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September 1, 1930|
Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky, USA
|Died||April 27, 2005(aged 74)|
Tunney Morgan Hunsaker (September 1, 1930 – April 27, 2005) was an American professional boxer who also served as the police chief of Fayetteville, West Virginia. He was born in the western Kentucky town of Princeton, in Caldwell County.
Law enforcement career
Hunsaker served as Fayetteville police chief for 38 years, and was later inducted into the Law Enforcement Hall Of Fame.
In his youth, Hunsaker served in the United States Air Force, stationed at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas.
In 1960, Hunsaker was Cassius Clay's (later Muhammad Ali) first opponent in a professional boxing bout. After the fight Hunsaker said, "Clay was as fast as lightning ... I tried every trick I knew to throw at him off balance but he was just too good". In a thumbnail profile of the fight the following January, young Cassius was reported as having remarked that Hunsaker's style was far different from what Clay had been exposed to as an amateur and Olympian; the young fighter admitted to nervousness going in, and that Hunsaker's aforementioned pro style, had given him trouble. This respect appears genuine, as it was lasting—in his autobiography, Ali said Hunsaker dealt him one of the hardest body blows he ever took in his career. Ali and Hunsaker became good friends and stayed in touch over the years. Hunsaker said he did not agree with Ali's decision to refuse military service, but praised him as a great humanitarian and athlete.
In the fight game, Hunsaker was a small heavyweight, perhaps better suited for light-heavy classification (175 lbs. limit); today, he would most likely compete as a cruiserweight (190 lbs. limit). He fought as a boxer-puncher, by his own telling. Hunsaker once appeared on the undercard at Madison Square Garden. Hunsaker ended up with a record of 17 wins with 15 defeats with 8 wins by way of KO. His career ended after a boxing-related head injury suffered on April 6, 1962, in Beckley, West Virginia. Rushed to a Beckley hospital, Hunsaker was in a coma for five days during which he underwent two brain operations. Hunsaker suffered the physical effects of his last match for the rest of his life. He was 74 when he died after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.
Professional boxing record
|17 Wins (8 knockouts, 9 decisions), 15 Losses (7 knockouts, 8 decisions), 1 Draw |
|Loss||17–15–1||Joe Shelton||KO||10||April 6, 1962||Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center, Beckley, West Virginia||Hunsaker knocked out at 2:43 of the tenth round. Hunsaker was in a coma for nine days following the fight.|
|Win||17–14–1||Thomas Dejarnette||KO||1||February 24, 1962||West Virginia State Penitentiary, Beckley, West Virginia|
|Loss||16–14–1||Sonny Banks||KO||2||October 16, 1961||Detroit, Michigan|
|Loss||16–13–1||Thomas Dejarnette||TKO||8||September 28, 1961||West Virginia State Penitentiary, Beckley, West Virginia||Referee stopped the bout at 2:10 of the eighth round.|
|Win||16–12–1||Herman Wilson||TKO||6||August 22, 1961||Fairgrounds Stadium, Louisville, Kentucky|
|Loss||15–12–1||Tod Herring||UD||10||April 25, 1961||City Auditorium, Houston, Texas|
|Loss||15–11–1||Alejandro Lavorante||KO||5||March 21, 1961||Freeman Coliseum, San Antonio, Texas||Hunsaker knocked out at 2:31 of the fifth round.|
