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Frank "Young" Susnell

Boxing ∙ Rochester

 

 

 

 

  Anytime 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 Fame.

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.