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Midget Wolgast & Frankie Genaro

Midget Wolgast

Joseph Robert Loscalzo was born in Philadelphia on July 18, 1910 of Italian-American descent. His size undoubtedly accounted for the name "Midget," and he may have taken the professional name of Wolgast after the famous light heavyweight champion of the early 20th Century, Ad Wolgast, who was best known for successfully defending his title against Joe Rivers on July 4, 1912, when after what appeared to be a double knockout in the 13th round the referee inexplicably picked Wolgast off the canvas and declared him the winner.

Midget Wolgast (left) and Frankie Genaro (right)
fight to a draw for the flyweight championship
in New York in 1933.
Midget Wolgast's professional boxing career started in 1927. He won 22 of his first 25 matches. The world flyweight title had been vacated in 1929 by the retirement of Corporal Izzy Schwartz. On March 21, 1930, Midget Wolgast won a 15 round fight against Black Bill, which resulted in the New York Commission recognizing him as the flyweight champion of the world. The National Boxing Association refused to recognize Wolgast as champion, however, and designated Frankie Genaro as champion.

Wolgast and Genaro fought in New York to clear up the dispute, but the fight ended in a draw. Genaro went on to Europe to lose to Young Perez, and Wolgast went to Oakland, California to lose his title to Small Montana. That, incidentally, would prove to be the last flyweight championship fight in the United States for the next forty years.

Not known as a power puncher, Midget Wolgast was fast and a little clumsy?a scrapper. He fought a total of 142 times, winning 81 by decisions and 11 by knockout. Newsboy Brown beat him, but not for the title.

Frankie Genaro

Frankie Genaro was born in New York on August 16, 1901. As a youth, his ambition was to be a jockey. At 5' 2 " and 112 lbs, he got a job as a stable boy, but decided he was more suited to the ring. His amateur career began in 1917. In 1920, he won the gold medal in boxing at the Antwerp Olympics.

He then turned pro, piling up an impressive string of victories. On August 22, 1922, he beat Pancho Villa (real name Francisco Guilledo, and perhaps the best known Flyweight champion other than Jimmy Wilde) in 10 rounds. The next time he fought Villa it was for the American flyweight title. He beat Villa to take the crown, which he went on to lose to Fidel La Barba on August 22, 1925.

His next appearance was against Newsboy Brown at the Los Angeles Olympic Auditorium on October 14, 1925. Although Genaro was favored to win, the Newsboy came out punching and administered a body attack throughout the early rounds that gave him the victory. Genaro got slightly better as the fight progressed, staging a whirlwind finish in the last round, but it wasn't enough to offset Brown's aggressiveness. The Newsboy fought, and beat Genaro one more time, in New York on January 21, 1927.

After Fidel La Barba retired in 1927 to attend Stanford University, Genaro beat Frenchie Belanger in 10 rounds in Toronto to gain the recognition of the National Boxing Association as world flyweight champion. He successfully defended that title four times. On October 27, 1931, he lost in the second round knock out by Young Perez in Paris. He retired in 1934.

Front Page / Biography / Photo / Opponents / Fidel La Barba / Corporal Izzy Schwartz / Frankie Genaro / Midget Wolgast / Panama Al Brown / Small Montana / Opening of the Olympic Auditorium / Memorable Fights / Brown vs. La Barba / Brown vs. Schwartz / Brown vs. McCoy / Newsboy Brown vs. Al Brown / Flyweight Champions

Copyright William B. Shubb, 1998. All rights reserved.