Al Hostak

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World Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee

Name: Al Hostak
Alias: Savage Slav
Birth Name: Albert Paul Hostak
Born: 1916-01-07
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Died: 2006-08-13 (Age:90)
Hometown: Seattle, Washington, USA
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 6′ 0″   /   183cm
Boxing Record: click

Division: Middleweight
Manager: Eddie Marino
Al Hostak Image Gallery
National Boxing Association Middleweight Champion 1938; 1939-40 (First boxer since Stanley Ketchel to regain the World Middleweight Title; followed by Tony Zale.)


Boxing Career

Al Hostak was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Czech immigrants, who would move to Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood in 1918. A stutterer in his youth, Hostak was drawn to boxing after finding out he had a knack for fighting his classmates who harassed him.

Hostak was regarded as a tremendous right-handed puncher, although he also had underrated power in his left hook. Hostak's most famous knockout--which came July 26, 1938 against Northwest rival Freddie Steele--was started with the left hook. Hostak began Steele's demise by jabbing at Steele until Steele began to use his glove to parry Hostak's jab. Hostak then feinted with the jab, which got Steele to drop his right hand. Hostak then landed a left hook that dropped Steele for the first of four knockdowns. Steele's camp acknowledged after the fight that they were aware of the power in Al's left hook, since Hostak had started Allen Matthews and Babe Risko on their way to knockout defeats with the left hook.

Like many punchers, Hostak had bad hands that often broke during fights. In fact, his left hand later became arthritic. His hands were injured in the first two Tony Zale fights, as well as during his defeat against Solly Krieger. A natural counterpuncher, who was not known for his boxing skills, Hostak had problems with boxers who used movement, like Ken Overlin and the younger version of Harry "Kid" Matthews.

See "The Greatest Man I Ever Fought" article by Tony Zale with Paul Neimark, as published in Boxing Illustrated: October 1959, pp. 28-30.

Post-Boxing Career

Al Hostak

Hostak held jobs as a bartender, King County Jail Guard, and as a security guard at the Longacres Race Track after his boxing career. He even offered a class in 1949, shortly after his retirement, offering to teach school age kids how to defend themselves in fights. He was widowed in 1981, and lived south of Seattle in White Center, where he spent much of his time visiting local flea markets. Hostak would collect eight-track tapes of a wide variety of music, which he would then convert to cassette tape.

Al Hostak died on August 13, 2006 at the Evergreen Hospice in Kirkland, Washington, from complications of a stroke he suffered on August 2nd. Hostak was survived by two sons and five grandchildren.

He is a member of the Tacoma-Pierce County Sports Hall of Fame: [1]

External Links

  • Seattle Times Obituary: [2]
  • "Al Hostak, 1916-2006: Seattle fighter won middleweight title" Seattle P-I (Accessed August 14, 2006): [3]



Preceded by:
Freddie Steele
NBA World Middleweight Champion
26 Jul 1938– 1 Nov 1938
Succeeded by:
Solly Krieger
Preceded by:
Solly Krieger
NBA World Middleweight Champion
27 Jun 1939– 19 Jul 1940
Succeeded by:
Tony Zale