1952-04-16 Sugar Ray Robinson w co 3 (15) Rocky Graziano, The Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, USA - WORLD

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1952-04-16 Sugar Ray Robinson w co 3 (15) Rocky Graziano, The Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, USA - WORLD. Referee: Tommy Gilmore. In a tough, hard-hitting affair while it lasted, the champion ultimately came through as Graziano (159¾) ran out of ideas in the third round. Swinging wildly, Graziano even had Robinson (157¼) over in the third despite the referee not calling it, but following this it was all one-way traffic. Stepping up the pace, Robinson went straight after Graziano, whipping in blows to head and body, and when the latter was opened up by a left to the body he was sent down for the count, timed at 1.53, following a solid right to the jaw.

Having failed gallantly to take the light heavyweight crown from Joey Maxim at the Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NYC, New York on 25 June, Robinson relinquished his title on announcing his retirement in December. Following that, it was agreed by the NBA and the NYSAC that the winner of a series of eliminating bouts to decide the American championship should fight the victor of a European title bout between Randy Turpin and Charles Humez for the vacant crown. Initially, Carl Bobo Olson, Ernie Durando and Rocky Castellani were decided upon, but the choices created howls of protests regards to the latter two. The immediate response saw several top American fighters demanding admittance to the tournament. Also, the Olson camp argued that as the leading American he should not have to fight an eliminator. Ultimately, Olson backed down. Since losing to Robinson, Olson was unbeaten in nine contests, whipping the likes of Walter Cartier, Jimmy Beau, Robert Villemain, Gene Hairston, Lee Sala, Norman Hayes (twice) and Garth Panter.

With time now of the essence, the NBA and NYSAC went back to the drawing board and selected Paddy Young to meet Durando, the winner to tangle with Olson. With that settled, on 27 March 1953 Young outscored Durando over 12 rounds at Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York. He then went on to meet Olson to decide the American title at the same venue on 19 June 1953, losing on points over 15 rounds.

However, while all that was going on the British Boxing Board of Control, not supported by the EBU, stated that it would recognise the winner of the Turpin v Humez fight as world champion prior to taking on the new American titleholder.