If anyone has done more for the benefit of boxing in the Youngstown area than Joey Bishop, I have yet to meet him.
Bishop, now retired but still working out every day, has spent nearly his entire life in the sport, either as a competitor, trainer or referee, and most recently at the 13th All Sports Banquet at Mr. Anthony's for East High School, Bishop received a special award for his outstanding achievements.
I received a letter from Joey the other day, informing me of his award, a beautiful plaque. No one could be happier than Bishop over the special recognition he received. He is a very humble person.
I met Bishop years ago when he refereed one of Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini's televised title fights. We have remained in contact since.
At a very early age, Bishop became interested in boxing and after leaving East High School in 1941, he began training Youngstown area boxers. Several years earlier, he became involved in the ring sport at the Dick Mettee Gym on Market Street.
Great credentials: His credentials are unbelievable. In 55 years he chalked up 250 amateur victories, was victorious in 38 senior bouts and refereed close to 3,500 fights.
According to newspaper releases, his record of 288 wins and no losses remained intact at age 72.
It was at this age that Bishop decided to hang up his gloves, after grinding out a hard-fought victory over Canadian welterweight champion Boysie Phillips.
Bishop apparently spotted the Canadian 30 years and still came out on top. With that win, Bishop nailed down the Indianapolis Senior Welterweight Championship.
While serving with Uncle Sam in the Special Services Boxing Unit during World War II, Bishop took on all comers and was unbeatable. In 1943 he earned the Pan Am Lightweight title and he followed that in 1944 by claiming the Pan Am Welterweight crown.
His ring knowledge was uncanny, perhaps the reason he served for 15 years on the Ohio Boxing Commission.
During his younger years, Bishop refereed many bouts in the Shenango Valley and his name was even more popular than the fighter's themselves.
Bishop worked for 32 years as a supervisor for Mahoning County Engineer's Office.
He belongs to just about every boxing organization in existence in the Tri-State area including being a member of the Hall of Fame award recipient of Ring No. 5 of Farrell (the home of the late boxing great Billy Soose), the Legends of Leather in Niles, Youngstown's Curbstone Coaches and the Knights of Columbus Hall of Fame in New Orleans.
A number of years ago, Bishop handed me a pen, bearing his name and other pertinent information concerning his boxing career. It was a present from a very special guy.
Cook's Creek: We've heard nothing but good reports concerning Cook's Creek Golf Club, a fairly new 18-hole layout located near Circleville, Ohio (about 25 miles south of Columbus on State Route 23).
The course is owned by the family of PGA standout John Cook. Cook's mother is the former Lyda Neuman of Sharpsville.
The course is about 8 years old and features two very different nine-hole attractions. The front nine has been labeled the Bottom and the back nine the Upland. The front is reported flat with wide fairways while the back nine is hilly and tight. Water comes into play quite frequently on both nines.
A new clubhouse, if not open already, was scheduled to open sometime this month. The course apparently offers a wide variety of challenges to golfers who are looking for the best in the game of golf.
For more information and tee times, call (880) 430-4653.