The idea was interesting at first, I thought why not profile a fighter from each of the countries I visit on vacation, sounds easy right? Well, that’s initially what I thought until my recent visit to Vienna in Austria who is widely known for its beautiful scenery, Museums and of course at this time of year its Christmas markets, unfortunately for me, not for its standing in the sport of boxing.
|Country – Austria|
Destination Stay – Vienna
Period – December 2018
Austria may be accredited for birthing the T-800 model in the Hollywood blockbuster Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) but from a sporting point of view is more renowned for its Alpine skiing, Snowboarding or basically anything done in snow, this, of course, is mainly attributed to its location in mountainous terrain, sadly boxing seems to be an afterthought in this particular central European region.
So as you can imagine I’m left Scratching my head to come up with anything resembling something Interesting to write about, so in order to do so Boxrec once more becomes my friend, mixed with some research threw up a couple of names of note.
CURRENT – LEO LEVANI
Leo Levani, 29 seems to be the most exciting of the current crop who applies his trade In the talent-rich light Welterweight division.
Levani has made a decent start to his professional endeavours, his resume mirroring that progress, currently standing at 12-0-1 with the focus now on moving on to challenge for the European title in the year to follow.
Born in Georgia, Levani found a home in Austria’s capital city of Vienna, standing at 5’11 he holds victories over credible opposition in Fouad El Massoudi and Stiliyan Kostov with his only slight blemish coming in a draw with the fellow unbeaten Aram Amirkhanyan.
The footage that I’ve been able to get my hands on shows a decent fighter in Levani, someone who could be a force at European level but it would be a far cry to see him reign at the world stage, a level I feel he would be out of his depth at.
HISTORIC – CHARLEY WEINERT
|Born||Budapest, Hungary / Austria|
|Residence||Newark, New Jersey|
Born in Budapest the capital of Hungary but at the time of his birth under the dual monarchy with Austria, Weinert is a name known as a man who never backed down from a challenge which is evident from the competition he fought, great fighters in Battling Levinsky, Harry Greb, Billy Miske, Gene Tunney, Luis Angel Firpo,Jack Sharkey and Harry Wills.
He left a lasting impression on Tunney especially who shared the ring with Weinert on two occasions, when asked about Weinert, Tunney said “Weinert, in my opinion, was the cleverest heavyweight developed in the last twenty-five years. He had amazing speed, skill and courage. His left jab was vicious.”
Weinert was good enough to take the great Tunney to a split decision in their first fight, a rough contest that both men infringed on being disqualified, Tunney amazingly threw Weinert out of the ring head first on two occasions.
The second encounter was a little less scattered with infractions, Weinert broke the nose of Tunney in the third before a left hook in the fourth knocked Weinert out for the count.
The signs of a contender were evident for all to see early on, Weinert shocked the boxing world aged eighteen with a one-sided lesson handed out to Battling Levinsky before following it up a year later with wins over Gunboat Smith, Jim Coffey, George “Boer” Rodel, and again, Battling Levinsky.
But it was a Lack of dedication that would mean that Weinert would never fight for a world title, believing the hype that temporarily surrounded him that he possessed enough god given skill to just to turn up to fights, without preparation, lent its hand to his downfall as his early promise would never amount to anything other than a few high profile victories.
‘Good Time Charley’ as he was known finally retired in 1929, taking the persona of a tavern owner in Newark, stunting a career that went 41-10-1 in a tough era for the sport. Weinert was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of fame on June 14, 1970.
In conclusion, my trip to Austria was magical, a beautiful country, testament as to why it is listed in the top ten countries to live in the world, but all that aside, taking into account what the article is really about, its difficult to see how Austria will ever produce a fighter that will make it on the world stage. A few decent prospects linger with thoughts of European glory but is a country that will await its first world champion with no evidence that this will change anytime soon. I will be back shortly with the next in the series of my boxing chronicles when of course I decide on a destination.