Santa Camarão

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José Santa
Santa Camarão.jpg
Real name José Soares Santa
Nickname(s) Camarão
Weight(s) Heavyweight
Height 6 ft 7.5 in (2.02 m)
Nationality Portugal Portuguese
Born (1902-12-25)25 December 1902
Ovar, Portugal
Died 5 April 1968(1968-04-05) (aged 65)
Ovar, Portugal
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 93
Wins 69
Wins by KO 48
Losses 20
Draws 4
No contests 0

José Soares Santa (25 December 1902 – 5 April 1968), known as Santa Camarão ("Camarão" being a family nickname meaning Shrimp in English)[1] or Zé Santa in Portugal, and as Jose Santa in the United States, was a Portuguese boxer. At 2.02 m (6 ft 8 in) he was one of the tallest heavyweight boxers in history.

Life and career[edit]

Santa with wife in 1932

Son of António Soares Santa and Josefa Pereira dos Santos, Santa was a remarkable individual growing up to 2.02 m (6 ft 8 in) at a time when the average height for a man in Portugal was 1.64 m (5 ft 5 in). He was born in Ovar, and in 1911 moved to Lisbon, where his father was earning for his family. There he had a brief career in wrestling, before changing to professional boxing in 1922.[1]

Santa's professional boxing career lasted until 1934, which he mostly spent in Portugal (1922–26, with a few fights later in 1929), Brazil (1926–28 and 1933–34), and the United States (1930–33). He contested the European title in 1929 against Pierre Charles, but lost by points; he also lost to heavyweight champions Max Baer and Primo Carnera. Santa had his last fight in Portugal, losing to Claudio Villar by knockout.[1][2]

Santa played himself in two boxing movies, Love in the Ring (1930) and The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933), alongside the boxing celebrities Max Schmeling, Max Baer and Jack Dempsey.[3] Love in the Ring was the first international movie where Portuguese was spoken on screen, by Santa Camarão. He received US$8,000 for The Prizefighter and the Lady, which was his largest ever single payment.[1]

In 1932, while fighting in the United States, Santa married the Portuguese American woman Mary Loreta de Oliveira. After retiring from the ring, in 1935 he took her back to his hometown. The same year Mary Loreta gave birth to his son, Renaldo José Santa. She separated from her husband in 1949, taking Renaldo with her.[1]

Rua José Santa Camarão in Lisbon

Santa Camarão died in 1968 in Ovar, in the same house where he was born.[1] Later a street in Lisbon was named Rua José Santa Camarão in his honor.[4] In 2003, he was posthumously awarded the Medal for Good Sports Services (Medalha de Bons Serviços Desportivos) by the Government of Portugal.[5]

Until Nikolay Valuev (2.14 m (7 ft 0 in)) became a professional boxer in 1993, Santa was the tallest heavyweight in boxing history. He enjoyed a sizable reach advantage over most rivals, and when seen on fight footage, he seems like a towering giant compared to many heavyweights of his era, who were usually shorter than him.

Partial boxing record[edit]

69 Wins (48 knockouts), 20 Losses (7 knockouts), 4 Draws[2]
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Loss United States Max Baer KO 10 (10) 21 October 1931 United States Arcadia Pavilion, Oakland, California, United States
Loss Italy Primo Carnera TKO 6 (10) 18 November 1932 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States

Santa down in the 2nd, 3rd and 6th, referee stoppage.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Luis Pedro Cabral (21 January 2018) O gancho de Deus.
  2. ^ a b Jose Santa. Retrieved on 4 May 2014.
  3. ^ José Santa (III) (1902–1968). IMDb
  4. ^ O pugilista que nasceu no Natal. (21 December 2012)
  5. ^ Presidência do Conselho de Ministros – Gabinete do Secretário de Estado do Desporto e Juventude (13 May 2003). "Despacho n.º 9301/2003 (2.ª série)". Diário da República. 110 (2): 7187. 

External links[edit]