1931-11-04 Battling Battalino w pts 10 Earl Mastro, The Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, USA - WORLD

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1931-11-04 Battling Battalino w pts 10 Earl Mastro, The Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, USA - WORLD. Referee: Dave Barry. Battalino (125½) absorbed all that the challenger could throw before coming back with harder blows of his own. Twice Mastro (124¼) was down, in the second from a right hand to the jaw and in the sixth when a terrific right to the body dropped him for ‘seven’. For that Mastro claimed a foul, but he soon got up when the referee was not interested, and right through to the final bell both men ripped, slugged and whaled away with everything they had. It was close, with two judges, including the referee, voting for the champion and one making it a draw.

On 27 January 1932 at the Music Hall Sports Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio, Battalino forfeited the NBA version of the title on the scales after coming in three pounds overweight for a defence against stablemate, Freddie Miller. Although the fight went ahead, following the announcement that Miller had been declared the winner after Battalino visited the canvas in the third round without being hit the result was retrospectively declared a no-contest.

Earlier, on 8 January 1932, the NYSAC had already vacated the title after Battalino had weighed in at 135½ for a prospective defence against Lew Feldman. The bout had been called off under the NYSAC ruling that if a featherweight scaled nine pounds more than his opponent it would not be sanctioned and when Feldman tried to claim the title, it was pointed out to him that under the same set of rules a fighter could only win the title in the ring.

For these actions, Battalino was suspended and fined $5,000. Meanwhile, the NBA named Johnny Pena, Tommy Paul, Kid Francis, Fidel LaBarba and Eddie Shea as men they would be happy to see in an elimination series to find a new champion. However, with Francis on his way back to Europe and Shea unavailable, Pena, Paul and LaBarba were joined by Miller, Martin Zuniga, Petey Sarron, Miki Gelb, Frankie Wallace and the former bantamweight champion, Bushy Graham, to fight it out at the Olympia, Detroit, Michigan.

The first series kicked off on 19 February, with Miller outpointing Gelb over ten rounds and the rest receiving byes into the quarter-finals, which saw four ten-round points decisions in favour of Paul (over Graham on 8 April), Wallace (over Miller on 8 April), LaBarba (over Sarron on 22 April) and Pena (over Zuniga on 22 April). Next came the two semi-final legs on 29 April, and after Paul outpointed Wallace over ten rounds, a feat emulated by Pena against LaBarba, the pair went forward to contest the final.

With the NBA having settled who would be fighting for their title, it came as no great surprise when the NYSAC selected the junior lightweight champion, Kid Chocolate, who could readily make 126lbs, to meet Feldman, fresh from a ten-round points win over Paul on 25 August 1932, for their version of the championship.