Jul 25, 2017
Pete and Nick Spanakos, the Boxing Twins
Topping off at 5'3", and the only Greek kids in Red Hook, Pete and Nick were often targeted by neighborhood bullies -- the Italians one day, the Irish the next. Bigger guys were always calling them out, insulting them.
One day when they were 14 years old, they walked into a gym, and someone said "You guys want to try punching the big bags?" They did. They strapped on pairs of boxing gloves, and never took them off.
On February 21, 1955, they both won boxing matches on the same night.
They were fast and energetic, not hard-hitters. But what they lacked in strength they made up for in sheer enthusiasm. Over the next 10 years, they won 17 Golden Gloves titles.
Later he fought the Greek champion in an exhibition round in Athens.
Pete and Nick used their boxing prowess to get scholarships to the College of Idaho, a private liberal arts college that has produced governors, journalists, and Nobel Prize winners, and then went on to graduate school.
One of his close friends was Joe Rollino (1904-2010), the "strongest man in the world," who used to perform at Coney Island, lifting 635 pounds with one finger.
I can't find a lot of gay connection in their biographies, just some same-sex friendships. But the beefcake was spectacular.