|Loss||15–10–1||Cassius Clay||UD||6||October 29, 1960||Freedom Hall, Louisville, Kentucky||Ali's first pro fight. 19-30, 24-30, 23-30.|
|Loss||15–9–1||Tom McNeeley||TKO||9||April 12, 1960||Boston Arena, Boston, Massachusetts||Referee stopped the bout at 1:30 of the ninth round.|
|Loss||15–8–1||Johnny Jenkins||SD||6||February 5, 1960||Madison Square Garden, New York City|
|Loss||15–7–1||Jim O'Connell||PTS||10||January 16, 1960||Kenova, West Virginia|
|Loss||15–6–1||Hosea Chapman||UD||12||November 14, 1959||Memorial Auditorium, Fayetteville, West Virginia||West Virginia Heavyweight Title.|
|Loss||15–5–1||Bert Whitehurst||TKO||10||September 30, 1959||Charlotte, North Carolina|
|Loss||15–4–1||Ernie Terrell||PTS||8||July 24, 1959||Freedom Hall, Louisville, Kentucky|
|Win||15–3–1||Bennie Thomas||PTS||8||July 1, 1959||Louisville, Kentucky|
|Draw||14–3–1||Hosea Chapman||SD||12||June 20, 1959||Ravenswood, West Virginia||West Virginia Heavyweight Title. 54-54, 54-55, 58-55.|
|Win||14–3||Billy Walters||KO||1||May 2, 1959||Fayetteville, West Virginia|
|Win||13–3||Terrell Pruitt||UD||6||March 28, 1959||Freedom Hall, Louisville, Kentucky|
|Win||12–3||Tiny Gibson||KO||3||September 30, 1958||Fayetteville, West Virginia|
|Win||11–3||Herbert Hair||KO||2||August 16, 1958||Memorial Auditorium, Fayetteville, West Virginia|
|Loss||10–3||Emil Brtko||KO||2||June 23, 1958||High School Stadium, Charleroi, Pennsylvania||Hunsaker knocked out at 1:58 of the second round.|
|Win||10–2||Jim Saddler||SD||6||June 9, 1953||Municipal Auditorium, San Antonio, Texas|
|Win||9–2||O'Neal Crocker||TKO||4||June 2, 1953||Ringside Club, Houston, Texas|
|Win||8–2||Carl Griffin||KO||1||April 20, 1953||Dallas Sportatorium, Dallas, Texas||Griffin knocked out at 1:11 of the first round.|
|Win||7–2||Joe Arthur||SD||10||March 10, 1953||Municipal Auditorium, San Antonio, Texas|
|Win||6–2||Rancherio Alonzo||PTS||8||February 10, 1953||Municipal Auditorium, San Antonio, Texas|
|Loss||5–2||Rancherio Alonzo||PTS||6||December 30, 1952||Municipal Auditorium, San Antonio, Texas|
|Loss||5–1||Whitey Berlier||PTS||10||November 5, 1952||Houston, Texas|
|Win||5–0||Pat Viola||UD||6||October 20, 1952||Municipal Auditorium, San Antonio, Texas|
|Win||4–0||Jesus Vargas||KO||3||October 7, 1952||Municipal Auditorium, San Antonio, Texas|
|Win||3–0||Rancherio Alonzo||PTS||6||September 23, 1952||Municipal Auditorium, San Antonio, Texas|
|Win||2–0||Pat Viola||PTS||6||July 31, 1952||Austin, Texas|
|Win||1–0||Pat Viola||UD||4||July 22, 1952||Municipal Auditorium, San Antonio, Texas|
In his private life, Hunsaker was active in the Oak Hill Church of the Nazarene for many years, teaching a Sunday School class for fifth and sixth grade boys. He was three times named Sunday School Teacher of the Year. At the time of his death in 2005, he had been married to wife Patricia for over thirty years.
The Fayette Station Bridge carrying County Route 82 over the New River at the bottom of New River Gorge has been named for Hunsaker.
- uncredited (January 1961). "Glove Action". The Ring. XXXIX (12): 66.
- Brunt, Stephen (2002). Facing Ali. Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press. p. 301. ISBN 1-58574-829-3.
- "Tunney Hunsaker". BoxRec.
- "CONDITION OF BOXER SHOWS IMPROVEMENT (April 12, 1962)". Retrieved 2017-07-27.
- Facing Ali (book) by Stephen Brunt (2002). Guilford, Connecticut: The Lyons Press.
- Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times by Thomas Hauser (1991). New York: Simon & Schuster.