Eddie ‘Babe’ Risko
Central New York can claim more than one world boxing champion as its own.
And the City of Syracuse? One, and only one!
That one-and-only was born Henry Liudvik Pylkowski in 1911.
While serving in the Navy, he boxed under the pseudonym ‘Sailor Pulaski.’
As a professional pugilist from 1929-39, he answered to the name ‘Babe’ Risko … Eddie ‘Babe’ Risko.
Central New York’s ring champs are Basilio, Backus and ‘Babe.’
Our town’s only king in the ring is Risko, who won the National Boxing Association’s World Middleweight crown in 1935, defeating Teddy Yarosz.
‘Babe’ successfully defended his title. But the following year, Risko was dethroned by Freddie Steele and was unable to regain the championship from Steele when they met at Madison Square Garden.
In his 102-bout professional career, Risko fought 732 rounds.
And while his record of 64 victories (18 by knockout), 26 defeats and 12 draws is good, not great, it should be noted that ‘Babe’ compiled a 58-12-10 mark in his first 80 fights from 1929-35.
So over the first seven years as a pro, Risko won 79 percent of his fights.
A lifelong Syracusan, he only suffered one defeat in his hometown.
‘Babe’ died in 1957 at the age of 45 in his Eastwood home, across the street from his manager, Gabe Genovese.
Now, he joins other ring luminaries as today Eddie ‘Babe’ Risko becomes a member of the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame, Class of 2018.
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