By Jim Amato

The small town of Niles, Ohio situated near Youngstown takes great pride in the fistic accomplishments of their own George “Sonny” Horne. Sonny was born January 3, 1924. He began his amateur career in 1938 under the guidance of the highly respected Matt McGowan, also of Niles. Sonny amassed over 70 simon-pure encounters. By 1941 he had captured several Golden Glove titles and was considered one of the top 147-pound amateurs in the country. After failing to win the 1941 Nationals, Sonny decided to turn pro.

Sonny won 24 of his first 26 pro bouts and lost just 6 of his first 50. He would engage in close to 100 professional fights crossing gloves with the likes of Kid Gavilan, Bobby Dykes, Tommy Bell, and Artie Levine. Sonny’s biggest claim to fame as a pro was his three bout series with the great Rocky Graziano. Each time Sonny gave the “Rock” all he could handle.

Although Sonny was highly thought of by his fistic peers he never came close to receiving a title shot. Managed and trained later in his career by another area legend Jack Thompson, Sonny lost several close bouts against formidable opposition. It was about this time that Sonny was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. This extremely popular boxer succumbed to this terrible disease on September 27, 1959.

Sonny was the first person inducted into the Trumbull County Ohio and Area Legends Of Leather Hall of Fame. I would like to thank my late friend Sal Marino, the co-founder and past President of the Legends of Leather for providing much of the information on Mr. Horne.

Jim Amato

Filed under: Boxing

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