Varoff, Joey : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Varoff, Joey

Joseph Varoff

A lightweight in the 1940s, Varoff was never knocked out in his career. He did lose once on a technical knockout though, and remembered that fight against Waylan Douglas: "...the first couple of rounds was the worst fight for me...He couldn't hit me. I couldn't hit him; he was six foot tall, long arms, you know, one of those long fighters...the crowd was bored and they were stomping. You know how they get. And Whitey Bimstein (his corner man) said to me: 'Joey, go out there and make him fight.' So I was excited and mad, I went out there like a slugger, instead of a boxer and voom, he hit me on the chin and I went flying through the air. I hit the deck and -- you know at that time they didn't have the three knockdown rule. He knocked me down three times and I got up. The fourth time, just as he was going to hit me -- if he had hit me one more time he would have killed me -- the referee stopped the fight and I got up. And that was the only fight I ever got stopped in, in all sixty-five fights. Never happened again."

Birth and Death Dates:
b. March 28, 1923 - d. October 25, 1995

Career Highlights:
Like many Jewish boxers, Varoff began boxing when he was still in high school. He said: "While I was in high school, I was in the Golden Gloves for New York City, and I made it to the finals. Lost in Madison Square Garden...Also, incidently, I was a professional fighter my last year of high school. I fought for a year professionally before I graduated...I was seventeen when I became a professional. I lied about the age; you had to be eighteen to be a prizefighter." In 1940, Varoff turned professional and defeated Mike Ocasio and Don McLean in four-round decisions. Six years later, he defeated welterweights Ray Napolitano and Vic Costa in eight-round decisions. He continued to fight until 1950, and although he never got a title shot, he finished with 55 wins in 67 career decisions.

New York

Career Statistics:
Professional record:
Wins: 55 (5 by knockout)
Losses: 5
Draws: 7

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When Boxing Was A Jewish Sport by Allen Bodner, (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1997)