By Jim Amato / Senior Boxing Writer
This article was a long time coming. Over the years through my friends in the Youngstown area I have learned a lot about the rich boxing history in that region. I was familiar with Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini but I knew little about his dad Lenny Mancini who passed on the “Boom Boom” moniker to his son. I knew about hard hitting Harry Arroyo and the murderous body punching of Jeff Lampkin. I was even able to witness live the tremendous boxing talent of Greg Richardson. Through my friends I became aware of very special fighters of yesteryear like Tommy Bell, Red D’Amato and Sonny Horne. So many more that I could mention. One fighter I heard quite a bit about was a smooth boxing contender who as they say, “put asses in the seats”. He fought in an era when a multitude of rugged contenders roamed the ratings. He met the best of them and had quite a career. His name was Tony Janiro.
Janiro turned professional in 1943 at the tender age of 16. He won his first 23 bouts until meeting defeat against tough Al Guido. Tony then went on a 16-fight win streak including a rematch victory over Guido. In 1945 he lost two out of three verdicts to popular Canadian Johnny Greco. Still Janiro was winning more the he lost as he climbed in the ratings. In 1947 he scored a big decision win over Tony Pellone. Janiro then notched one of his best wins when he halted the great Beau Jack in four.
A few months later Jake LaMotta proved too strong for Tony and won the decision. The year 1948 was a rough one as Tony lost to Laverne Roach and a return with Beau Jack. He also drew with Lou Valles. In 1949 he lost to Henry Hall and then he was defeated by one of the best middleweights in the world, Rocky Castellani. The resiliant Janiro bounced back with a win over clever Charley Fusari. Tony then drew with the “Rock” himself, Rocky Graziano. Tony lost a return to Graziano and later lost to the marvelous Kid Gavilan.
Tony continued to meet top shelf opposition in 1951. He lost to Fritzie Pruden but defeated Fusari again. He then lost to the always-troublesome Laurent Dauthuille. Then came a controversial KO loss in the tenth round of his third meeting with Graziano. Tony was then stopped in a return match with Gavilan. Tony’s career ended in 1952 with a knockout loss to Charles Humez.
Tony Janiro won 80 of 97 fights. He met four world champions and three others who challenged for a crown. That’s not to mention the several top contenders he tangled with. Tony Janiro surely added to the great pride and lore of boxing in Youngstown and it’s surrounding area.