Pete Sanstol vs. Bobby Leitham (3rd meeting)

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Pete Sanstol 118 lbs beat Bobby Leitham 119 lbs by SD in round 12 of 12

  • Date: 1933-10-18
  • Location: Forum, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Sanstol (left) & Leitham weigh-in

    Sanstol (left) & Leitham

    This is the third and final bout of an historic Canadian boxing trilogy, beginning with Leitham and Sanstol's previous two bouts: Bobby Leitham vs. Pete Sanstol (1st meeting) and Pete Sanstol vs. Bobby Leitham (2nd meeting).

    Figuring on his great fighting display against Midget Wolgast, the boys have already established Bobby Leitham a 6-5 choice to beat Pete Sanstol in the 12-round return match between these two fighting bantams next Wednesday night at the Forum. But here's a tip-off to the price-makers right from Sanstol himself: "I'm going to fight a different kind of battle next week against Leitham than I did before. I am quite willing he should know my plans, because he'll find out right at the start anyway. I'm going to discard boxing, and the efforts to make him miss, the plan I followed last time. Instead, I'll walk right in and out-fight him from the start. I believe that on that system I am a certainty to win." ...

    The blonde Norwegian has told [promoter] Aleck Moore he doesn't want a cent if he doesn't win the Leitham fight.... "I'm not in with that bargain," quickly cut in Raoul Godbout, who is manager of Sanstol....

    What makes Sanstol so confident of the outcome isn't his plans for a change of fighting style, which is a point of minor strategy, but the cure of his foot-trouble that has been a bane to him in his last few matches. Every fight fan recalls the fashion which Sanstol was humming along against Emil Pladner, only to slow to a walk midway, and barely eke out a draw. Everybody recalls the more recent incident of how he stopped up in the last two rounds against Leitham, so that the battling Verdunite swarmed over him.

    Sanstol blames all that on foot trouble. "And it's all over now," he said yesterday. "Dr. Locke fixed everything. Every one of my shoes, walking, training, fighting, is equipped with a small brace that fits right under the joint that was at fault. I feel great, not only physically, but I've got my confidence back. He cured my foot, and my foot cured me up here," said the blonde, tapping his forehead.

    [From an un-dated Montreal news clipping found in Sanstol's scrapbooks.]

    "The fight... was preceded by unscheduled excitement and tension when Sammy Gibbs, manager of Leitham, refused to enter the ring with Ernie Boucher as referee... [W]hen it became apparent Boucher was the appointee, Gibbs and his fighter declined to leave the dressing room.... [Meanwhile] the ring held only the fidgety figure of Sanstol." The Gazette. "It was not until announcement had been made from the ring that Leitham was being restrained because of the refereeing nomination that Manager Gibbs decided to move and it was 11:25 when he entered the ring...." [Note: There was also the threat that if Leitham failed to appear immediately in the ring, the officials would declare the match forfeited.]

    "The tension seemed to reflect itself on Leitham for the little Canadian champion was nervous at the start, upset by a hostile demonstration greeted him on entering the ring as the protest of the crowd against the delay."

    Subsequent headlines read:

    "Veteran Norseman Just Shades Leitham After Hurricane Fight"
    "Sanstol Captures Split Verdict in Bout with Leitham"
    "Contest is Thrilling"
    It was a "Grueling Battle, Leitham Winning Early in Great Display, Sanstol Finishing Best"
    An article explains:

    "That tough little bit of whalebone and rubber, Pete Sanstol, is today still entitled to high ranking among the top-notch bantams. Out-battled and battered for part of the way last night before the season's biggest fight crowd at the Forum, as Bobby Leitham's flying fists slashed and chopped him, closed one eye and split his eye-brow, Sanstol gritted his teeth and started a rally.... It was a close thing as these two game-cocks fought a lusty, red-blooded brawl."

    The Gazette reported that the two "dodged, weaved and sparred for frills and then stood toe to toe and slugged like a pair of barroom battlers.... Sanstol, bleeding from a bad cut over his left eye and peering from the folds of a puffed face, tore out of his corner for the ninth round like a willing novice, took the crowd and Leitham by surprise, and pounded out a toe-to-toe verdict in three of the last four rounds." "The final gong stopped a punching duel on the ropes." "The crowd was fairly divided when the decision was announced."

