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The best boxer you’ve never heard of came out of Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood


You did what you could to make money during the Depression, and for a Seattle teenager like Al Hostak, that meant fighting men with nicknames that didn’t point toward a happy ending.


Case in point, Al's first real boxing opponent: 


“Somebody called the Northwest Woodchopper, or something like that,” said John Ochs, a local boxing historian and author who has talked with Al over the years. 


Al could barely grow facial hair. This guy had a carpet on his chest. The match didn’t last long, and its end would repeat itself like an echo throughout Al’s boxing career — Al standing, his opponent laying dazed on the ground. 



Credit Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX
Ochs looks through a collection of photos of the boxing match.


Al Hostak would go on to become one of the best middleweight fighters of his generation. He won world championships, knocked out dozens of opponents, and fought in one of the largest boxing matches ever to take place in Seattle. 


And it all began as an escape from a childhood affliction that played as much a part in Al’s legacy as any one of his fights.