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Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Look Back: Kenny "Bang Bang" Bogner

In an effort to link the past with the present, The Jewish Boxing Blog will present monthly a short biography of notable former Jewish boxers.

Kenny "Bang Bang" Bogner saw his promising boxing career derailed due to trouble with the law. While Bang Bang has been unable to live a quiet life since his boxing career ended, thoughts of what could have been for the lightweight prospect dance in the imagination of anyone who saw him fight.

Kenneth Bogner was born on January 9, 1961 and grew up in Trenton, New Jersey. He won the silver medal in the featherweight division at the 1977 Maccabiah Games while still attending high school. Kenny opened his professional career with a second round knockout of Robert Johnson on May 22, 1980. Eleven fights later, he had remained undefeated, piling up an 11-0-1 record.

On June 4, 1981, the promising lightweight took on another undefeated prospect, future world champion Livingstone Bramble in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In an interview with Scoop Malinowski, Bramble later remembered, "The best performance I had by far was the fight I had with Kenny "Bang Bang" Bogner and the first [Ray] Mancini fight." When asked why, Bramble continued, "Because Kenny Bogner was [11-0-1], I was [5-0-1]. And he came at me, he came to fight. He wanted to beat me; he didn't like me. He disliked me. And I think it made a lot come out of me. It made me bring out a lot of stuff that probably wouldn't have ever come out at that point in my career."

Bramble won that fight via a seventh round TKO. Bogner was a man willing to take a punch to hit back. Defense was never much of a concern for Bang Bang. But, the brawler had power. He had three different fights scheduled with Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini- two when Mancini was champion- and Boom Boom backed out of all three. Bogner also had a fight lined up with the famed Hector "Macho" Camacho that fell through.

Despite his inability to land a big fight, Bogner won his next eleven bouts. This streak included ESPN's Fight of the Year for 1982 against Kato Wilson. Then, his life unraveled. On November 2, 1984, he was sentenced for stealing marijuana and other personal belongs of a convicted drug dealer. In January of 1985, Bogner was accused of assaulting a woman over a gold chain that belonged to a third party.

Bogner attempted a comeback during the summer of 1987, but was stopped by Remo Di Carlo in the sixth round of their fight. Bang Bang earned a KO in 1989 and two more in 1993. He looked into coming back in 1997, but that attempt was thwarted by another bout with the law.

Muggsy Episcopo, who ran the gym in New Jersey where Bogner helped out early in the 2000s, said of Kenny, "He was a good fighter, a gutsy fighter. If it wasn’t for trouble, he would have been a champion." Bogner, with a record of 25-2-1 with 16 KOs, thought about another comeback in 2004 that never materialized. He was arrested three times in Citrus County, Florida from 2005-2007 and last year encountered a series of run-ins with the law once again.

His ex-girlfriend had a restraining order placed on him, a bus hit his bicycle, and he was accused and later convicted of stealing $150 worth of groceries within a matter of weeks in 2011. About stealing groceries, Bogner says he accidentally walked out of the store forgetting to pay. He explained, " I didn't even realize it! I'm a fighter; I'm a little stupid sometimes. The punches did it."

Kenny lives in Yardville, New Jersey with his girlfriend. At 51, he is retired and does some occasional handiwork. He dons a flat twisted nose, long curly hair, and a face that suggests a hard life. He told the Trentonian that he resents when people only remember the bad things he's done. "I mean, I did handicapped benefits, muscular dystrophy benefits, a marathon run for disabled people and so forth. They don't remember all the good things."

Bibliography
"Bogner: Comeback is a Long Shot: Trenton’s promising lightweight had career derailed." The Trentonian. 2004.
"Exclusive Q&A with Trenton's troubled ex-boxer Kenny 'Bang Bang' Bogner." The Trentonian. 2011
Malinowski, Scoop. "A Night at the Klitschko Fight." East Side Boxing. 2008.
"Newswire." Los Angeles Times. 1985.

7 comments:

  1. is there a way to send a message to kenny threw email?id like to talk to him.i knew him when i was a kid and he hung out at my house with my dad.i thought he was awesome and allways looked forward to when hed be back at my house.if anyone talks to him on here tell him jimmy, lowriders kid says hi and i remember the good he did for others and i remember his bike.thanks

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    1. Hi Jim.....I don't know if you ever got through to Kenny, but if not, he's still living in Trenton, and he also has a Face Book Page that he was active on, and replying to fans and friends on......

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  2. i just recently met kenny over the weekend what a good guy he is yeah he was invovled in some stupid stuff but hey its life dosnt mean hes a bad guy!!! he explained alot to me and i learned alot from him if any one seeing please foward this message and tell him julian says HI!!!

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  3. Wise ass punk fighter. His mother always follows him into the ring like a real Jewish Mother who feels her son can do no wrong. Yeah - he might have been champion but look what happened to Mike Tyson. Both made from the same mold - bad seeds who 'coulds, woulda, shoulda' became champs but their egos got in the way and they thought they were above the law. Both has-beens now.


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  4. Wise ass punk fighter. His mother always follows him into the ring like a real Jewish Mother who feels her son can do no wrong. Yeah - he might have been champion but look what happened to Mike Tyson. Both made from the same mold - bad seeds who 'coulds, woulda, shoulda' became champs but their egos got in the way and they thought they were above the law. Both has-beens now.


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    1. Oh boy.... Sounds like Ron had his lunch money taken by Kenny as a kid. Why pick on his mom?? I grew up in Trenton and remember Kenny from back in the day. I can't say anything negative about him. He just made a few mistakes and got caught. He did his time. Leave him be....

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    2. Oh boy.... Sounds like Ron had his lunch money taken by Kenny as a kid. Why pick on his mom?? I grew up in Trenton and remember Kenny from back in the day. I can't say anything negative about him. He just made a few mistakes and got caught. He did his time. Leave him be....

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