Local boxing great Jerry Tomasetti dies at 73



JERRY TOMASETTI Hall of Fame boxer

JERRY TOMASETTI Hall of Fame boxer

Johnny Bos sent this from “The Times-Tribune.com


A gritty fighter with an infectious personality, Jerry Tomasetti left a lasting impression on sports fans during the Golden Age of boxing in this area.

Tomasetti died Friday at his home in Dunmore. He was 73.

“He was always a nice guy,” said his close friend Bobby McCabe, who now lives in Clarks Summit. “He was a family man and was concerned most about his family and friends. He provided well. All he would wear is dungarees and work boots, spending all of his money on his kids.

“He was a bright guy and unassuming. He got along with everybody. He was really a friendly guy.”

A 1953 graduate of Dunmore, Tomasetti was a veteran of the United States Army. He began boxing and became a professional, drawing huge crowds to area arenas and gyms.

As a pro, Tomasetti posted a 13-6 record with nine knockouts from 1959 to 1968. He had memorable bouts against Dante Cane in 1967 and 1968, which drew an overflow crowd in Scranton. The scrappy heavyweight also battled Chuck Wepner four times, including twice at Madison Square Garden and another at the Felt Forum in New York.

For his athletic achievement, he was enshrined in the Northeast Region Sports Hall of Fame, the Luzerne County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame and the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame.

“I thought he was a very good fighter,” said John Laboranti, a local boxing promoter. “He was a great guy personally. He was good for boxing in this area. When he fought Dante Cane here in Scranton, that was a big fight. Jerry was a good legitimate fighter, but really he was a better person.

“He had a great personality. He was a very friendly guy. He worked out every day of his life. If you met him one time, he remembered you. All I can say is good things.”

During his professional career, Rocky Marciano had shown interest in training Tomasetti, but an injury to his right hand cost him his shot. For the most part, he trained himself and sparred with longtime friend Billy Dolphin.

“They were great friends,” McCabe said. “The biggest disability for Jerry was there really wasn’t anyone for him to fight or train with around here. So he worked hard himself.”

Tomasetti, a longtime business agent for Laborers Local Union 158, and his wife, the former Sharon Buerkle, who died in 1998, raised six children, to whom he devoted his life.

“That was his main concern in life was to take care of his kids,” McCabe said. “He was also such a great friend.”

Contact the writer: jbfawcett@timesshamrock.com





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