Primo Carnera

Primo Carnera

"This article is about the historical boxer, for the wrestler having same nickname, see Primo Carnera."Infobox Boxer
name=Primo Carnera

Da: Il torso del gigante 1931 [ Galleria immagini]
realname=Primo Carnera
nickname=The Ambling Alp
height=height|ft=6|in=5.75 [ [] ]
nationality=flagicon|ITA Italian
birth_date=birth date|1906|10|26|mf=y
birth_place=Sequals, Italy
death_date=death date and age|1967|6|29|1906|10|26|mf=y
home=Sequals, Italy
no contests=0

Primo Carnera (October 26, 1906June 29, 1967) was an Italian boxer who became the World Heavyweight champion.


Born in Sequals, near Udine, Italy, Carnera was a remarkable individual height|ft=6|in=5.75 [ [] ] tall and weighed convert|284|lb|kg [ [ better weight] ] , at a time when the average height was approximately height|ft=5|in=5. Until December 19 2005, when the 7 ft 1 in, 147 kg Nikolay Valuev won the WBA title, Carnera along with Jess Willard who stood 6' 6 1/2" were the biggest heavyweight champions in boxing history. He enjoyed a sizable reach advantage over most rivals, and when seen on fight footage, he seems like a towering giant compared to many heavyweights of his era, who were usually at least 60 pounds (27 kg) lighter and 7 inches (18 cm) shorter than he was. One publicity release about him read in part: "For breakfast, Primo has a quart of orange juice, two quarts of milk, nineteen pieces of toast, fourteen eggs, a loaf of bread and half a pound of Virginia ham."Fact|date=December 2007 Because of his size, he earned the nickname "The Ambling Alp".

Boxing career

September 12 1928 was the date of Carnera's first professional fight, against Leon Sebilo, in Paris. Carnera won by knockout in round two. He won his first six bouts, then lost to Franz Diener by disqualification in round one at Leipzig. Then, he won seven more bouts in a row before meeting Young Stribling. He and Stribling exchanged disqualification wins, Carnera winning the first in four rounds, and Stribling winning the rematch in round seven. In Carnera's next bout he avenged his defeat to Diener with a knockout in round six.

In 1930, he moved to the United States, where he toured extensively, winning his first seventeen bouts there by knockout. The one rival who broke the streak was George Godfrey, beaten by disqualification in five in Philadelphia. Carnera lost a decision to Jim Maloney in Boston to finish 1930.

In 1932, Carnera faced the tallest Heavyweight in history up to that point, Santa Camarão, a Portuguese fighter who was taller than him. Carnera won the fight by a 6th round decision

The year 1933 was one of the most important years in Carnera's life. On February 10, he knocked out Ernie Schaaf in thirteen rounds in New York City. Schaaf died two days later and Carnera had to go through what most boxers wish they did not have to: the death of an opponent. For his next fight, Carnera faced the world heavyweight champion Jack Sharkey, a fighter who once defeated in his career, for the title. The championship date was June 29, at the Madison Square Garden's "bowl" at Long Island. Carnera became world champion by knocking out Sharkey in round six.

He retained the title against Paulino Uzcudun (who was attempting to become the first Spaniard world Heavyweight champion) and Tommy Loughran, both by decision in 15 rounds, but in his next fight June 14, 1934 against Max Baer, Carnera fell down 12 times and was defeated in 11 rounds. Carnera's falls were due to his broken ankle.

After that, Carnera won his next four fights, three of them as part of a South American tour that took him to Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, as well as boxing two exhibitions in the southern American continent. But then, in his next fight of importance, on June 25, 1935, he was knocked out in six rounds by Joe Louis, who would become world heavyweight champion in 1937.

For the next two and a half years, he had a rather ordinary record, winning five bouts and losing three. But in 1938, Carnera, a diabetic, had to have a kidney removed, which forced him into retirement until 1944.

Carnera's manager, Lou Soresi, stole much of Carnera's money and left him almost broke. Because of Soresi's connection to Owney Madden, belonging to the underworld, it has always been speculated across the boxing world that most of Carnera's fights were fixed. The book "" took the rumors a step further, stating that "Most of the Italian giant's opponents were pushovers, paid to take a dive or too frightened to stand up for three minutes in a row". Jack Sharkey himself had to deny rumors about him taking a dive in his world championship fight with Carnera, swearing that he had not. But these rumors involved other boxing champions of the time, like Jack Dempsey, Max Baer, Jess Willard and Gene Tunney, accused of being corrupt men and uncapable boxers.

During his time off boxing, Carnera went to Hollywood and tried his fortune there, and he did well in the city of the stars, participating in a number of movies — his later role in the 1955 British film "A Kid for Two Farthings" being critically acclaimed. In 1945, he attempted a comeback to boxing, and he won two fights in a row. But after losing to Luigi Mussina three times in a row, he quit boxing for good. Carnera's record was of 89 wins and 14 losses. His 72 wins by knockout making him a member of the exclusive club of boxers that won 50 or more bouts by knockout.

In 1946, he became a professional wrestler and was immediately a huge success at the box office. For a few years he was one of the top draws in wrestling. Carnera continued to be an attraction into the 1960s. Supposedly, he and Baer engaged in a wrestling match, though no evidence of that happening has been found (and in fact, this is a myth, although it's possible that Baer may have refereed some of Carnera's matches).

In 1953, Carnera married Giuseppina Kovacic, a woman that he had known in Italy, and they became American citizens. They settled in Los Angeles, where Carnera opened a restaurant and a liquor store. They had two children, one of whom became a medical doctor.

Carnera died in 1967, of a combination of diabetes complications and liver disease.


"Requiem for a Heavyweight", a film featuring Anthony Quinn as a boxer, was released in 1962. Many fans thought the movie's story had some resemblance to Carnera's life. In 1947 Budd Schulberg wrote his novel, "The Harder They Fall", a story about a boxer whose fights are fixed. In 1956 a movie with the same name, and based on the novel, was released by Columbia Pictures. In response, Carnera unsuccessfully sued the movie company.

The movie , directed by Italian director Renzo Martinelli, is the story of Primo Carnera's life, with Carnera's role played by Andrea Iaia. The (free) world premiere of the movie [] will take place on April 22nd, 2008 at the Madison Square Garden in New York City.


See also

* List of heavyweight boxing champions

*imdb title|id=0928124|title=Carnera: The Walking Mountain

External links


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