    Shortly after this bout, Sanstol arrived at the offices of a Montreal newspaper to announce that he was heading home to Norway. Here's that paper's account of his visit:

    Pete Sanstol, the Norwegian flash, came into the sporting department of The Standard today to bid us good-bye for a couple of months.
    "I am leaving Montreal tonight for New York," said the dapper little boxer, "and on November 25th will sail for my home in Norway."
    "What's the occasion of your journey home?" we asked him.
    "In the first place my foot has bothered me very considerably recently and tended to slow me up at times, so much so that my doctor has ordered me to rest up for a while, during which time I will wear an arch to support the foot.
    "This rest will also give me a chance to let my eye heal from the effects of a cut received two years ago, and which opens so easily whenever I fight now. It looks bad from my own point of view and from the view of the spectators to see a man bleeding like that, when there really should be no occasion for it.
    "In addition I have a business in Norway representing a considerable investment, and there are some things in that connection that need looking after. I wrote my father to look after these things if he would, and he wrote me back that he had plenty trouble with his own business and that I would never learn sooner to take care of my own troubles.
    "At that I will be glad to go home again as I am the only boy, and like to see my father and mother as often as my business will allow me.
    "But I am going to take a real rest, after which I will make a new start with new vigor and a new inspiration when I return home in February or March next."
    "What's the new inspiration?" we asked.
    "I am going to get the bantamweight championship of the world yet. I made up my mind to that a long time ago, and I am yet going to realize that ambition."
    "But you will have to climb over Bobby Leitham to do that," we interrupted.
    "Don't you think I have done that already?"
    "To be candid, we do not."
    "We have had three fights now. I gained the decisions each time."
    "Yes, but you know, Pete, you did not deserve those last two decisions."
    "But I got them."
    "But do you really believe you should have gotten them?"
    "I am not saying anything about those decisions, but I really believe there is a lot of misunderstanding about which of us is the better man. I agree that is so, but--"
    And would you believe it, readers, the phone rang just at that minute. Who do you think was on the other end of the wire?
    "Hello, McD," he says.
    "Hello, Sam," we replied.
    It was Sammy Gibbs, manager of Bobby Leitham.
    "Did you get my wire about Bobby beating Lorenzo at Syracuse?"
    "We did," we replied.
    "You should have seen Bobby fight that chap. He was marvelous."
    "Yes, but leaving out that chatter, I have a friend of yours right beside me here."
    "Who is he?"
    "Pete Sanstol."
    Sammy did not answer just a moment. We thought we heard him grind his teeth but maybe that was only imagination.
    "Listen," says Sammy. "Listen. I wish you would tell him that Leitham can beat him just like he beat Lorenzo last night."
    "He has just told me he has beaten Bobby three times."
    "Let him tell that to his people in Norway, maybe they'll believe it. He won the decision over Bobby once when they fought two years ago, and twice since the judges won the decision over Bobby. We'll fight him any time, any place, and fifteen rounds if he likes, and we'll give him any side bet he wants from a $1,000 up. Let's all go before the Boxing Commission right away with the proposition."
    "Wait a minute, Sammy."
    Then we told Sanstol what it was all about.
    "Let me talk to Sammy," says Pete.
    "Hey, Sammy. I am leaving Montreal tonight and I sail for Norway on November 25th from New York. But I will be back here in February or March and I will take on your man, any time, any place, any number of rounds."
    "And, Sammy," continued Pete, "if you like, I will take that $1,000 of yours or anything you like to add to it as a side bet. We will get a few friends together on your side and my side, and we will have a private fight like they did in the old days. No limited rounds. Then Bobby and I will go until we find out who is the better man. There will be no judges' or referees' decisions, and the better man of us will be the one who is standing up when the battle is over. How would you like that, Sammy?"
    "OK with me," replied Sammy. "But if you mean that, tell your people when you leave them again that you will be back home right away."
    "All right, Sammy. I'll be seeing you soon again. And give my best regards to Bobby Leitham. He's the greatest little fighter of his weight -- except me. Bye-bye."

    The Standard, October 1933.