Sault Legends: Joe Brunette

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In the 1940s and 1950s the Sault Memorial Gardens was packed to capacity with 4000 to watch Joe Brunette and fellow boxers of the Soo Boxing Club.

Those were the days when the YMCA was synonymous with boxing and characters like Tupper Toombs in the 30s and 40s.

Tupper gave boxing lessons every Friday night at the YMCA and was lauded for taking youngsters off the streets and providing a healthy direction for them.

He helped Joe Brunette and others like Morley Ostertag, Ormand Nanne, Glenn and Bud Rya, Dick and Frank Nolan, Tiger Sawchyn, Freddie Casola, Davie Quarell and Freddie and Bobby Bumbacco.

The sport of boxing peaked in the 1950s, an era when boxing cards were a weekly event and rivalries between the Sault and Sudbury were heavy.

Competitors also came from as far away as Detroit, Pontiac, Grand Rapids, Escanaba and Manistique: Joe Brunette was one of the Sault’s greatest boxers, known for his smooth drive and terrific follow-up.

In 1948 Brunette was named Outstanding Boxer of Sault Ste. Marie. He has been reputed to be the most televised Canadian amateur boxer.

In 1949 he was the Wisconsin State Golden Glove Champion.

He was the Central Flyweight Champion in the Olympic Trials.

In 1949 he was also the United States Bantam Weight Boxing Champion in New York.

He was also the Central Ontario title holder.

Not much more could be found on Brunette and regrettably so because he is definitely a legend of his time and more so a Sault Legend.