FRANKIE BLAIR was a professional boxer from Camden NJ. Born Frank J. Tenerelli on August 20, 1909, he grew up on South 4th Street in Camden. The Tenerelli famil, which included older brother Michael and sisters Nettie and Mary, lived at 833 South 4th Street. At 839 South 4th Street lived the Scola family; their son, Vincent Scola, gained notoriety through his involvement in organized crime in the 1930s and 1940s.
Frankie Blair grew into a 5'7" welterweight. He turned professional in August of 1933. Although www.boxrec.com shows his first pro fight in January of 1934, local newspapers report his first fight on August 2, 1933, a first round knockout of Camden boxer "Reds" Foy at the outdoor arena on the Airport Circle in Pennsauken NJ.
According to www.boxrec.com, from January of 1934 on he ran up a 7-2 record against mostly insignificant opposition, except for one loss against veteran Cuban welterweight Relampago Saguero. He fought in Camden's Convention Hall in May of 1934, a fight arranged by Camden ex-boxer Frankie Rapp.
Around the end of 1935, Frankie Blair began training at the legendary Stillman's Gym on 125th Street near Seventh Avenue in New York, where he trained alongside fighter such as Lou Ambers, Henry Armstrong, Erich Seelig, Tony Canzoneri, and Leonard DelGenio. He fought 29 times over the next three years, mostly in New York City. Frankie Blair fought three times in Camden during this period, scoring wins against Tony Falco, Freddy Fitzgerald, and Johnny Duca. After losing his last 5 tests in 1938, Blair split in four fights the following year. He was then inactive, except for a one fight comeback against Harry Dublinsky in 1944, after which Frankie Blair called it a career.
Compiling a record of 24 wins, 17 losses and two draws, Blair was a boxer, not a big puncher, as evidenced by the fact that only two of his wins were by knockout. Frankie Blair had a great chin, only one of his losses coming by technical knockout, to the great Filipino fighter Ceferino Garcia in June of 1938. Garcia would fight for the welterweight title a few months after stopping Blair, and lose, but would move up to middleweight, becoming the world champion in October of 1939.
Frankie Blair returned to Camden, and by September of 1939 was the proprietor of a bar called The Upset Club, at 950 South 5th Street, the corner of South 5th and Walnut Street. He was out of the bar business by 1947, however, and was working as a salesman, according to the 1947 Camden City Directory, and living at 833 South 4th Street. He later moved to Haddon Township NJ, where he is listed in the 1959 New Jersey Bell Telephone Directory. He was living there as late as 1977.
Frank Tenerelli died in August of 1988.
Frankie Blair's older brother Michael fought professionally as Mickey Blair. A super featherweight, he compiled a record of 3 wins, 6 losses, and 1 no decision. Mickey Blair was often front page news for activities outside the ring in the late 1920s, 1930s, and early 1940s. Mickey Blair was shot to death in November of 1941 at a bar he operated in Atlantic County. Even with the war on, his murder produced headlines for a few years after his death.
Camden Courier-Post - August 14, 1933
DANGER IN HEINSMAN TIFF
Frankie Blair, South Camden Italian, today is the toast of Little Italy's boxing fans.
Frankie, brother of Mickey Blair, who ruled South Jersey
feather weight ranks several years ago makes his second bow in
professional boxing circles next Friday at Charley Grip's Pennsauken
Township open-air Arena. Blair is slated to meet Lou Heinsman of
Lindenwold, in the opening six-rounder of a card which is featured by a
In the final set-to, Johnny Duca, Paulsboro "Paralyzer,"
meets Charley Fusel of Philadelphia, and Johnny Peppe, also of
Philadelphia, faces Joe Smallwood of Wilmington. Del., in the first-half
of the double-bill. Both
Although Blair made an impressive showing
in his professional debut here by knocking out "Reds" Foy,
another local boxer, in less than a round, the South Camden Italian is
flirting with danger in signing to meet Heinsman. Lou was kayoed by Terry
McGovern in four rounds in his first fuss, but Heinsman displayed good
hitting power in each hand, several times rocking McGovern before the
latter dropped Lou for the full count.
However, Heinsman was handicapped after the first round as
he broke a small bone in his left hand when he clipped McGovern on the
jaw. Heinsman was late in reporting and did not get an opportunity to
bandage his hands and his left fist was nearly twice its normal size when
the glove was cut off after the match.
The injured member now is as good as ever and when Matchmaker Lou McFarland offered Lou a tiff with Blair, Lou jumped at the chance to meet the downtown youngster, Blair knows more about the finer arts of the game, but Heinsman hits just as hard as Frankie and the bout, should be a slugfest throughout.
