Pete Sanstol

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World Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee

Name: Pete Sanstol
Alias: Baby Cyclone/Blond Tiger
Birth Name: Peter Olai Sanstøl
Born: 1905-03-28
Birthplace: Moi, Norway
Died: 1982-03-13 (Age:76)
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York, USA
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 5′ 3½″   /   161cm
Reach: 67½″   /   171cm
Boxing Record: click
Refereeing Record: click
Promoting Record: click

Divisions: Flyweight & Bantamweight
Trainers: Mannie Seeman; Jake Kravitz
Managers: Harald Undersrud, Tore Tjersland, Lew Burston, Raoul Godbout, George Blake, Bobby Diamond
Pete Sanstol Image Gallery


Sanstol as a toddler

Pete Sanstol was a boxer who emerged during the "Golden Age of Bantamweight Boxing" of the 1920s. (As was the custom until it was prohibited by law in 1920, his grandparents had taken on the name of their farm: Sandstol. The future boxer's family later dropped the "d" from the name.) Born 1905 in the fishing town of Moi, Norway, he learned to box after his family had moved to Stavanger. Sanstol attended Stavanger Kommunle Middelskole from 1917-1920, then took an English and business course at Udals Handelskol in 1922. Later, the Sanstols moved on to Oslo, where Peter continued to study the science of boxing at the Olso Athletic Club, with future famous Norwegian boxers Haakon Hansen, Otto von Porat, and Georg Brustad. Soon afterward, Sanstol reportedly became the Amateur Flyweight and Bantamweight Champion of Norway, and then Scandinavia, before embarking on a professional boxing career.

After winning his pro debut May 2, 1926, against the veteran British boxer Bert Gallard in Oslo, Sanstol was invited by Max Schmeling's manager to come train in Berlin during the Summer of 1926. Winning all his bouts in Germany, Sanstol moved on to Paris, where he became known as "The Little Carpentier," after Georges Carpentier. Discovered in Paris late 1926 by American manager Lew Burston, Sanstol was brought to New York in early 1927, where he graduated from the club preliminaries to become the "most sought after bantam" in the eastern United States and Canada, according to the 1931 Everlast Boxing Record, p. 43; and the August 1931 The Ring magazine.

By late 1930 Sanstol had moved his headquarters from the Norwegian colony of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY, to Montreal, Quebec, where he came under the management of Raoul Godbout. (In the late 1920s he was Canadian Featherweight Champion Leo (Kid) Roy's favorite sparring partner from around the time of Sanstol's bout with Charlie Pinto, "to sharpen up his speed," according to Montreal newspaper reports of the day. Also, when former World Flyweight Champion Fidel LaBarba had been in Paris to fight Kid Francis in late 1929, as well as when LaBarba had his final career bouts in early 1933, Sanstol trained with him.)

The next year Sanstol won the World Bantamweight Title after his bout with Archie Bell, as recognized by the Montreal Athletic Commission, when Montreal authorities and promoters grew tired of waiting for Panama Al Brown to accept the numerous challenges Sanstol had been making since as early as 1930. He twice successfully defended his new bantam title--against Canadian Bantamweight Champion Arthur Giroux and French Bantamweight Champion Eugene Huat--before meeting Al Brown for supremacy in the 118-pound division. (Brown had "reluctantly" met Sanstol for the title, it was said, after he had been shamed by a feature article in the August 1931 The Ring magazine, which had been published some weeks before their bout.) After narrowly losing by a 15-round split-decision, Sanstol took a year off before resuming another campaign for the championship.

Sanstol at age 70

He retired from boxing in late 1933, only to return again in 1935--seeking another run at the World Bantamweight Title. When he returned to fight in Berlin, after some 10 years, he was described by the German press as a "genius in the ring, a master of boxing."

After winning his fights in Europe, but still getting no opportunity by the European boxing authorities at the bantam title (especially vs. Panama Al Brown--who was still considered by the EBU as the World Champion), Sanstol decided to go back to Montreal--which was considered the Bantamweight Capital of World, due to all the bantam title fights the city had presented over the past several years. Back in Montreal, Sanstol asked for and was given a shot at Sixto Escobar, Montreal's newly-crowned World Bantam Champion. Sanstol lost that title bout--which was described by the Montreal press as an "epic and courageous performance."

