Tommy Yarosz

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Name: Tommy Yarosz
Birth Name: Thomas P. Yarosz
Hometown: Monaca, Pennsylvania, USA
Birthplace: Monaca, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: 2006-03-25 (Age:84)
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 182cm
Pro Boxer: Record

Managers: Ray Foutts and P. J. Buntag
Trainers: Ray Arcel, Eddie Yarosz
Photo #2

Tommy Yarosz grew up in a large Polish-American family where boxing was a primary income source. While this was due to family talent, it had as much to do with the early death of his father and the lack of other work during the Depression. Yarosz took to the sport like a duck to water; as young boys he and brother Joey fought exhibitions at charity fundraisers. (Their brothers Ted, Eddie, and Victor were also boxers, with Teddy Yarosz becoming the World Middleweight Champion.) He reportedly went 25-1 as an amateur boxer, with 10 wins by knockout. He was a gifted athlete in general, and was a starter on a Monaca, Pennsylvania championship high school basketball team. (Monaca won the western PA title; in those days the east and west winners never met.)

When he turned pro, he was described as being like his World Champion brother Ted at the same phase -- only faster, stronger and smarter. While it sounds like ballyhoo, it probably was true. The older brothers -- Ed, Teddy and Victor -- were self-taught when they started, and could only fight as "real work" allowed. Tommy, Joey and John, however, grew up in Ted's personal boxing gym, and learned the trade from experienced masters.

Tommy Yarosz: 1950

Tommy Yarosz's career started well, but like the rest of his generation, it came crashing to a halt with World War II. Youngest brother John, the only one who didn't fight competitively, died when his bomber crashed. Yarosz joined the Signal Corps, hoping to be a "pigeoneer," as he was a racing pigeon fancier most of his life. But with pigeons replaced by radio, he initially was used as a boxing instructor at Fort Monmouth, where he received kudos for his training skills. Then he was shipped to the European theater, where he had some rough experiences. He was particularly shaken up when a close friend was killed while they were taking out a German gun placement.

After the war, he resumed boxing. At first he was managed by Ray Fouts, Ted's manager. When Ray died, Yarosz first turned to Pittsburgh veteran Bunny Buntach (or Buntag, the spelling changed), who was at the end of his own career. Ray Arcel, a longtime family friend who was training Yarosz, was convinced he could take Yarosz to a championship and became his final manager.

After his boxing career ended, Yarosz owned the Sunset Tavern in Rochester, PA. In 1959 he went to work for the Westinghouse Electric Corporation. He continued to train and race pigeons. Tommy Yarosz died March 25, 2006, of pneumonia at age 85 years.

The Ring magazine once placed him on the cover, of the August 1949 issue. There was no big story about him inside -- they just thought he deserved to be on the cover. In addition to all the champion records, the 1987 final edition of the Ring Record Book included a record section of great fighters who never were named champions -- and Yarosz was included. Yarosz was an icon for his era in the obstacles he faced: a depression during his amateur years, a world war during the first half of his pro career, and an organized crime takeover during the latter half.

Although his career raises "what if" questions, his legacy is solid. He is considered one of the finest middle and light-heavyweight boxers in the 1940s, with a life story that transcended his times.