Class of 2010


Buckley was one of boxing’s movers and shakers for more than 30 years, training some of the best amateur and professional fighters to come out of Hartford.

Buckley was best known for training and managing Marlon Starling, who would go on to become a world welterweight champion. In addition to Starling, another Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame inductee trained by Buckley was heavyweight John Scully.

Buckley trained several New England champions and many amateur champions out of the Charter Oak gym in Hartford.

During a rough period in his life Buckley never lost his zeal for boxing. And fellow 2010 inductee and close friend Troy Wortham remained loyal.

“We stuck together through all that,” Wortham said. “He was there for me for all those years so I was going to be there for him.”

Buckley and Wortham now train fighters at Championship Rounds in Hartford. If Buckley continues to be involved in boxing in 2011, it will mark his sixth decade of active participation in the sport.


The late Desi Clark spent most of his career as a boxing coach flying under the radar. The Hartford-based amateur trainer wasn’t one to seek the spotlight. He preferred the fighters that he worked with get the glory, and often they did.

Several well-known Hartford fighters got their start with Clark, including Lawrence Clay-Bey, a heavyweight on the 1996 U.S. Olympic team. Clay-Bey trained with Clark in the early 1970s.

It was typical for Clark to give fighters a solid foundation, then let them go on to other trainers or managers who could bring those fighters to the next step on the rung. Clark always did so willingly, recognizing that his best work could be accomplished at the grassroots level.

The names of the fighters Clark started on the road to success are familiar to many. “Desi Clark trained Moochie (former world welterweight champion Marlon Starling) and Jimmy Blythe, who was a two-time national champion,” fellow 2010 inductee F. Mac Buckley said. “He trained guys like Herbie Cox, Herb Darity, Kelvin Anderson, and Donny Nelson. He never got the credit he deserved for what he did.”

Tonight, Clark is indeed getting the recognition he deserves.


Sean Malone Sr. has done it all in the boxing game.

Malone has been a trainer, manager, judge, referee and promoter in Connecticut. He continues to run Malone’s Gym in Wallingford and remains heavily involved in the amateur boxing scene.

Malone’s son, Sean Jr. was a New England lightweight champion whose career spanned 10 years and ended in 1998. The elder Malone was always a fixture in his son’s corner.

Malone, 71, was born in County Claire, Ireland. After a brief stay in London, Malone came to the United States when he was 16.

Malone settled in Wallingford in 1970, where he helped start a Police Athletic League boxing program. Several of his PAL boxers fared well in amateur competitions held throughout New England.

Malone learned he had lung cancer in 2009, but successful surgeries and chemotherapy will enable him to do something he’s been looking forward to — walking up to the podium and accepting his induction plaque for the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame.


If there were a list of Connecticut legends in radio, the late Bob Steele would be at the top.

But when Steele wasn’t doing his morning show for WTIC-AM 1080, he was usually involved in boxing.

Steele was part of boxing’s overall renaissance in Connecticut, having established a relationship with the legendary Willie Pep, a member of the first Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame class of inductees in 2005. Pep, a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, is considered one of the greatest fighters of all time. Steele broadcast Pep bouts on the radio.

Steele broadcast many fights on FM radio in the 1940s and was a ring announcer for several Connecticut boxing cards.

Steele would become one of the most prominent broadcasters in radio history while working for WTIC. He also did television sports broadcasts. He retired from his daily radio show in 1991. He died in 2002 at the age of 91.


The versatility of Joe Tessitore knows no bounds.

Tessitore will be unable to attend tonight’s induction dinner because he will be doing play-by-play at a college football game for ESPN.

It’s his boxing play-by-play, however, that has earned Tessitore rave reviews.

Tessitore is the No. 1 blow-by-blow boxing broadcaster for ESPN for several years. He is the voice of the Fight Night video game produced by EA Sports.

A former sports broadcaster at Channel 3 in Hartford, Tessitore lives in Prospect. He was grateful to be part of the 2010 induction class.

“It’s very humbling to be going into the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame,” Tessitore said. “I remember the first time I was in the San Juan Center in Hartford. You could feel the vibrancy of boxing in Connecticut. It’s a sport I’m passionate about and thanks to Channel 3 and ESPN, I’ve had a chance to bring it into the best light.”

This is one night where the light will shine on Tessitore.


Ward is the first inductee without
significant Connecticut ties to get into the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame.

But on May 18, 2002 at the Mohegan Sun Arena, Ward took part in one of the most acclaimed bouts in boxing history against the late Arturo Gatti. Ward, who retired with a 38-13 record, fought a heartpounding, 10-round affair with Gatti that was later called the 2002 Fight of the Year by Ring Magazine.

Round 9 of that fight was called the “Round of the Century” by esteemed trainer Emanuel Steward, who was doing color commentary for HBO that memorable night. Ring Magazine would name that round, in which both men were nearly knocked out, the Round of the Year.

Ward won that bout by majority decision, but Gatti would win both rematches. Ward fought many topshelf opponents, including Zab Judah, who once said that Ward hit as hard to the body as any fighter he’s ever faced.

Ward, 44, hails from Lowell, Mass., but has been a supporter of New England and Connecticut boxing functions since retiring after the third Gatti fight in June, 2003. Ward has ties with another 2010 inductee — F. Mac Buckley.

“As the first non-Connecticut person, it’s a privilege to go into the Hall of Fame,” Ward said. “I remember having to take on some of F. Mac Buckley’s fighters in the amateurs. I always hoped I’d meet them in the finals and not before because they were always tough fights.”

Ward knows about toughness. He exhibited it in every bout he ever fought.


Known as “Schoolboy” because he was attending the University of Hartford during part of his professional career, Troy Wortham was part of the Hartford boxing renaissance in the 1980s.

Wortham compiled a 29-2 professional record, recording 16 knockouts. In 1985, he won the welterweight division of the ESPN boxing tournament.

Wortham’s only losses were to world champions Mark Breland and Julio Cesar Vasquez. The bout against Breland was a nationally televised event on ABC. Wortham went the distance against Breland, who would go on to be a world welterweight champion.

Wortham, 46, never entertained thoughts of a comeback after his final fight against Vasquez 21 years ago. Wortham is content training fighters in Hartford and teaching kids. Wortham is an eighth grade math teacher at Rawson School in Hartford.

“I was taught to give back and that’s why I give back to the kids,” Wortham said.

It’s fitting that this Hall of Fame inductee teaches class because he’s always had plenty of it.