Sanstol then culminated this final chapter of his boxing career by defeating Al Brown, before retiring permanently. (He later had a couple of charity bouts while serving in the United States Army during World War II.)

After his boxing career ended, Sanstol worked various jobs--including restaurant owner (NYC 1930s), boxing promoter and manager, Olympic Games translator (Berlin, 1936), American soldier (1942-1945), writer (primarily for Chicago's Viking Press Jan-Sep 1946), recreation center director ((Ketchikan, Alaska, Oct. 1949-May 1954), hotel janitor (Seattle, 1956-57), and sports and recreation instructor (Horten, Norway, Feb. 1958-July 1959)--before settling down for good in the Long Beach/San Pedro area of California in the early 1960s, where he worked other various jobs. He died in 1982 after a series of strokes.

Sanstol was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 2000. In June 2005 the municipality of Lund, Moi, Norway, raised a monolith in its park to the memory of Peter Olai Sandstol. In 2006, Lund's Historical Society "self-published" the autobiography Sanstol had written in the late 1950s. Currently, the International Boxing Research Organization ranks him as the 21st best bantamweight ever in the history of boxing.

Fighting Style

Sanstol, Primo Carnera, Fidel LaBarba

Sanstol was known for his aggression, energy, speed, and uncanny defense. He had amazing stamina and an incredible "chin." He was also known for his "color" -- the ability to give the crowd a thrilling show. About the only attribute he lacked was the so-called "power punch," although a quarter of his 98 victories were by way of knockout. Throughout his early career, Sanstol used these skills to build an impressive record. In time his fighting style gradually evolved from that of a careless youth, to that of a wizened veteran. After his bout with Panama Al Brown, Sanstol learned to pace himself better and to use every punch sparingly, not wasting a single drop of energy. (Part of this evolution may have resulted from a chronically bad foot or ankle he first sustained during one of these title bouts; it would haunt and hobble him for the remainder of his professional career.)

In the August 7, 1935 Montreal Daily Herald, long-time Sports Editor Elmer W. Ferguson described Sanstol's evolved fighting style as follows:

"Sanstol first flashed on the Montreal fistic horizon half a dozen years ago. This writer recollects him knocking out Alex Burlie in April of 1928, over seven years ago at the Forum. In those days Sanstol was a bewildering bundle of speed and energy. His slim, tireless legs carried him around the ring at bounding, blinding speed. He threw his endless energy to the winds with complete abandon. He was a profligate spendthrift of energy and strength, of nerve force. He had all the carelessness of youth about vitality as expended in the ring. He had a seemingly endless supply. For ten or twelve rounds he could dance, bounce, leap and dash about the ring on those steel legs, and meanwhile his speeding fists could keep on throwing stinging punches at bewildering speed, punches from all angles. For not only did Sanstol bound about the ring. He ducked like lightning, weaved, bobbed, always going at top speed, a master-boxer in his own fashion, a fashion founded on speed and stamina. The fighting heart that blazes from his ice-cold eyes still sends him on. But fistic age has tempered the pace, has developed a new ring cunning, and a tendency to accomplish by polished skill what he once achieved by youthful energy that disdained to save itself, that was gladly thrown to the winds.

Sanstol doesn't bound so much as he did. He moves now in a more shuffling fashion, as did great fighters before him, and as did such peerless runners as Schrubb and Nurmi, the greatest of all conservation stylists. Today Sanstol is inclined to save his legs, to some degree, and to employ instead the ring-craft he has acquired in nearly ten years of campaigning up and down the fistic lanes of two continents. Today he is more the Dempsey in his style, less the old Sanstol. His hands still carry their speed, his arms and shoulders the energy to hurl an endless barrage of punches. But he will be found doing much more of the weaving and bending to evade blows or get himself into hitting position. He will not be leaping five or six feet when an evasive swing of a few inches will suffice. He will be doing more of the bobbing and ducking and swinging from the hips, with which he used to delight crowds and bewilder his opponents."

