Paulino Uzcudun

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Paulino Uzcudun
Paulino Uzkudun.jpg
Nickname(s)Basque Woodchopper
Height1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Nationality Spanish
Born(1899-05-03)3 May 1899
Errezil, Gipuzkoa
Basque Country
Died5 July 1985(1985-07-05) (aged 86)
Boxing record
Total fights70
Wins by KO34

Paulino Uzcudun Eizmendi (3 May 1899 – 5 July 1985) was a Basque heavyweight boxer, who is considered to be the greatest heavyweight from Spain. Uzkudun is the Basque spelling of his last name. He was the youngest of 9 siblings. In his youth, he became an aizkolari or traditional competitive Basque wood chopper. Uzcudun, known as Paulino in the United States, was the European heavyweight champion, and he fought heavyweight champions Joe Louis, Max Baer, Max Schmeling (three times) and Primo Carnera (twice) during his career. The former butcher—nicknamed "the Basque woodchopper"—retired from boxing with a record of 50 wins (34 KOs), 17 losses and 3 draws.

Uzcudun was a very rugged boxer who fought out of a crouch. He had a powerful left hook, and fought the toughest heavyweights of his time. He was afforded only one opportunity at the world's heavyweight championship, but was outpointed in a fifteen round fight by Primo Carnera of Italy on October 22, 1933. Trainer Whitey Bimstein, accompanied Paulino to the bout in Barcelona, Spain. Later in life, Bimstein gave an account in interview, of a scene more reminiscent of the cinema: "I remember one day we were at a sidewalk cafe. Just as I started to put my lips to a glass of vermouth a shot splintered the glass. Believe me, I got back to the hotel in nothing flat..." Much more grim, was his description of the Civil War in Spain beyond such high drama: "It was nothing to walk along the streets covered with hundreds of dead, and you couldn't tell when the fighting would break out anew." Against this chaotic backdrop, Paulino's shot at the title took place. Just prior to the fight, Carnera balked at the choice of Spanish-made gloves, chosen by the governing boxing commission. The champion, who had insisted upon American gloves, stated loudly and in Spanish, that he would not fight. The commissioner, according to Bimstein, removed himself from the room, and "about a dozen soldiers walked toward Carnera." The champion "backed up hurriedly" and conceded the choice. As for the actual fight, Uzcudun went the 15 scheduled rounds and well enough, that "when the verdict was announced, the revolution started all over again." A riot, replete with gunplay, commenced. Uzcudun, Bimstein, the other seconds and as many as "three hundred others" took refuge under the massive ring, until troops restored order—even with this, citizenry "continued rioting in the streets all night...." It was too bad for Paulino, whom Bimstein said "was the finest character among the fighters I ever met, square as they make 'em, game and tough, and in his prime a match for any of 'em."[1]

Uzcudun also "retired" the famed Harry Wills, when he stopped him in four rounds on July 13, 1927. The tough and durable Uzcudun was never knocked off his feet, or KO'd until his last professional fight. On December 13, 1935, Uzcudun made the mistake of coming out of retirement to meet Joe Louis. In the fourth round, Louis hit Uzcudun with a swift, powerful right uppercut that knocked him down causing the referee to stop the fight even though Paulino wanted to continue. His record was 50–17–3 with 34 knockouts.

In 1933–34, Uzcudun trained on the beach in Rocky Point, Long Island, New York. During a sparring session with Franklin Rosalia (1911–1972), who also summered in Rocky Point, Uzcudun received a punch that knocked him down flat. Some conjecture that this defeat led to his subsequent retirement having been demoralized by this incident.


  1. ^ Fried, Ronald K. (1991). Corner Men (First Edition, 1st printing ed.). New York, NY: Four Walls Eight Windows. pp. 208–209. ISBN 0-941423-48-4.

External links[edit]