J. Russell Peltz
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J Russell Peltz (born December 9, 1946) is an American boxing promoter. A member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame, Peltz is best known for his fight promotions at the Arena, Spectrum, Blue Horizon, several Atlantic City casinos and currently at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia.
Peltz became a boxing fan at age 12 and saw his first live fight at 13. In college, he was the Outstanding Male Journalism Graduate at Temple University in 1968. After a brief newspaper career at The Evening Bulletin, he began a boxing promoting career in Philadelphia on September 30, 1969, with a main event at the Blue Horizon featuring Bennie Briscoe vs. Tito Marshall. Briscoe won by knockout and the Blue Horizon had a standing-room-only crowd of 1,606.
Life As A Boxing Promoter
After promoting at various venues in Philadelphia for four years, including the well-known 7,000-seat Arena in West Philadelphia, Peltz was named Director of Boxing at the Spectrum in South Philadelphia. Peltz became one of the most successful local boxing promoters in the world during his tenure at the Spectrum, from 1973 until 1980. Some top Philly fighters Peltz showcased: Bennie Briscoe (who Peltz handled for 10 years), Willie Monroe, Bobby Watts, Eugene Cyclone Hart, Stanley "Kitten" Hayward, Mike Rossman, Sammy Goss, Richie Kates, Tyrone Everett, Marvin Johnson, Curtis Parker, Jeff Chandler and Matthew Saad Muhammad.
Middleweight champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler boxed five times for Peltz at the Spectrum. Other out-of-town fighters who boxed for Peltz at the Spectrum included: Marvin Johnson, Ernie Terrell, Earnie Shavers, Michael Spinks, Emile Griffith, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran, Alfredo Escalera, Jesse Burnett, Yaqui Lopez, Billy Douglas, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad and Bobby Chacon.
When Tyrone Everett challenged Alfredo Escalera at the Spectrum for the WBC junior lightweight title in 1976, the 16,019 attendance set the record for the largest crowd ever to watch a fight indoors in Pennsylvania. In 1978, when Bennie Briscoe met Marvelous Marvin Hagler at the Spectrum in a 10-round match, the 14,950 fans in attendance established the mark for the largest indoor crowd in Pennsylvania history for a non-championship fight.
Peltz guided a fighter to the world title for the first time in 1978 when Marvin Johnson won the WBC light-heavyweight title, stopping Mate Parlov in Marsala, Sicily. Johnson also twice won the WBA version of the title in 1979 and 1986, respectively. Peltz handled Jeff Chandler, the Hall-of-Fame bantamweight champion, who gained the WBA crown in 1980 when he Knocked out Julian Solis in Miami, Florida.Chandler held the title for nearly four years and nine successful defenses.
After the rise of casinos in Atlantic City in the 1970s, Peltz began to promote at the now defunct Sands Atlantic City and Resorts Atlantic City, while continuing to promote boxing shows in Philadelphia. He promoted fight cards at most of the Atlantic City casinos: Bally's, Harrahs Marina, Trump Castle, Caesars, The Claridge and the Playboy Hotel & Casino.
In those years, world champions Peltz handled included: Charlie "Choo Choo" Brown (boxer) (IBF lightweight champion); Gary Hinton (IBF junior welterweight champion); Charles Williams (boxer) (IBF light-heavyweight); Robert Hines (IBF junior middleweight champion); and Charles Brewer (IBF super middleweight champion). Another Peltz fighter, middleweight Frank Fletcher, became one of network television's most popular fighters, boxing six times on NBC in wildly exciting brawls from 1981 through 1984.
Other Peltz fighters who challenged for world titles during those years included: Jerry Martin (light-heavyweight); Tony Thornton (super middleweight); super middleweight Bryant Brannon; lightweight Billy Irwin.
Through the 1980s and 1990s, Peltz became synonymous with boxing at the Blue Horizon, including an eight-year stretch (1993–2001) of consecutive sellouts in the 1,346-seat building. Peltz was a partner with New Jersey-based Main Events in promotion of the late boxing champion Arturo Gatti from 1991-2004. Peltz also guided Kassim Ouma of Uganda to the IBF junior middleweight title in 2004.
Peltz married his college sweetheart, Patricia McKeown, in August, 1969, but they separated in July, 1975, and were divorced in 1976. In February, 1976, he began dating Linda Sablosky, a schoolmate from Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, PA. They have been married since June, 1977, and have two sons, Matthew and Daniel, and five grandchildren.
Peltz As Boxing Promoter Today
Peltz is active as a boxing promoter today at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, handling fighters such as Delaware heavyweight Amir Mansour, middleweight Dashon Johnson and WBA junior lightweight champion Jason Sosa. . He is president of Peltz Boxing Promotions, Inc., in Philadelphia.
Awards and Achievements
- Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame, (1978)
- James J. Walker Memorial Award from the Boxing Writer's Association of America, (1999)
- World Boxing Hall of Fame, (2000)
- Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, (2002)
- International Boxing Hall of Fame, (2004)
- New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame, (2008)
- Philadelphia Temple University School of Communications & Theatre Hall of Fame (2010)
- Pennsylvania Lehigh Valley Sports Hall of Fame(2015)