Notable Bouts

Career Highlights

Amateur Record (Incomplete)

(Sanstol's Amateur Boxing Medals)

The following information was taken from publications from the Norwegian Boxing Federation (N.B.F.), and from the research of Tron Jensen:
Sanstol was national quarterfinalist in flyweight on 18-03-1923, but the championship was halted at 3 a.m., Monday night, with no champion declared. Sanstol then won the Norwegian bantamweight championship on 29-03-1925. There are no other Norwegian championships recorded on Sanstol, so the Norwegian/Scandinavian championships listed on Sanstol's publicity photos may have been possible professional titles in 1926 and later. Sanstol only fought one international championship (landskamp), with Denmark, held in Kristiania, Norway on 07-12-1924--when he won over Mikkel Laursen. In order to have been Scandinavian champion, he would have had to have won all the Scandinavian championships (landskamper) held that year. Sanstol's last amateur fight was in the three-day-long O.A.K. championship in April 1926, where he fought as featherweight, but none of his three opponents lasted the full three rounds.

Debut 1921: Club: Christiania Turnforening, Oslo. 1921-22 (The club was shut down)

1922-Nov-12 March, Bergen, Norway --Ingolf Gulbrandsen: L 3 (Finals of Norwegian Championships, Bantam)

Oslo Athletic Club 1923-1926:

  • 17. March Drammen, Norway Leif Moe W 3
  • 17. March Drammen, Norway Leif Vevle W 3
  • 18. March Drammen, Norway Fredrik Michelsen W 3
  • 18 March Drammen, Norway Hans Pedersen W 3 (prelim. fights for the Norwegian Championship, Flyweight. Sanstol ready for the Quarterfinals, but the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals never took place. The tournament had to stop at 3 o?clock Monday morning. Some weight classes were completed the following weekend in Trondheim, but not the flyweight division.)


  • 16/17 February Turnhallen, Oslo, Norway Opponent Unknown, (Won The Oslo Championships, Bantam)
  • 7. December Cirkus Verdensteater,Oslo Norway: Michael Laursen, Denmark W 3 (Norway-Denmark, Sanstol?s only fight on the Norwegian National Team. Aften-posten wrote: "In the 3rd round, Sandstol regained his good boxing from the 1st round. Conrad (Conrad Christensen, trainer and cornerman,father of Edgar (Christensen) Normann TJ) had obviously given proper instructions in the interval. His left hit home again and again, and the Dane looked tired.")


  • 28. February, Turnhallen, Oslo, Norway Opponent Unknown (Won the Oslo Championships, Bantam)
  • 28/29 March Turnhallen, Oslo, Norway Opponent Unknown (Won Norwegian Championships, Flyweight)


  • 27/28 March Bergen, Norway Odd Nostedahl L-3 (Finals of Norwegian Championships, Bantam)
  •  ? April Oslo, Norway Opponent Unknown Won (Sandstol's last amateur fight. On the same bill both Otto Von Porat and Haakon Hansen had their last amateur fights. Porat left Norway in June; Hansen left for USA in late in April.)

No dates, towns or arenas:

Preceded by:
Inaugural Champion
Montreal Athletic Commission World Bantamweight Champion
20 May 1931–25 August 1931
Succeeded by:
Panama Al Brown

External Links

  • OneDrive Cloud Server Files: [1]
  • Only known film of Sanstol (sparring in 1935): [2]
  • August 1931 The Ring article
  • Settling the Score: The Rivalry Between Panama Al Brown and Pete Sanstol: Part 1, Part 2
  • Gjennom Ringen: Norwegian-language autobiography published in 2006
  • 1939 book You Americans - Fifteen Foreign Press Correspondents Report Their Impressions of the United States and Its People ("From Prize Ring to Press Box" chapter written by Sanstol): [3]
  • August 27, 2014 Podcast ("Blast from the Past: Pete Sanstol"): [4] [5]

Sanstol's Fight Record was researched by Ric Kilmer, Tracy Callis, & Luckett Davis--all International Boxing Research Organization Members and BoxRec Editors. His amateur record was researched by Mr. Tron Jensen.