989-1999. Mr. Munoz fought a gallant effort against Arturo “Thunder” Gatti in 1998 in his last fight. His biggest win was against Troy Fletcher, who was the former Pennsylvania state bantamweight and featherweight champion.
Carl Riskush had his first amateur fight in April, 1969 and he fought amateur having over 100 bouts winning multiple tournaments. He fought from 1982-1993 as a professional in the welterweight and super welterweight division compiling a of 19-4-0 record with eight KO’s. Mr. Riskus was a star attraction at the Tropicana Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ.
Peter Wood is a noted author / writer in boxing. Mr. Wood is the author of Confessions of a Fighter—Battling Through the Golden Gloves and A Clenched Fist—The Making of a Golden Gloves Champion, two memoirs published by Ringside Books.
Mr. Wood’s writing credits also include a guest column in The New York Times, and articles in Commonweal, America magazine, Ring, Boxing Illustrated, Westchester Magazines, and Chicken Soup for the Soul, Proof, Boxing.com and TheSweetScience.com. In addition to his writing, Mr. Wood was a former New York City Golden Gloves finalist in 1971, and represented America in international competition in Montreal, Canada. In 1976, and in the Maccabean Games held in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Shakur Stevenson is a native of Newark, N.J. Mr. Stevenson represented the United States at the 2016 Summer Olympics, winning a silver medal in the bantamweight division. On October 26, 2019, Shakur Stevenson captured the WBO Featherweight Title Championship.
Anthony Johns is a Senior Amateur, 108 pound National Golden Glove Champion. Mr. Johns has won the New Jersey Golden Gloves Championship four times, the New Jersey Diamond Gloves Championship four times, and finishing third in the 2018 National Golden Gloves before winning the National title in 2019.
Kaheil Mishoe-Elliott was Junior Olympic Amateur National Female Champion, who is the first female to win this award. Among her many accomplishments in the amateurs are being the First Junior female to win the Gold at the USA National Eastern Qualifier – 2013-15 National Jr. Women’s Golden Gloves 3x Gold 2x Silver, 2015 & 2017 USA Jr. Prep Olympic National-Silver, 2018 USA Jr. Prep Olympic National-Bronze, 2018 USA Jr Olympic Nationals-Champion. 2018 USA Boxing Elite & Youth National Championships and Junior Open.
Mark Hoskins has been an Amateur Official since the beginning of 2014. As an amateur official has judged and refereed most of the shows in New Jersey since 2014.
Roger Chance was inducted as amateur coach. Mr. Chance has coached his daughter and sons to many State, Regional and National Titles. His son Emmanuel Chance won the 2017 Junior Olympic Boxer of the Year and is currently ranked number 1 in the US in the Peewee division.
Boxing judge Jim Kinney was inducted as “2019 Man of the Year”. Mr. Kinney was an Amateur Official for close to 30 years, judging and refereeing and was The N.J. Boxing Hall of Fame Amateur Official of the Year back in 2014. He is now a judge in the professional ranks.
Mike Hall grew up in Atlantic City and lived in Pleasantville. He passed away in 2014. Among the world class boxers he worked with as a trainer or cut man are Riddick Bowe, James Broad, Tracy Harris Patterson, Ray Mercer, and Dwight Muhammad Qawi
Lenny Hedinger passed away in 2016. Mr. Hedinger began his career with the New Jersey Boxing Commission in 1986 as a member of the NJ State Commission for the Study of Benefits for Professional Boxers. He was appointed as an Inspector for the NJSACB for well over 25 years during which time he became the Official Scorekeeper for the Commission at all boxing events.
Greg Torres was The New Jersey Hall of Fame Amateur Boxer of the Year back in 1992. He fought in the pros from 1993-2003 at featherweight with his biggest being against future Featherweight Champion of the World, Derrick Gainer and in his last fight against the former 2 times Super Bantamweight Champion of the World, Kennedy McKinney. Sadly, Mr. Torres’s life and career were cut short in 2003 in an auto accident.