a boxer receives a telegram from one of the greatest fighters of all
time − Jack Dempsey
− he must have done something to gain a great
deal of respect in the ring. Such was the case of Frank "Young" Susnell. Susnell, of Rochester, received the telegram from Dempsey
on August 15, 1927, about one month before Dempsey’s return match
with Gene Tunney and the famous "long count" at Soldier Field in
Chicago. The telegram read "You see how I did the comeback, old kid.
Do your stuff." The "old kid" was 26 years old at the time, but he
was already a veteran of the fight game, having started his
professional boxing career at the age of 14. He would go on to an
impressive 22 year career, stepping into the ring nearly 200 times
and compiling a record of 173 wins, 15 losses and three draws. He
won 51 of his fights by knockout.
Born Frank Cucinelli in Casserta,
Italy, in 1901, Susnell came to America with his parents when he was
six months old and was raised in Rochester. Susnell never fought an
amateur bout, stepping into the ring professionally for the first
time in 1915 at the age of 14. His first fight was in Ambridge,
where he defeated Johnny Woolslayer in four rounds. Susnell stood
5'-5", and his boxing weight scaled between 118 and 130 pounds in
his career, fighting in the bantamweight and featherweight
divisions. He was known as a clever fighter who could deliver
equally devastating blows with both his left and right hands. Susnell was of the opinion that fans wanted to see the gloves fly,
and that was the way he approached his matches. Although he never
won a professional title, he was widely regarded as one of the best
featherweights up and down the east coast. Along with the nickname
"Young", Susnell was also known as "The White Haired Boy" on the
Atlantic Coast and all throughout the South.
Over the final few
years of his career, Susnell managed himself. His final fight came
in 1937 when he won a 10-round decision over Archie Bell in Detroit.
In 1971, Susnell was inducted into the Beaver County Boxing Hall of
Susnell was employed by the Chrysler Corporation in Detroit
for 38 years until his retirement in 1966. He began with Chrysler as
an inspector and eventually earned the position s of purchaser and
follow-up man. Susnell was married to Caroline Paulhamas and the
couple had one daughter, Maxine. Two of his brothers, Nick and
Jimmy, were also boxers.