Growing up in the 50’s in West Philadelphia, Augie Pantellas was an original member of the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox community at 58th and Larchwood. He was a young Boy Scout in Troop 302, and ironically he was getting into street fights and brawls regularly, by the time he was in high school.
August Sokratis Pantellis as he was born, is a first generation Greek-American Boxer. His rise to fame in 70’s Philadelphia, was through the professional world of boxing. In an era of drugs, civil rights, hippies and the Beatles, “I lost my way and the chance to be the champ”, says Pantellis. His journey is a story of success, failure and faith.
Augie Pantellas (aka. The Broomall Bomber) as he’s known today, (28-6, 20 KOs) is now 70 years young, is a former professional boxer from Broomall, Pennsylvania. Keep in mind that if he were to partake in a professional bout at his age he would set a Guinness World Record for being the oldest man ever to compete in a professional boxing match.
Oddly enough, Pantellas had a match scheduled for June 7th of this year, but there were issues with the promoter and they couldn’t come to an agreement so the event fell through. The fact that a 70 year old man would even attempt such a feat is incredible, but Augie Pantellas believes he can do anything with the help of the lord.
Nicknamed the “Broomall Bomber” for his vicious knockouts, Pantellas fought in the Junior Lightweight division over the course of his career. At only 5′ 6″ 130 lbs. Pantellas wasn’t the biggest guy, but he could pack a punch; just ask one of the twenty guys he knocked out.
Pantellas got into boxing at the age of 23, but in his younger years he was never really interested in the sport.
In high school, Pantellas was a wrestler before eventually dropping out, but that didn’t stop him from shying away from any physical contact. Pantellas and some of the boys in the neighborhood would wrestle and fight in the street and most of the kids he went up against were bigger than him but he would always take them down. A friend got him into the sport of boxing and that’s where he met his trainer Marty Feldman.
When I asked Augie what is different in the sport of boxing from back then compared to today, he replied “It’s not as appreciated like it was back in the day”. Pantellas also talked about how the UFC wasn’t even around back then and how now everyone wants to watch that instead of boxing. When Pantellas boxed, it was mandatory for the champions to fight the big contenders to stay the champ and today you don’t have that. Pantellas stated that he thinks that it should be mandatory for guys like Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather to fight each other, and I think that the majority of boxing fans would agree with him.
Pantellas boxed in the 60s and 70s, a time where drugs were taking off and popular bands like the Beatles were singing about them in every other song. Drugs were out in the open even for Pantellas, and he started experimenting with them in the late 60s. “I was a half man after a while” stated Pantellas, referring to how the drugs ate away at his career for a period of time. Pantellas talked about one fight in particular, a fight that he believes he would have won if it wasn’t for drugs. On January 18, 1971 Auggie Pantellas (20-3-0) took on Ricardo Arrendondo (54-4-0) at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, PA. Arrendondo was the #1 contender at the time and had never been knocked down in his whole career. In the 9th round he was in for a surprise when Pantellas caught him with a punch that put him on the ground. Arrendondo came back in the 10th round with a TKO. Pantellas said that this happened mainly because he was on drugs. He could never regain a stable stance and the referee called the fight. “I believe in all my heart that I would have been champ” stated Pantellas talking about what could have been if he wasn’t on drugs at the time.
In 1972, Augie Pantellas retired from professional boxing but his retirement was short lived. During his time away from boxing, he claims that Jesus came into his life and turned it around. “There’s no greater feeling in the world than knowing Jesus Christ” said Pantellas. He stepped back into the ring for the first time since his retirement in 1977, and he fought his last fight in 1979 before officially retiring from the professional boxing realm. He defeated Sammy Goss in a split decision and retired on top.
If you are wondering where Augie is now, you can find him giving boxing lessons to people of all age in the fall in the West Chester area. If you’re hungry and just want to chat, you can go down to Augie’s Hot Dog Stand in front of the Delaware County Courthouse in Media.