Two other six-rounders also will be staged. "Mushy" Green of Camden, takes on Joe Lawson, also of Camden, while Marty Little of Waterford, clashes with "Sonny" Carley of the United States Marines Corps.
Camden Courier-Post - August 15, 1933
LAWSON MAY WAGE HOT BATTLE
A newcomer to Camden boxing circles, "Mushy" Green, South Camden featherweight, makes his debut on Friday night in the second bout of the show t6 be staged under the auspices of the Camden Sporting Club at Grip's Pennsauken township openair arena.
Green, reported to be the son of a rabbi, is scheduled to clash with Joe Lawson, veteran Camden leatherthrower, in a six-round skirmish on a card which is featured by a double windup. Johnny Duca, Paulsboro "Paralyzer," meets Carl Fuser, of Philadelphia, in the final set-to, and Johnny Pepe, of Philadelphia, faces Joe Smallwood, of Wilmington, Delaware, in the first half of the dual windup.
The downtown section of the city is intensely interested in the outcome of the Lawson-Green battle. Both boys have been training at Ross' gym, and comparisons have been made by onlookers that Green could give Lawson, who stopped Jack Stanley several weeks ago, a close fight.
Hearing several discussions regarding the relative merits of the two, Matchmaker Lou McFarland immediately clinched the match. Now the friends of both boys are eagerly awaiting the outcome and expect their favorites to come through with a win.
Two other six-rounders complete the card. "Mush" Blair, of Camden, collides with Lou Heinsman, of Lindenwold, and Marty Little, of Waterford, takes on "Sonny" Carley, of the United States Marine Corps.
Camden Courier-Post - August 15, 1933
SMALLWOOD LIKELY TO SURPRISE
When Johnny Pepe, veteran Philadelphia middleweight, mingles with Joe Smallwood of Wilmington, Del. in the first half of a double-windup at· Grip's Pennsauken township open-air Arena on Friday night, the Quaker City entrant will be playing with fire.
The two are scheduled to engage in an eight-rounder which will. precede the final fracas between Johnny Duca, Paulsboro "Paralyzer" and Carl Fuser, formerly of New York, but now of Philadelphia. Duca and Fuser also meet in an eight-round joust.
Pepe, who lost a hairline decision to Roxie Allen, Camden Italian, in the latter's comeback attempt here several weeks ago, may find Smallwood far more troublesome than Allen. Joe has established a great reputation in the five years he has been throwing leather.
Smallwood came to Wilmington from Washington, D.C., shortly after the advent of legalized boxing in Delaware. He started out as a preliminary boy and after three straight knockouts he was thrown into a windup with Young Johnny Ketchell, Chester middleweight who was regarded as a star.
Smallwood, according to the record book, beat Ketchell and then repeated over Tommy Rios. He enjoyed a long winning streak till he met Billy Ketchell of Millville, who held Smallwood to a draw in a sensational battle.
Last Spring he collided with Vince Dundee at Peipervllle, Pa., and dropped a close decision to the Newark Italian, who still is the outstanding contender for the middleweight championship now held by Lou Brouillard. In his last battle, Smallwood beat Jimmy Smith of Staten Island, in a great club fight.
In event that Smallwood wins a clear-cut verdict over Pepe, the Wilmington mauler may meet Dundee here as Matchmaker Lou McFarland is seriously considering staging the contest.
However, Pepe also has met the cream of the middleweights. He's a dangerous foe at close quarters and as Smallwood also likes to fight "inside," the fuss should develop into a red hot skirmish.
Four six-rounders also will be staged. Joe Montana, Camden heavyweight wrestler, makes his bow as a boxer in meeting Mickey Sullivan of Philadelphia; Marty Little of Waterford, takes on "Sonny" Carley of the United States Marine Corps; "Mush" Green and Joe Lawson, both of Camden, clash, while Frankie "Mush" Blair of South Camden, faces Lou Heinsman of Lindenwold..
Camden Courier-Post - August 19, 1933
Johnny Duca Wins Decision Easily
Over Carl Fuser at Open-Air Arena
Duca, Paulsboro "Paralyzer," won the referee's decision over
Carl Fuser, of Philadelphia, in the last half of a double-windup held at
Grip's Pennsauken Township OpenAir Arena last night.
