Name: Joe Muscato
Hometown: Buffalo, New York, USA
Birthplace: Dunkirk, New York, USA
Died: 1977-12-08 (Age:58)
Pro Boxer: Record
Amateur Boxer: Record
Joe Muscato, the oldest of the trio boxing brothers (Phil Muscato & Sam Muscato) was born November 22, 1919, in Dunkirk, New York and was one of western New York's more illustrious heavyweight contenders. Muscato got hit by the boxing bug at the age of 18 to help support his family, and seemed to have every physical qualification. However he didn't strike Guy T. Sulpizio, (Sulpy) veteran Bison handler, as the type to be a fighter. And to the end Sulpy tried to discourage him.
Unable to talk Muscato out of the sport Sulpy fixed it with Tony Tozzo, brother of former lightweight champion Rocky Kansas, to knock it out of him. Tozzo, a deadly left hook puncher, tried to oblige, putting Muscato in dreamland in their first workout. But the soft-spoken Italian lad was back for more the next day, and the next.
Finally, Sulpy decided that kind of determination couldn't go un-rewarded. Muscato had 65 amateur bouts between February 1938 and April 1941, losing two at the start of his simon-pure career, but knocked out both his tormentors in rematches.
While an amateur, Muscato won the Niagara District light-heavyweight Golden Gloves title, and by 1941 had racked up the Diamond Belt, Western New York, and New Jersey heavyweight titles, before turning professional that September.
It was Muscato's undefeated record after 13 outings, and his first round KO victory over 2nd ranked Lem Franklin in the MacArthur Bomber Fight Show in Cleveland, Ohio on June 23,1942, that convinced Sulpy to match Muscato against Jimmy Bivins one month later, where Muscato suffered his first defeat. A fight that many criticized Sulpizio, for not allowing Joe more time to train for. But Muscato loved boxing so much he even offered to give up his share of the purse, early in his young career, in efforts to get Bob Pastor to sign on the dotted line.
Answering the call during WWII, Muscato entered the U.S. Army and served as a boxing instructor at Camp Hood and Ft. Dix before being sent to the South Pacific. While in the South Pacific he won the 44th Division and the South Pacific heavyweight crown, and had some forty-five bouts--most of them exhibition.
Muscato returned home from the war a hero after being struck in both legs by shrapnel, and was awarded the Purple Heart and Medal for Bravery under fire. Many were convinced his fighting days as a G.I. and a heavyweight boxer were over. However, within a year after D-Day, Muscato was making his post-war boxing debut knocking out Irish Jimmy Crawford of Cliffside, NJ, at 1:27 of the third of a scheduled 10 rounder for the Fairview A.C. show held in Buffalo's Memorial Auditorium.
Muscato's career consisted of many formidable opponents: Arturo Godoy, Lee Oma, Pat Comiskey, Bill Weinberg, Melio Bettina, Teddy Randolph, Enrique Felpi, Johnny Shkor, Johnny Flynn, Buddy Knox, Abe Cestac, and Joe Matisi, to name a few.
Muscato finished his boxing career in 1949; he made his debut in professional wrestling in 1950, campaigning for seven years as a grappler.
After leaving the ring, Muscato remained active for many years as a referee, judge, and timekeeper for boxing and wrestling matches in the western New York area. He was also very active in recruiting and training area youngsters in the Golden Gloves, and worked for the City of Buffalo Recreation Department as an instructor--teaching boxing, basketball, and table tennis in some of the city's toughest neighborhoods for fifteen years.
Joe Muscato, one of Buffalo's most popular boxers, died on December 8, 1977, of a heart attack in the Buffalo Veteran's Administration Hospital, while awaiting open-heart surgery.
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