1941-05-22 Gus Lesnevich w pts 15 Anton Christoforidis, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - NBA
1941-05-22 Gus Lesnevich w pts 15 Anton Christoforidis, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - NBA. Referee: Frank Fullam. Contested in New York despite it being billed for the NBA title, it was also seen as the semi-final leg of an elimination series that would ultimately decide the American title. Making his first defence of the NBA crown, Christoforidis (166) was soon under pressure as Lesnevich (175) attacked him with solid lefts to the body and jarring rights to the head. It was only in the fifth round that the champion had any joy when staggering Lesnevich with heavy blows to the head, but in the seventh through to the ninth he was badly hurt and cut under the left eye. Christoforidis bravely kept going right through to the final bell, even after being blasted into the ropes in the final session and seemingly at the mercy of Lesnevich. But the New Jersey man, who had punched himself out, had to be satisfied with the unanimous decision.
Tami Mauriello would be Lesnevich’s next challenger after Jimmy Webb, who had earlier qualified for the final leg of the NYSAC version of the title, got himself badly beaten when the unranked Mose Brown knocked him out inside two rounds at Hickey Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on 28 July 1941. Having defeated Tommy Tucker in the eliminators back in February, with Webb basically marking time the Brown defeat was a massive setback. Twice more he was given the chance to overturn the defeat, but twice more he was defeated in Pittsburgh by Brown (l rsc 5 at Hickey Park on 20 August 1941 and l co 6 at Forbes Field on 15 September 1941) before dropping out of the title race altogether.
Despite his three victories over Webb, which gained him a top-three ranking, after Brown was beaten in quick succession by former world middleweight champion Ken Overlin, Melio Bettina and Kid Tunero, he too quickly dropped out of the reckoning.