Rocky Kansas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Rocky Kansas
Rocky Kansas.jpg
Real name Rocco Tozzo
Weight(s) light weight
Nationality American
Born April 21, 1893
Died January 10, 1954(1954-01-10) (aged 58)
Stance Southpaw
Boxing record
Total fights 171
Wins 125
Wins by KO 39
Losses 27
Draws 13
No contests 6

Rocky Kansas was a tough, short (5'2'' tall) former World lightweight champion. He was born Rocco Tozzo on April 21, 1893 in Italy and came to America in 1898. He died on January 10, 1954.


Rocky was the younger brother of Joe "Kid" Kansas (Tozzo), and older brother of boxer Tony Tozzo. Kansas and his two brothers combined to defeat 189 opponents in the Buffalo, New York area from 1909-1937. Father to Vincent Tozzo and husband to Jessie Tozzo.

Pro career[edit]

Kansas, (right) during his bout with Sammy Mandell

Kansas turned pro in 1911 and lost just two official decisions in his first 75 fights. In 1914, he faced his first contender, Johnny Dundee, losing a newspaper decision. Kansas also faced featherweight Champion Johnny Kilbane in a non-title match, but lost the newspaper decision.

During his career Kansas faced the cream of the featherweight and lightweight divisions. On February 28, 1916, Kansas fought the all-time great Benny Leonard. Although, Kansas managed to last the full 10 rounds for a No-Decision, he received a boxing lesson from Leonard.

In 1921 he met Richie Mitchell, a highly regarded Lightweight out of Milwaukee. In the first round Kansas pinned Mitchell against the ropes and knocked him out. Kansas then landed a non-title shot against Benny Leonard, but was again handily out boxed.

Kansas then came up with another upset victory, this time over southpaw Lew Tendler in a close 10-round decision. The victory landed him a title shot at Leonard's lightweight crown. In an exciting fight, Leonard was awarded the unanimous decision.

The two fought yet again. This time Leonard TKOed him in the eleventh round.

Leonard retired and Kansas was given his third title shot against Jimmy Goodrich, who claimed the title after Leonard's retirement. Kansas was able to get inside on Goodrich and won all but one of the first 13 rounds. Kansas was awarded the 15-round decision, and after over 14 years of professional fighting, Rocky Kansas was finally a champion.

His glory was short lived. On July 3, 1926 he defended against 22-year-old Sammy Mandell. Mandell outboxed Kansas to win the title.


Kansas retired after the loss. Like many others, he was wiped out in the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Kansas worked for the city of Buffalo.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Jimmy Goodrich
World Lightweight Champion
December 7, 1925 – June 3, 1926
Succeeded by
Sammy Mandell