International Boxing Hall of Fame
|Real name||Joe Choynski|
|Nickname(s)||"The California Terror", "Little Joe"|
|Birth date||November 8, 1868|
|Birth place||San Francisco, California, United States|
|Death date||January 25, 1943 (aged 74)|
|Death place||Cincinnati, Ohio, United States|
|Wins by KO||22|
"Chrysanthemum Joe", the son of a Polish immigrant that settled in California in 1867, weighed no more than 176 lb (80 kg) throughout his career but regularly fought heavyweights. He was considered a heavy puncher and a dangerous fighter.
In fact, James J. Jeffries claimed that the hardest blow he ever received in a bout came from Choynski during their 20-round draw. During that bout, Choynski hit Jeffries with a right hand so powerful that the punch drove one of Jeffries' teeth into his lip. The tooth was lodged so deep that one of Jeffries' cornermen was forced to cut it out with a knife between rounds.
A contemporary of heavyweight champion "Gentleman Jim" (James J. Corbett), the two fought professionally three times. Both were from the San Francisco area, and thus generated a lot of local interest in their rivalry. The highlight of their series of bouts was fought on June 5, 1889, on a barge off the coast of Benicia, California.
The principals agreed that the bout was to be fought wearing two ounce gloves. Corbett had apparently hurt his hand, and Choynski learned of the injury. Accordingly, Choynski "forgot" to bring his gloves to the match, thereby hoping the fight would proceed as a bare-knuckle bout. Corbett, however, declined to fight bare-knuckle, but agreed to allow Choynski to wear leather riding gloves borrowed from a spectator. The riding gloves were seamed, and caused Corbett to suffer many cuts and welts. Nevertheless, Corbett won the legendary bout when he KOed Choynski in the 27th round.
In 1892 he KOd a 39 year old legend in Old Chocolate Godfrey.
Choynski was never given an opportunity to fight for the heavyweight title, but enjoyed some stunning successes against famed heavyweights James J. Jeffries and Jack Johnson before they became champions. For example, he held the heavier, larger, and stronger Jeffries to a 20-round draw on November 30, 1892. On February 25, 1901, he faced and KO'ed the young Jack Johnson in 3 rounds. He then began to train Johnson, helping the younger man develop the style that enabled him to become world champion.
In 1998, Choynski’s ability and ring-record were officially recognised by his induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.