NYSBHOF 2016 inductees (seated left to right) Vilomar Fernandez, Dennis Rappaport, Randy Gordon and Ed Brophy and (standing) Aaron Davis and Joe DeGuardia (204183)

Special to the AmNews

The 5th annual New York State Boxing Hall of Fame induction dinner was held at Russo’s On The Bay in Howard Beach, Queens last Sunday, April 3, and featured several popular locals. Several hundred attended the event.

To qualify, participants must have resided in New York State during most of their careers, or at least during their peak. All boxers needed to have been retired for three years or more to be inducted into the NYSBHOF.

World Boxing Association welterweight champion (1990-1991) Aaron “Superman” Davis from the Bronx won the 1986 147-Pound Open Golden Gloves Championship before turning pro later that year under the watchful eye of his father/trainer Tumbler Davis and manager/trainer Billy Giles. He compiled a stellar record of 29-0 (16 KOs) before knocking out Brooklyn-born Mark Breland on July 8, 1990, for the world championship in one of the year’s most brutal battles. He retired in 2002 with a record of 49-6 (31 KOs).

“Thanks, Ring 8,” Davis said at the podium while his father proudly admired him from the audience. “Boxing is a hard sport. It was much harder in the gym. I saw Gerry Cooney, Iran Barkley and Roberto Duran and wanted to do what those guys did, and it made me the fighter I was. I’d like to thank my father, Tumbler, and Billy Giles, who was my trainer. I’d also like to thank Joe DeGuardia, who managed me later in my career and thanks to everybody who supported me.”

Others honored included IBF junior welterweight champion (1993-1994) Charles “The Natural” Murray (Buffalo), 1979 featherweight NY Golden Gloves champion and two-time world lightweight title challenger Vilomar Fernandez (Bronx), two-time NY Golden Gloves champion (1968-1969) and world lightweight title challenger Edwin Viruet (New York City).

Murray said, “They called me ‘The Natural.’ I appreciate this, being honored for my contributions to boxing. Thank you very much.”

Fernandez said, “It wasn’t easy fighting guys like Roberto Duran and Alexis Arguello. They were the best in the world. I’m thankful for the opportunities to fight them. I’m honored today.”

Deceased boxers included three-time NY Golden Glove champion, four-time, three-division world champion Hector “Macho” Camacho (Spanish Harlem); world middleweight champion (1952) Rocky Graziano (Brooklyn); world lightweight champion (1925-1926) titlist Rocky Kansas (Buffalo); two-time world bantamweight titleholder Joe Lynch (Brooklyn); and “uncrowned welterweight champion” Joe Miceli (Buffalo).

Nonparticipants inducted included promoter Joe DeGuardia (Bronx), promoter/manager Dennis Rappaport (Queens), commissioner/media personality Randy Gordon (Melville).

Deceased nonparticipants included manager Howie Albert (Bronx), trainer/cut man Freddie Brown (Manhattan), television commentator Howard Cosell (New York City), boxer/referee Ruby Goldstein (Manhattan), manager Jimmy Jacobs (New York City).

Each inductee received a custom-designed belt commemorating their placement in the NYSBHOF, and plaques were displayed at the New York State Athletic Commission.