Walter Neusel: Hitler’s Other Champion

By Norman Marcus on October 19, 2016
Walter Neusel: Hitler’s Other Champion
After the war these two old men, Neusel and Schmeling met one more time in the ring.

Like Schmeling, Neusel had held the German heavyweight title but he never would win the world heavyweight championship…

Walter Neusel had the ring name Der Blonde Tiger. He was born on November 25, 1907, in an area of Germany known as Bochum, Nordhein-Westfalen. He had an orthodox stance and heavy hands. He achieved fame as a German heavyweight champion whose career lasted over two decades.

Neusal had a total of 90 fights with a record of 68-13-9 (36 KOs). But that is just a thumbnail sketch of the man that you can find in the Boxing Record.

More than that, Neusel was also a German national hero. During the rise of the Hitler gang and National Socialism in the 1930’s, his blond hair and blue eyes made him one of Hitler’s favorites. His Nordic Aryan looks helped bolster the Nazi claim of racial superiority. His friend and contemporary in the ring was Max Schmeling. Max was known as the Black Uhlan of the Rhine because of his jet black hair and aggressive fighting style, similar to the medieval German Lancers (Uhlans) on horseback. These two men were like the Paul McCartney song “Ebony and Ivory.” Two true superstars in Nazi Germany. Different looks but following the same path. Aggressive fighters with knockout power but Schmeling always had the technical edge in the ring. He could adapt his style as the fight progressed, Neusel could not. (It was interesting that Schmeling was often mistaken for Jack Dempsey on the streets of New York. They bore a striking resemblance to each other.)

Der Fuhrer was in awe of both Neusel and Schmeling. Not just for their ring prowess but the fact that he could use each of them as propaganda figures at Nazi Party Rallies in Munich, during his horrific twelve-year reign.

The Boxing Record rated Der Blonde Tiger “the 6th best German boxer across all weight levels.” He beat some top contenders from 1931 through 1942 when the war ended his boxing career. Let’s run down the list of some of his more famous opponents to make the point.

He beat top European heavyweight Gipsy Daniels twice, first on July 31, 1931, on points at the Sportplatz in Altona, Hamburg, Germany, after 10 rounds. In between those wins, he beat Larry Gains on October 17, 1931, at the Salle, in Wagram, Paris, with a UD10. The second win over Gipsy Daniels came on November 26, 1932, at Festhalle, Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany. It was another points victory for Neusel.

In 1933 Walter followed Max to the states where the caliber of his bouts improved. Walter was on a winning streak now and the names of his opponents quickly become more familiar to us. On March 9, 1934, at the Madison Square Garden in New York City, he beat King Levinsky on points. On May 4, 1934 he met and defeated Philly’s Tommy Loughran at the Madison Square Garden in an SD10. These two straight wins earned him a rating as one of “The Ring Magazine’s top ten heavyweights of 1934.”

Finally his old nemesis, Max Schmeling met him on August 26, 1934, at a hastily constructed venue next to the Hagenbeck, Zoo in Hamburg, Germany. The fight was promoted by Walter Rothenburg, Germany’s top promoter. (Rothenburg tried in vain for years to get a rematch for Schmeling in Germany with Max Baer. He had promised Baer that security would be provided by Himmler and the SS. Jewish Max Baer wasn’t hot on the idea. It never happened.) One hundred and two thousand people paid their Reichsmarks to see Neusel and Schmeling fight it out. It stands as the biggest crowd to ever witness a boxing match in German history. The bout ended in a KO9 for Schmeling, who badly outclassed Neusel.

Walter next lost another bout to the Ambling Alp, Primo Carnera, on November 1, 1935, at Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, on a TKO4. Back to his winning ways on November 11, 1936, at the Harringay Area, London, England, Neusel beat South African Ben Foord on points after 15. Later, June 15, 1937, at the Harringay Area, London, he lost a KO3 to Welshman Tommy Farr. A final meeting with Ben Foord on April 16, 1938, at the Hanseatenhalle in Hamburg, ended in another a win for Neusel on a DQ8.

Walter fought other European heavyweights right through 1942 when the Second World War finally put his career on hold. Max Schmeling also had to take time off when he was drafted into the German Army on Hitler’s orders and fought as a paratrooper during the German invasion of Greece. At that time he was the oldest man (36) to ever be drafted into the German Army. The age of army draftees would fall rapidly during the next three years as the Nazis lost a million men in the snows of the eastern front.

You see after Max’s quick loss to Joe Louis in 1938, Hitler was no longer a fan of Herr Schmeling. Of course he still used him as a role model for Nazi Youth Magazines throughout the war but he really hoped he would be killed in battle. It would have been another PR bonanza for the war effort. But Schmeling survived the war and Hitler, so chalk it up as another victory for Max.

After the war these two old men, Neusel and Schmeling met one more time in the ring. They were well past their prime by now but they both needed the money to survive in postwar West Germany. (Schmeling had yet to get the lucrative Coca Cola distributorship in West Germany that made him an instant millionaire!) This was to be Walter Neusel’s last professional ring victory. On May 23, 1948, he beat Max Schmeling on a D10Pts. Both men were very tired by that time.

