1941-11-14 Gus Lesnevich w pts 15 Tami Mauriello, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - NY/NBA

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1941-11-14 Gus Lesnevich w pts 15 Tami Mauriello, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - NY/NBA. Referee: Arthur Donovan. Scorecards: 9-4, 9-6, 10-2. A return fight, this one was nothing like their first encounter with the champion producing his best form to outwit the inexperienced Mauriello (173½) who was well beaten but not disgraced. With straight lefts finding their mark and solid body shots slowing his rival down Lesnevich (173¾) always seemed to be in control, and although Mauriello fought back strongly on occasion he was well beaten. Three times the challenger was almost dropped by powerful blows to head and body, his great conditioning saving him, but while still in the contest he was unable to halt Lesnevich’s forward march.

With Lesnevich inactive between March 1942 and January 1946 due to military service, Ohio initiated a light heavyweight ‘duration’ title. It was won by Jimmy Bivins, who outscored Anton Christoforidis over 15 rounds at The Arena, Cleveland on 26 February 1943, but not before Ezzard Charles and Joey Maxim had been eliminated in the earlier stages. Bivins’ one and only defence came when he knocked out Lloyd Marshall inside 13 rounds at the Lakefront Stadium, Cleveland on 8 June 1943, and by September he had moved up a division, having been the number-one light heavy according to The Ring magazine since July 1942. At the same time Bivins had topped the heavyweight rankings since January 1943.

After Bivins The Ring magazine’s next top-rated man was Marshall (October 1943), followed by Nate Bolden (November 1943), Marshall (December 1943 to May 1945), Archie Moore (June 1945 to August 1945), Fitzie Fitzpatrick (September 1945) and Moore again right through and beyond Lesnevich’s return to the ring.

Back in action on 11 January 1946, Lesnevich forced Joe Kahut to take the full count in the opening round before having to retire at the end of the fourth of a heavyweight contest against Lee Oma. Having shaken off some of the ring rust, Lesnevich then signed up for a match against Freddie Mills.