Ten-Count for Tommy DeJohn

By Robert Ecksel on November 30, 2011
Ten-Count for Tommy DeJohn
This photo of Eddie Machen rocking Mike DeJohn explains why Tommy became a mason


The last surviving member of Syracuse’s “Fighting DeJohn Boys,” Thomas DeJohn, passed away on Thanksgiving Day at the ripe old age of 83.

Born Thomas DiGianni, Tommy followed in the footsteps of his older brothers Johnny, Carmen, Ralph and Joey into boxing.

Stories of the Fighting DeJohn Boys’ exploits, in and out of the ring, filled newspapers, boxing magazines and saloons from the 1930s through the ‘60s.

Middleweight Joey went seven rounds against Jake LaMotta in 1949. The Bronx Bull later said, “That DeJohn could hit. I still got lumps!” Though known as “The Golden Boy,” one of many over the years, he trained on “booze, cigarettes and broads!”

Light heavyweight Ralph KO’d former middleweight champ Babe Risko in seven, and fought future champs Joey Maxim and Ken Overlin.

Heavyweight and baby brother Mike became a contender with a KO1 over Alex Miteff, and at one time held the record for the fastest knockout on television for a heavyweight when he starched Charlie Powell in 47 seconds. Mike was also KO’d by Sonny Liston in Miami.

Eldest brother Johnny managed and trained Mike and Joey, in addition to co-managing welterweight and middleweight champion Carmen Basilio.

Tommy’s ring career, unlike his life, was short-lived. After competing in the Golden Gloves, he decided to defy family tradition, hang ‘em up, and become a mason.

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  1. jimmie king 09:49am, 02/08/2013

    We must all remember that they did their best and had many friends. My friends most of all remember that Christ died for our sins He was buried and on the third day He was raised from the dead in the flesh and seen of over 500 eyewitnesses at once…...you must repent and be born again. to escape the wrath of Almighty God. To my roman catholic friends; get out of that anti-Christ cult right away flee from the fierce wrath of God. Jesus Christ is coming back in flaming fire taking vengeance on those that know not God…repent now we are a heartbeat away from eternity

  2. jimmie king 09:41am, 02/08/2013

    Mike DeJohn was a great fighter and good friend. He fought with a heart problem from day one. He went through a number of heart surgeries later on in life. Joey was also a great fighter and faithful friend. He should not have fought LaMotta at the time he did. He should have waited; Joey was too young and needed more experience before going against the Bronx Bull. Ralph DeJohn fought five champions. None of the fighting DeJohns need to be ashamed of their ring careers. I was not happy with some of the reporters berating any of the DeJohns. Most of the reporters were not at any of the fights.

  3. jimmie king 09:29am, 02/08/2013

    We asked Tommy if his name was Gianni on his birth certificate;. He said no. All the DeJohns we great people and I am glad to have known them. May God bless all their loves ones forever in Christ Jesus. love jimmie king

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