Schmeling will be remembered for his two fights against Joe Louis, which had much racial meaning at the time. Max had already beaten Jack Sharkey in 1930, on a DQ and won the heavyweight championship that night. Schmeling was the only boxer to ever win the heavyweight belt while on the canvas clutching his groin, due to a low blow by the erratic Sharkey. Schmeling was named the “Fighter of the Year” by The Ring Magazine for 1930.

Like Schmeling, Neusel had held the German heavyweight title but he never would win the world heavyweight championship. Walter was a world-class contender. If he had been able to step up to that highest tier of the division, it would have assured his place in boxing history.

It never happened.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Schmeling Defeats Neusel At Hamburg

Walter Neusel Beats Maurice Strickland On Points

Walter Neusel in Training

Walter Neusel defeats Jack Petersen

Foord V Neusel Fight (1936)

Neusel - Strickland Fight At Wembley (1937)

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  1. Norm Marcus 12:54pm, 10/23/2016

    Last time-  I never said Baer was a genius, far from it.  Just that his father was a Jew and he knew it. He had feelings for his people. Thats why Ancil Hoffman told him he was fighting for the Jews. That mattered to him not the politics which he didn’t follow.
    Stop reading dummies who are passing on wrong information.

  2. Eric 07:35am, 10/23/2016

    “My dad didn’t know who Hitler was. He only read the sports pages, but Hoffman kept drilling it into his head, ‘You’re fighting for the Jews.’”

                        Max Baer Jr.

  3. Eric 06:19am, 10/23/2016

    Baer had NEVER wore the Star of David on his trunks prior to the Schmeling bout. Some say it was his manager, Ancil Hoffman, who convinced Baer to adorn the symbol on his trunks. Hoffman put it into Baer’s head that he was fighting for the Jews in his bout with Schmeling. Baer could have easily adorned the Shamrock if he fought an Englishman, it would have been no different. Bouts that had an ethnic or racial twist back then, as well as now, were more likely to put butts in seats. It is even questionable if Baer, a man who claimed to read the sports pages only, even knew who Hitler was at the time of his bout with Schmeling.

  4. Norm Marcus 05:58pm, 10/22/2016

    The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame contacted Max Junior when I was researching my book. Max Jr. corroborated the fact that his father was half Jewish, as did the family genealogist. The Jewish Sports Hall of Fame wrote me an email which I still have apologizing to me for accepting a false rumor on Baer’s History. They called it bad journalism that is taken as true just because it is repeated long enough.
    I wrote several paragraphs in the Wikipedia section on Max Baer debunking most of your poor information. So get over it Eric before people start to think you are just a plain old anti semite.
    Oh of course the Baer brothers used the Star of David on their trunks for publicity and popularity . So did Irish Fighters and the 4 leaf clover. English fighters and the Union Jack etc. Its called good PR. Doesn’t make it not true
    If you choose to refuse to accept the facts fine. But many organizations and authors have contacted me and accept my information on Max Baer. I know the family in Livermore, California. Uncle Louis and aunt Dora. They both grew up with Max. Their mother Francis as I said before was Max’s big sister and helped raise him.
    Again believe what you want. But 5 years of research and family conversations have proved to most including Herr Hitler and Herr Geobbels that Baer and Brother Buddy were half Jewish. Which mad them sub humans under the !933 Nurenburg Laws. If Baer was only a quarter Jewish his press and movies wouldn’t have been banned in Germany during the 1930s. That was the law. I could go on and on.
    Again sister Francis said he was circumsized. As did brother Buddy in his own autobiography.
    You believe what you want. Stick with Ray Arcel.

  5. Eric 07:07pm, 10/21/2016

    Here is an excerpt from the book titled, “The Great Book Of Boxing,” written by Harry Mullan. “Baer, whose brother Buddy was a competent heavyweight who later faced Joe Louis twice for the championship, tried to cash in on the Star of David on his trunks. In fact he was of German Catholic extraction, and his trainer Ray Arcel settled the matter of his ethnic origins with the marvelous line that ‘I seen the guy in the shower, and believe me he ain’t Jewish!’  Also on the Wiki site regarding Baer, his genetic makeup is listed as German, Jewish, and Scots-Irish.

  6. Norman Marcus 01:31pm, 10/21/2016

    Eric why do you continue to carry on with this myth about Max Baer’s Jewishness. I have told you in the past to read my first two stories in the archives. “Every Punch Was Aimed At Hitler” and “Fate Takes A Hand.” I go over Max’s whole background. His father was a Jew and all Jacob Baer’s brothers were Jewish too. Each son was named after a different tribe of Israel. They just were not very religious. They were secular as many people are.