1000 fans saw the hard-hitting Italian win six of the eight rounds, lose
one and spit even in another. Duca dropped Fuser for a count of nine in
the sixth, a short right to the pit of the stomach sending the
Philadelphian to the mat. Johnny tried valiantly to finish his groggy foe,
but Fuser covered up and held on to last out the round and also remain on
his feet till the bell ended the one-sided skirmish.
straight left started the gore flowing from Fuser's nose in the first
round and also had the claret streaming from the organ in the last two
rounds. Johnny also opened a cut under Carl's right eye In the seventh and
the Philadelphian was badly marked at the finish. Duca did not show a mark
of the encounter.
did not become serious till the start of the fifth, but from that time on
won every round by a commanding margin. He won the second and third by a
fair shade and split even in the first, with Fuser having the better of
the fourth round.
fact that Fuser refused to "dog it" after being dropped in the
sixth had most of the crowd pulling for him to stick it out till the end.
And although Duca belabored him with everything in the last two sessions,
a body attack in both periods causing Fuser's knees to ·sag on several
occasions, the bushy-haired Philadelphian fought back as well as he was
able and was given a good hand for his for his gameness.
boys scaled in at 155 pounds.
19-pound pull in the weights proved too big a handicap for Joe Smallwood,
151, of Wilmington, to overcome in the eight-round semifinal against
Johnny Pepe, 170, of Philadelphia.
was an uninteresting match, Pepe trying to fight inside with Smallwood
tying him up continually. However, when Johnny did get inside he did
enough damage to win five rounds.
won the second and third rounds by a shade and split even in the second
frame. The Wilmington youngster suffered a cut on the nose in the sixth.
At the weighing-in exercises yesterday, the weights of the two boxers were given as Smallwood, 156; Pepe, 170.
his debut as a boxer, Joe Montana,
181, South Camden's wrestler, outpointed Mike Sullivan, 200, of Atlantic
City, in a special six-rounder. Montana won the first, second, fourth
and sixth rounds, while Sullivan won the third round by a big margin, and
also carried the fifth.
who had the usual roll of fat around his mid-section, made a clown fight
of it. Montana, regarded as a good puncher, failed to rock Sullivan at any
stage of the fuss.
an interesting match, Marty Little, 142, of Waterford, eked out a close
decision over Terry McGovern, 136, of the U. S. Marine Corps, in the third
last round decided the issue as Little had won the second and third rounds
and McGovern won the fourth and fifth, while the first was even. Little
was the hardest hitter and spilled McGovern in the second with a left hook
to the jaw, but Terry was up before a count could be started.
Lawson, 118, of Camden, outpointed "Mushy" Green, 115, also of
Camden, in the second six-rounder. Lawson finished strong, winning the
last three rounds along with the first. Green won the second and third
rounds. The bout was marred by frequent clinches.
Blair, 145, of Camden, and Eddie Faris, 143, of Wilmington, Del.,
fought a great draw in the opening bout of six rounds. Both boys won two
rounds with two even.
won the first and fourth rounds, Faris won the second and fifth, while the
third and sixth were even. They stood toe to toe almost from start to
finish and both were tired at the end.
was bleeding at the nose at the end and Faris sported a "mouse"
under the left eye,
Any decision other than a draw would have been unfair to both youngsters, who were in there to annihilate each other and who tried their best to turn the trick.
|Camden Courier-Post - May 16, 1934|
|Camden Courier-Post - May 19, 1934|
Rios Gains Verdict Over Sylvan Bass in Feature Boxing Bout at Civic Hall
WILMINGTON FIGHTER TAKES 4 OF 8 ROUNDS
Baltimore Youngster Given Two Rounds in Great Windup Struggle
BRITT GIVEN DECISION
August 10, 1936
|Camden Courier-Post - August 11, 1936|
LOCAL ITALIAN GETS BAPTISM AT
Past Performances Give Philadelphian Slight Edge in 10-Rounder
LEWIS MEETS MANCUSO
|Camden Courier-Post - August 12, 1936|
BLAIR GETS DECISION OVER FALCO
2,500 SEE LOCAL ITALIAN TRIUMPH
December 18, 1939
|Camden Courier-Post * December 20, 1939|
Kopesky - James
Braddock - Jersey
Joe Walcott - Roxie
Allen - Frankie
Blair - Mickey
Lew Skymer - Battling Mack - Joey O'Donnell - Joe Spearing- Frankie Rapp
Johnny Lucas - Joey Straiges - Young Joe Firpo - Joey Allen - Sgt. Ray Smith
Buck Flemming - Joe Shannon - Tommy Ricco - Al Daley - Jackie Hindle - Eddie Chaney
Caesar Campana - Young O'Connors - Charlie Mack - Kayo Palmer - Pat Lawrence- Dave Lambert
Young Lawrence - Archie McNew - Lou Jackson - Al White - Young Palmer - Tommy Dundee
Pee Wee Ross - Bobby Zimmerman - Joe Mangold
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