Tony Esperti

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Name: Tony Esperti
Born: 1930-02-28
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Died: 2002-04-12 (Age:72)
Hometown: Bronx, New York, USA
Boxing Record: click

Height: 6'3
Weight: 195 lbs
Birth Name: Anthony Esperti
Alias: "Big Tony" Esperti

Career Review

Antony (Tony) Esperti is best remembered as one of Muhammad Ali's early opponents. However, Esperti was an infamous character on Miami Beach during the late 1950s and 1960s.

Esperti was known around Miami Beach, Florida as Anthony "Big Tony" Esperti. His profession may have been , "Heavyweight Boxer", but around town, he was known to be associated with some "interesting" people.

Esperti trained at the famed 5th Street Gym. He reportedly worked as a sparring partner for Sonny Liston and Willie Pastrano.

Tony turned pro in New York State, but launched a comeback in his new hometown of Miami Beach, Florida. Esperti was known as a flashy dresser and was seen around the hot-spots of South Florida's club scene.

Once his boxing career ended in the early 1960s, Esperti became a fixture in local newspapers with arrests for assault and battery.

According to an article in the Miami Herald newspaper in 1967, Esperti was arrested eleven times. However, in all 11 cases, the victims refused to press charges against him.

In 1967, Big Tony was the apparent target of a bomb that missed it's mark at Happy's Stork lounge on the 79th street causeway, in North Bay Village, Florida.

On October 31, 1967 at the Place for Steak restaurant in North Bay Village, Florida, Esperti was arrested for gunning down Thomas "The Enforcer" Altamura, a reputed mobster. According to newspaper reports, Altamura was waiting to be seated at the restaurant, when Esperti reportedly approached and shot him to death.

Police arrested the 245 pound,Big Tony Esperti for the killing.Upon advice of his lawyer, Esperti refused the police department's request to let them swab his hands for gunpowder. The police decided to use whatever force was necessary. Esperti resisted. He threw three police officers around like rag dolls. Finally, officers grabbed his arms and took him to the floor. In a moment when the other detectives were on the floor grappling with his arms, one officer kicked Esperti in the testicles; Esperti's hand yielded a flake of fresh gunpowder.

Esperti was sentenced to prison for the Altamura prison.


  • The New York Times, November 30, 1952, Sport's Section, page 54: ESPERTI OUTPOINTS O'CONNOR.
  • Miami Herald, November 1, 1967.
  • Miami Herald, August 12, 1982, Neighbors MB, Page 10: NEIGHBORS.
  • Miami Herald, December 15, 1988, Neighbors, Page 14: MOBSTERS AND MOLLS ONCE FLOCKED TO VILLIAGE EATERIES.
  • Miami Herald, September 14, 1993, Neighbors, Page 1: 79TH STREET CAUSEWAY EATERIES NEVER GET STALE.
  • Miami Herald, August 4, 1996, Tropic, Page 10: TROPIC.
  • Miami New Times, December 2, 2000: NORTH BAY CONFIDENTIAL, by Gaspar Gonzalez.
  • Miami Herald, November 1, 2002: Front Section, Page 4A: TODAY IN HERALD HISTORY.
  • Miami Herald, February 12, 2006: Neighbors MB, Page 4: SALON HAS DEEP ROOTS.