    As for Ray Arcel and the shower, what was Ray doing in the shower with Baer in the first place?
    Seriously, I talked to Max’s big sister Francis long ago and she told me she often changed diapers and bathed her little brothers. Both Buddy and Max were members of the tribe! SHE SAID SO!
    Thats a better source than Ray. She handled the merchandise!

    This rumor about the Baer brothers not really being Jewish is plain anti semitism. Both brothers were big, strong, handsome men. The Jewish stereotype pf Jews being little weak cowards, doesn’t fit the Baer brothers.
    Jew haters don’t want to accept the face that not all Jews or Catholics or blacks or anybody are all the same.
    Get over it Eric. Give it a rest.

    Max had a Jewish father and if he heard an off hand remark about Jews in his presence he was in their face. Many friends have told my father those stories.

    Lets not forget Baer was Jewish enough for Hitler and the Nazis. If you were half Jewish in Germany as Max was in the 30s, you were striped of your citizenship, you job and eventually sent to a concentration or death camp later on.
    So lets give this tired lie a rest. Sister Francis says he was Jewish. So did my dad. Good enough for me!!! Should be good enough for you too.

  7. Eric 10:59am, 10/20/2016

    Neglected to mention the dozens upon dozens of Jewish world champions in every weight division. Convenient slip of the mind. Jesse Owens went on to say they he met Hitler in person and that the ol’ Fuhrer was a “bra”. Apparently he put up Owens in the Hilton Berlin, and personally made the sprinter some of the best corn bread he had ever tasted. Tee hee. And I wouldn’t make this stuff up. Every word I write on this site is gospel.

  8. Eric 07:48am, 10/20/2016

    Me thinks that Max Baer was only 1/4 Jewish and that he wore the Star of David as a way to gain Jewish fans, in other words it was a marketing thingie for the times. One need only to rely on that infamous shower room quote from Jewish boxing trainer, Ray Arcel, regarding if Max Baer was Jewish.

  9. Eric 07:06am, 10/20/2016

    Jesse Owens stated that he was treated far better in Germany than in his native United States. Me thinks Baer knows he wouldn’t have been able to get away with the same illegal tactics he employed in his fight with Schmeling in America. Baer could be seen holding and hitting, rabbit punching, and backhanding Schmeling throughout the fight. Absolutely one of the worst referee jobs that I have ever witnessed in the countless boxing matches that I have seen over the years. Meanwhile, Schmeling endured being pelted with beer, other objects, and spat upon while entering the ring to fight Baer. Looks like Baer wasn’t willing to enter a fight with Schmeling without a crooked referee and a hostile crowd in his corner.

  10. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 10:23am, 10/19/2016

    c.h.-I stand corrected regarding Larry Gaines.

  11. Eric 09:39am, 10/19/2016

    There was a time many years ago when I would come on this site to discuss boxing. Some of my postings were even borderline insightful. Once in a while, I’d even write favorably about the innumerable tough as nails Jewish battlers in the 1890-1945 era. Full stop. Then I suddenly lost the ability to masturbate so I had a lot of time on my hands (instead of something else). So I started surfing wack job loon sites and began to traffic in boffo conspiracy theories. A Grade 8 education helps (best three years of my life). In non-psychiatric parlance, I became one very sick fuck, one very bitter has been. I try to develop a following of sorts on this site but it hasn’t worked. I think it’s obvious that most of my rants are cut and paste jobs from stormfront and other sites for demonic losers. Hey, did you know that Trump once stuck his tongue down FDR’s throat in a New York city elevator? I wouldn’t make this stuff up. Not me.

  12. c.h. 08:24am, 10/19/2016

    Very good story on a very good fighter. In my opinion I would rate Gustave Eder as the best German fighter of that period after Max.
    Irish, Norman Marcus did mention that Neusel did beat Larry Gains, one of the best black heavyweights of the era…c.h.

  13. Eric 06:22am, 10/19/2016

    Oops. Meant to say the European campaign of WII. America was heavily involved in the war in the Pacific.

  14. Eric 06:03am, 10/19/2016

    Most people have no idea that FDR visited Schmeling’s camp in 1932 as a means to receive votes from the many German-American voters in America, or the fact that FDR openly rooted for Schmeling over Jack Sharkey. The rise of National Socialism was an attempt to prevent the Bolshevik takeover of Germany. And here we are in 2016 still fighting a battle of Nationalism vs. Globalism. Americans really take far too much credit in their participation in WWII, sure Germany would have defeated Russia if it weren’t for the West, but the Russians did the bulk of the fighting and suffered far more casualties.

  15. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 05:27am, 10/19/2016

    The image of a stupid boxing match amid the rubble and ruins and the as yet unclaimed and unburied dead simply boggles the mind!

  16. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 05:09am, 10/19/2016

    KOd by Farr, Carnera, and Schmeling….probably gives a good measure of the Blond Tiger. Doubt if he ever fought or even sparred with a black fighter. Who was the idiot that would put together a fight card in war torn Germany four very, very short months after VE Day?! Hope springs eternal if you’re a Goddamned idiot!

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