By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer

During the 60′s and the early 1970′s the state of California produced several world class heavyweights. Talented and capable boxers like Eddie Machen, Jerry Quarry, Henry Clark, Thad Spencer, Bill McMurray, Mac Foster and Kenny Norton.

The city of Wilmington was represented by a rough and tough custumer by the name of Joey Orbillo. Joey did not have a lot of fights in a career that lasted less then a decade. He did have a lot of memorable wars. He was a game and brawling crowd pleaser. If it was blood and guts you wanted, Joey gave it to you.

He began his career in the mid-1960′s and was soon swapping leather with the likes of Henry Clark, Johnny Featherman and future world title challenger Manuel Ramos. Joey scored a big victory in March of 1966 outscoring the highly regarded Tony Doyle.

The win over Doyle set the stage for Joey to invade the top layer of the heavyweight division. He was matched with Eddie Machen. The veteran was among the best in the world.On June 23, 1966 he proved to be a little too much for Joey winning a hotly contested ten round split decision.

Orbillo put up such a fine showing against Machen that he was then matched with the streaking Jerry Quarry. This bout was a matchmaker’s dream and it lived up to all expectations. The aggressive Orbillo forced the action and the slick Quarry counterpunched beautifully. In the fourth round Quarry stunned Orbillo with a counter hook off the ropes. Jerry then followed with a series of ripping, brain jarring shots that dropped Orbillo. How Joey got up from this knockdown and still fight on was a testament to his sheer guts and will.Veteran trainer Gil Clancy who handled Quarry later in his career called Jerry the hardest puncher he ever had. Gil had once trained George Foreman ! Quarry won the decision but Joey’s gameness won the crowd.

Joey’s career slowed down after the loss to Quarry. He had a couple of wins over journeyman Roy “Cookie” Wallace.Then in 1968 he lost to Amos “Big Train” Lincoln.

Finally on November 18, 1971 Joey was halted in five rounds by big Roby Harris.
Orbillo has pretty much been forgotten but anyone who saw his war with Quarry will never forget him.

4 thoughts on “JOEY ORBILLO

  1. Thanks for posting this stuff. Great to hear about past fighters that were really tough customers. Real fighters.

  2. Another great story from Jim Amato!
    I might add that Joey’s first loss Machen took place after he was drafted into the Army. Orbillo had been given a short leave after boot camp, had only a few days to train for his most experienced opponent, and lost a close decision to the former top heavyweight contender. I was at that fight at the Olympic. Machen then handed Quarry his first loss a few months later. It was Orbillo’s Army hitch that side tracked his boxing career. He was a good one!

    Rick Farris

  3. Met Joe in the army in Fort Benning. We were in the same battalion, but different companies. I hung out in the gym a lot and would spar with Joe getting ready for his fight with Quarry. He used ti kick the shit out of me. I never backed down and I even think he held back some times. He was a great guy to know and swap leather with.

  4. I went to high school, Banning HS in Wilmington with Joey. He was a great guy who didn’t talk about boxing, it wasn’t until I was in the Navy and read about him in “Stars and Stripes” that I had any idea about his career. I haven’t seen him to talk to him since school and only now read his bio. I am really happy that he gave it up when he did and is ok with his life after his boxing career.
    Best to you Joey.

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