Joe Choynski

Joseph Bartlett Choynski (/ˈɔɪnski/; November 8, 1868 – January 24, 1943) was an American boxer who fought professionally from 1888 to 1904.[1]

Joe Choynski
Joe Choynski by Genelli, c1893.jpg
Real nameJoseph Bartlett Choynski
Nickname(s)"The California Terror"
"Little Joe"
"Chrysanthemum" Joe
Height6 ft 12 in (1.84 m)
NationalityUnited States American
BornNovember 8, 1868
San Francisco, California, United States
DiedJanuary 25, 1943(1943-01-25) (aged 74)
Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Boxing record
Total fights86
Wins by KO39
No contests4

Boxing careerEdit

"Chrysanthemum Joe", the son of a Jewish Polish immigrant who settled in California in 1867, weighed no more than 176 lb (80 kg) throughout his career but regularly fought heavyweights. He was considered a heavy puncher and a dangerous fighter.

Jack Johnson standing behind Joe Choynski. 1909 Chicago Daily News photo

In fact, James J. Jeffries claimed that the hardest blow he ever received in a bout came from Choynski during their 20-round draw. During that bout, Choynski hit Jeffries with a right hand so powerful that the punch drove one of Jeffries' teeth into his lip. The tooth was lodged so deeply that one of Jeffries' cornermen was forced to cut it out with a knife between rounds.

A contemporary of heavyweight champion "Gentleman Jim" (James J. Corbett), the two fought professionally three times. Both were from the San Francisco area, and thus generated a lot of local interest in their rivalry. The highlight of their series of bouts was fought on June 5, 1889, on a barge off the coast of Benicia, California.

The principals agreed that the bout was to be fought wearing two ounce gloves. Corbett had apparently hurt his hand, and Choynski learned of the injury. Accordingly, Choynski "forgot" to bring his gloves to the match, thereby hoping the fight would proceed as a bare-knuckle bout. Corbett, however, declined to fight bare-knuckle, but agreed to allow Choynski to wear leather riding gloves borrowed from a spectator. The riding gloves were seamed, and caused Corbett to suffer many cuts and welts. Nevertheless, Corbett won the legendary bout when he KOed Choynski in the 27th round.

In 1892 he KOd a 39-year-old legend in Boston's George Godfrey.

Choynski was never given an opportunity to fight for the heavyweight title, but enjoyed some stunning successes against famed heavyweights James J. Jeffries and Jack Johnson before they became champions. For example, he held the heavier, larger, and stronger Jeffries to a 20-round draw on November 30, 1892. On February 25, 1901, he faced and KO'ed the young Jack Johnson in three rounds. He then began to train Johnson, helping the younger man develop the style that enabled him to become world champion.

Choynski also fought six-round draws with two other men who later claimed the heavyweight championship of the world: Bob Fitzsimmons on June 17, 1894, and Marvin Hart on November 16, 1903.

Personal lifeEdit

In 1895, Choynski married Louise Anderson Miller, an actress in Cincinnati, Ohio.[2]

Halls of FameEdit

In 1998, Choynski’s ability and ring-record were officially recognised by his induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Choynski, who was Jewish, was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ IBHOF/Joe Choynski Archived 2006-03-17 at the Wayback Machine,, Retrieved on 1–1–08
  2. ^ "Joseph Bartlett Choynski: Foremost Jewish Boxer of San Francisco & Light-Heavyweight Champion". Jewish Museum of the American West.
  3. ^ International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame at

External linksEdit

Titles in pretence
New title World Light Heavyweight Champion
August 26, 1889
Title next held by
Len Harvey