Name: Steve Acunto
Birth Name: Stephen B. Acunto
Hometown: Mount Vernon, New York, USA
Birthplace: Staten Island, New York, USA
Died: 2018-02-05 (Age:101)
Mt. Vernon - Stephen B. Acunto of Mt Vernon, NY passed away peacefully on February 5, 2018, at 101 years of age of natural causes.
Born on Staten Island to Loretta Berardini and Stefano Acunto in 1916, he lived in Mount Vernon for 86 years and was long active in Westchester charitable and civic affairs and grew to national stature in Boxing. Widely identified as the Dean of Boxing, he crusaded for the betterment of the sport of which he was a renowned exponent, regulatory authority and advocate.
A former successful professional boxer during Boxing's Golden Age, he was devoted to the idea that boxing should be a scholastic sport, should be well regulated for safety and financial probity and should be seen as a builder of character.
Together with Rocky Marciano he founded the American Association for the Improvement of Boxing in 1969 and made the first of several instructional films,The Art of Boxing, featuring Marciano and other boxing luminaries. His later instructional films with Muhammad Ali, Willie Pep and Roy Jones Jr. have delivered the AAIB's message to audiences across the world.
The AAIB advocated convincingly for such safety measures as the establishment of the three judge format, in which the referee's sole focus is the safety of the contestants, the insistence upon ambulances at ringside and adequate medical exams, and the use of the thumbless glove, among many other measures. Today, AAIB is among the leading voices in Boxing for safety standards and administrative competency.
His work included appearances before US Congress and New York State Commissions on the Boxing as well as television and radio when big fights or issues facing boxers arose. Called one of the foremost boxing instructors in the world by every major Boxing magazine, he served as the head coach of boxing at Westchester Community College where he developed the only boxing history and regulation classes for college credit in existence. He taught boxing at Fairfield University and several other institutions during his seven decade career. He served as a member of the New York State Athletic Commission from 1945 to 2010. In 1988, he was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame and in 1998 he was inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame.
It was once estimated that he taught boxing to more than 6,000 young men. Of the students, one became a world champion, several have been leading contenders and may have been amateur champions. His full length biography, Boxing's Champion, was published in 2012 and hundreds of articles about him have appeared in SPORT magazine, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Boxing Illustrated, Look magazine, the WRN, and many hundreds of others.
His well known New York Post back cover photo with Muhammed Ali drew country wide attention to their collaboration. He was honored by the Boxing Writers Association of America James J Walker Award for "Long and Meritorious Service" to the sport, including creation of the manual for The Art of Boxing and the decades of his syndicated boxing column and radio show, Ring Rhyme and Reason and Sidelines on Sports. He was a founder of the Mt Vernon Little League.
Professionally, he joined the Westchester County Sheriff's Department in 1955, going on to become Crime Prevention Director under Sheriff Tom Delaney, working intensely to attack youth crime in the County.
As a volunteer, he chaired Boys Towns of Italy charity to help WWII and later orphans in Italy. The Italian government recognized him with the rank of Cavaliere for his work for Boys Towns. A 4th Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, he held fast to the values he learned at St Francis Xavier High School in Manhattan and as a sparring mate with champions such as Lou Ambers and Tony Canzoneri at New York's legendary Stillman's Gym.
Together with his wife of 56 years, the former Mercedes Bisordi, who predeceased him in 2003, the Acuntos are survived by their four children: Stephanie Thompson of Madison, CT, Stephen Acunto (Carole Haarmann) of Greenwich, CT, Donna Acunto-D'Angelo of Bronxville, and Laura Markevics of Eastchester; four grandchildren: Claudia Palmira Acunto , Rome, Italy; Alexandra Markevics of New Rochelle; Stephen Acunto IV of Princeton; Loretta Franklin of Cos Cob; a step grand child, Amanda Thompson of Port Chester and four great grandchildren, Enrico, Ludovico, Edoardo and Victoria....
Published in the The Journal News from Feb. 7 to Feb. 8, 2018