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COLUMN: Fragetta was Utica’s Hall of Fame boxing promoter

Lou Parrotta, Sentinel columnist
Posted 6/9/22

This weekend, the International Boxing Hall of Fame is holding its first live event in over two years.

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COLUMN: Fragetta was Utica’s Hall of Fame boxing promoter


This weekend, the International Boxing Hall of Fame is holding its first live event in over two years.

The Hall will welcome the classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022 in a star-studded enshrinement held at the Events Center at Turning Stone Resort Casino. Some of this year’s inductees will include Bernard Hopkins, Floyd Mayweather, “Sugar” Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto and Roy Jones, Jr.

Another inductee, Wladimir Klitschko, will likely not attend, as he is a member of the Ukrainian Army that is currently fighting a war against Russia. Klitschko’s brother, fellow Hall of Famer Vitali Klitschko, is the current mayor of the devastated capital of Ukraine, Kyiv. This year, for the first time, women boxers will finally punch their way into the hallowed halls of Canastota as legends like Christy Martin, Holly Holm and Laila Ali earn their rightful places among the greats.

The Boxing Hall of Fame has been around since 1990, originally established as a shrine to Canastota’s favorite son, Carmen Basilio. Over the years, it has become a destination for thousands of people from across the country and around the world who have a deep passion for the sport. It is truly a magnet for pugilism fans who travel far to see some of boxing’s treasured mementoes and relics.

Dozens and dozens of boxing royalty have been inducted, some known and some not-so-well-known. Among the lesser-known inductees is 2003 honoree Carmin “Dewey” Fragetta, who was born in Utica.

Fragetta, born on July 16, 1908 to James P. and Mary (Benedetto) Fragetta, graduated from Utica Free Academy in 1927. After graduation, he went on to work at the Observer-Dispatch as a sports stringer, but he quickly gravitated to a profession in boxing when he signed on to manage popular Utica boxer Angelo “Bushy” Graham in 1928. From there, his career in the sport took off.

In the mid-1930s, Fragetta relocated to New York City and became a promoter and manager for several boxers including British boxer Mickey Duff. Eventually, he shifted solely to matchmaking, and from there, he became the sport’s first international matchmaker.

Throughout his career, Fragetta made over 8,000 matches, including setting up fights for fellow hall of famers Carlos Ortiz and Willie Pastrano, along with stars Joey DeJohn and Hurricane Carter. He even once set up bouts in South Africa, South America, Europe, Asia and in three cities in the United States on the same night. No one had ever accomplished that feat before.

In August 1947, Fragetta set up several exhibition matches for middleweight champion Rocky Graziano, who scored a TKO the previous month to secure the title from Tony Zale. The attendance was huge to watch the champion in places like Youngstown and Akron in Ohio, Scranton, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Detroit. People loved these events set up by Fragetta so much, some stood in pouring rain just to catch a glimpse of Graziano. Fragetta knew a moneymaker when he saw one.

Fragetta was also involved in bringing boxing to television. Television was in its infancy in the late 1940s into the early 1950s, and people were craving to see boxing matches shown on it. This made securing broadcasting rights financially lucrative. Along with fellow hall of famer Ray Arcel, Fragetta secured the only contract to air matches nationally; all others had been by city or region previously. By 1954, ABC was exclusively showing bouts made by Fragetta and Arcel across the country.

Fragetta, who was married to Lilliam Marr and had two daughters, maintained memberships in the New York State Boxing and Promoters Association and the World Boxing Association. In 2019, the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame inducted him along with Canastota fighter Dickie DeVeronica.

Fragetta died of cardiac arrest at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City on Sept. 9, 1977.


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