It wasn’t fashionable to be Polish in 1912 when
Charley Dunn began his amateur lightweight boxing career
at age 17. Irish fighters were the rage then, so the ring
announcer promptly re-christened Charley Dombroski as “Charley
Dunn.” Young Charley Dunn became so well known in Beaver County during
his boxing career that he later had his surname
legally changed and kept the moniker the rest of his life.
Charley was born in Braintree, Massachusetts, on July 14, 1894, and came
to Western Pennsylvania with his parents at the turn of the century.
After winning his first 13 amateur fights, Charley was
crowned Middle Atlantic Amateur lightweight Champion for 1912 at a
tournament in Pittsburgh, but he missed a chance to compete in the 1912
Olympic Games in Stockholm because the committee voted not to
include boxing that year, although he had been chosen as a member of the team
that had been expected to represent the US in the Olympics. Starting
in 1913, Charley had a successful professional boxing career as a
lightweight: he fought 157 bouts before retiring in 1920 at the age
of 26 because of a leg injury he had suffered while serving as an
Army boxing instructor. After his discharge, Charley appeared as a
headliner on fight shows as far away as Colorado. Following his
retirement from the ring, he served as a manager, trainer, and
referee well into the 1940s. Charley was inducted into the Beaver County
Boxing Hall of Fame in 1970.