Rocky Kansas

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Rocky Kansas was a tough, short (5-2″) former lightweight champion of the world. He was born Rocco Tozzo on April 21, 1895 in Buffalo. During his career Kansas faced the cream of the featherweight and lightweight divisions.

In 1921 he met Richie Mitchell, a highly-regarded lightweight out of Milwaukee. In the first round, Kansas pinned Mitchell against the ropes and knocked him out. Kansas then came up with another upset victory, this time over southpaw Lew Tendler in a close 10-round decision. The victory landed him a title shot at all-time great Benny Leonard’s lightweight crown. In an exciting fight, Leonard was awarded the unanimous decision.

Leonard retired and Kansas was given a third shot at the title against Jimmy Goodrich, who claimed the title after Leonard’s retirement. Kansas was able to get inside on Goodrich and won all but one of the first 13 rounds. Kansas was awarded the 15-round decision, and after over 14 years of professional fighting, Rocky Kansas was finally a champion.