Benny Cleveland

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Name: Benny Cleveland
Died: 1947-07-12
Hometown: Gallup, New Mexico, USA
Boxing Record: click


Cleveland, 21, made his second pro start at Hollywood Legion Stadium on July 11, 1947. Cleveland purportedly put up a good battle, and was on his feet as the decision was announced in favor of his opponent Luis (Baby) Adame. Though he was down twice for no-counts in the 1st round, ringside observers did not believe that he took that bad of a beating. As Cleveland was leaving the ring following the bout, he appeared to falter. His corner-man assisted him to his dressing room, where he spoke of feeling ill. After ten minute, he went unconscious, and slipped into a coma. Cleveland would die the next day at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital, from what doctors described as a hemorrhage of the midbrain. Cleveland's death was the first ever in the history of Hollywood Legion Stadium.


Cleveland a member of the Navajo tribe, was from Gallup, New Mexico. He served in the Marines for four years, serving in World War II, seeing action at Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal. He purportedly won four combat stars. He also boxed while serving, capturing a Marine Corps Bantamweight title. Cleveland gained notoriety as an amateur in Southern California, after he captured the Southland Golden Gloves Bantamweight championship. He then went to Chicago for the Chicago Golden Gloves, and reached the semifinals. Cleveland was also awarded the Harold Dade Sportsmanship trophy in the tournament.


  • "Castillo Upset, Cleveland Hurt", Los Angeles Times, July 12, 1947
  • "Benny Cleveland Dies Of Injuries; Navajo Bantamweight Fails to Rally After Brain Operation Following Legion Fight", Los Angeles Times, July 13, 1947