AAIB Honors Eric Seelig
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (June 11, 2006) The American Association for the Improvement of Boxing (AAIB), which raises awareness for the medical safety of boxers, will posthumously honor former European Middle and Light-Heavyweight champion boxer Eric Seelig, with the Rocky Marciano-AAIB Champions Award on June 22nd. The award will be presented at the AAIB Celebrity Golf Invitational to be held at the prestigious Atlantic City Country Club, with dinner to follow at Bally’s Atlantic City..
Article posted on 12.06.2006
“This year we wanted to look at someone who was as courageous as he was mighty,” says Stephen B Acunto, Chairman and co-founder of the AAIB in 1969 with Rocky Marciano. “I had the opportunity to spar with Eric Seelig at New York City’s Stillman’s Gym in the late 1930s and got to know how he came to this country. It’s a story of incredible courage, strength, and faith. He’s really a hero, “says Acunto, a coach at Westchester Community College and New York State Deputy Boxing Commissioner.
Boxing greats expected to participate include Jose Castillo, Iran Barkley, Bobby Czyz, Vito Antuofermo, Aaron Davis, Mark Breeland and Ray Mancini. Other celebrities include former New York Yankee Rick Cerone, former New York Jet Joe Klecko, and more.
At age 23, Eric Seelig was Germany’s Middleweight and Light-Heavyweight boxing champion in 1933, the year Hitler came to power. That same year, the German Boxing Association expelled him because he was Jewish. He was about to defend his Middleweight title in Berlin when the Nazis threatened him with death if he entered the ring. He fled to France, and several years later, immigrated to the U.S. where he continued to compete. He is listed in the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame, the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, and was included in a special exhibit for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Mrs. Greta Seelig, a former champion hurdler who was prevented by Hitler from entering the 1936 Olympics because she was Jewish, will accept the award on behalf of her late husband.
A recording of her history is available at the Holocaust Resource Center of Stockton College of New Jersey.
“It will be a privilege to receive this honor for my husband who showed bravery and dignity in difficult times, but who continued his achievements in the great sport of boxing,” says Mrs. Seelig.
“I’m proud of both my parents,” says Mac Seelig, Founder and President of AC Coin & Slot, located in Pleasantville, NJ and the son of Eric and Greta Seelig. “They had great courage and devotion to each other. My father was not only a great athlete, but also a great man.”
The AAIB Celebrity Golf Invitational will be held for the first time at the Atlantic City Country Club, ranked 5th in the state. Tickets or sponsorships can be purchased by contacting Paul Vegliante at VeglianP@aepinc.com or (201) 807-2310, or Steve Acunto at firstname.lastname@example.org or (914) 664-4571.
More About Eric Seelig
Eric Seelig fled Nazi Germany for France in 1933. There, he competed for several years, fighting two Middleweight title bouts against World Champion Marcel Thil, both ending unsuccessfully by decision. Seelig immigrated to the United States by way of Cuba in 1935. A punishing battler, the 5'8" boxer enjoyed considerable success in the United States with a career record of 57 bouts, 40 victories (9 KOs), 7 draws, and 10 losses
In 1935, he immigrated to the United States and fought the legendary Mickey Walker in Walker's final professional fight; Seelig knocked out the former champ in the seventh-round. Over the next five years, Seelig fought as both a middleweight and light heavyweight, but it was as a middleweight that he had the most success.
In 1938, he was ranked the No. 6 middleweight in the world by Ring magazine. The following year, he battled NBA (National Boxing Association) world champion Al Hostak for the middleweight title (the championship had been divided since 1932 and would not unify until 1941). On December 11, 1939, the two met in Cleveland, Ohio but the fight lasted only a couple of minutes into the first round before Seelig was knocked out by an uppercut. It was Eric's only title shot and he retired soon afterward. Germany had stripped Seelig of his titles because he was Jewish. To this day, they have not been restored.
About the American Association for the Improvement of Boxing
Founded by Rocky Marciano and Stephen B. Acunto in 1969, the American Association for the Improvement of Boxing, Inc. has relentlessly focused on and raised awareness for the medical safety of boxers through areas of the media, boxing community and those on the state and federal level empowered to change serious problems that effect the professional fighter. Today, the AAIB serves as one of the leading voices in America for medical safety standards, administrative competency and financial accountability for professional boxing regulation. For more information, contact the American Association for the Improvement of Boxing, 86 Fletcher Avenue, Mount Vernon, NY 10552- Tel 914.664.4571, Fax 914.664.3164, or visit their web site at www.aaib.org
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