Pete Rademacher

Thomas “Pete” Rademacher was a strong and intelligent teenager who spent a portion of his adolescent years at the Castle Heights Military School in Tennesee. During this time, Pete caught rheumatic fever which greatly weakened him. As a form of physical rehabilitation, he began boxing to build up his stamina. After some training and effort, Rademacher was found to be a natural who would win matches regularly and could knock down nearly anyone. His technique was “Beg for danger, then don’t be there when it comes”. This was a parrying, or deflection technique he used to catch opponents off guard, then hit them powerfully when they weren't prepared. Years went by and Rademacher continued to train. He played the offensive line in college football at Washington State University. This was during the time when players used little equipment including leather helmets. He then joined the military. Eventually his success in boxing matches qualified him to enter the 1956 Australian Olympics as a heavyweight boxer. Despite injuries while training, Rademacher entered the Olympics against his coach's wishes, and went on to win the gold medal for America. In one of his final Olympic matches, Pete Rademacher faced an impressive large Russian boxer. At this time Russia had made a strong enemy of Hungary. When Rademacher won the fight, the spectators from Hungary cheered and carried him away on their shoulders. Upon his return to America, Rademacher had an idea of how to cement himself in history. He began his mission to become the first man to ever fight for the World Heavyweight title for their professional fight debut. Pete Rademacher managed to convince the man currently holding that title, Floyd Patterson, to participate in a boxing match that was watched all over the world and covered in magazines such as Life, Look and Sports Illustrated. It took place on August 22 1957. All the experts believed he would be decimated but Rademacher held his own. He managed to knock down Patterson in the second round, but was eventually defeated in the sixth round. Afterwards Floyd had said that Pete was the toughest amateur he had ever fought. Rademacher still is the only man to ever challenge a heavyweight world champion in his first professional fight. His boxing career continued for five more years, entirely managed and promoted by Rademacher himself. This is virtually unheard of in the boxing world. After his professional boxing career ended, he moved to Medina to raise his family. He eventually became the President of a branch of an Akron company for twenty-two years. He was also very active in the local community, including organizing charity Golden Glove events. At one point during this time, believed to be 1975, he refereed an event featuring Muhammad Ali in Cleveland. After the match, Rademacher convinced Ali to box at a charity match at Medina High School (now the Claggett building). Though no pictures have been found, it has been verified through multiple testimonies of the people who attended. He became a regular public speaker at a wide variety of events. He also had a natural knack for inventing and has several of his own patents. He is featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not for his “Radecycle”, the world's first one wheeled motorcycle, and has ridden it in hundreds of parades. He is an active participant in local charities and currently lives in the same house he moved to over forty years ago when he brought his family to Medina.

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