The Carto Legacy in Philadelphia Lives on with Christian Carto!
By: Ken Hissner
It all started with unbeaten 20 year-old Philly bantamweight Christian Carto’s Uncle Joe Carto in April of 1932. He was 3-0-1 boxing in Philadelphia. When he branched out to Pottsville, PA and Brooklyn, NY, he suffered back to back decision defeats and decided to hang up the gloves.
Carto’s grandfather lightweight Frankie Carto after winning the 1939 Philadelphia GG at 112, 1940 Philadelphia GG 118, Diamond Belt and Mid-Atlantic AAU titles in the amateurs decided to turn professional in May of 1941 at 18. He was kept busy having 12 fights in 8 months going 9-2-1 that year. He fought mostly in Philadelphia posting a 6-0 record but also fought in Wilmington, DE, Atlantic City, NJ, Baltimore, MD and White Plains, NY.
In 1942 Frankie won his first 9 fights before losing to contender Lulu Costantino, 60-3-5, by decision being his first loss in Philadelphia. He went 12-1 in 1942 improving his record to 21-3-1. In 1943 he won his first 4 fights including beating Sammy Parrotta, 28-6-6, in Pittsburgh. Then he hit a bad spell losing to Costantino again and a month later in their third meeting it ended in a draw. In his next fight he lost to former NYSAC World featherweight champion Chalky Wright, 139-33-17. He took the first two rounds and then Wright took over stopping him in the eighth. Less than a month later he lost to Pedro Hernandez, 51-13-4 by split decision in Baltimore. “Pedro was always dangerous,” said Frankie. He ended 1943 losing to Philly’s Eddie Giosa, 17-0 with only a 4-5-1 record in 1943.
In Frankie’s last fight in 1944 he defeated Jackie Floyd, 11-0-1, in the first of 3 meetings all won by Frankie. From July of 1944 to August of 1945 he served in the Marines earning the rank of Corporal. In 1945 he went 5-1 defeating Jackie Floyd twice, 11-0-1, in the outdoor Arena Stadium in their first meeting. Then he won by DQ when Floyd hit him when he was down. They fought three weeks later and Frankie won a decision scoring a pair of knockdowns in their third meeting. In 1946 he was a heavy underdog when he defeated Freddie Russo, 53-1-2 in the first of 2 fights losing the rematch a month later. In between those 2 fights he lost to contender Phil Terranova, 46-13-10. In May of 1946 he was stopped by top contender Billy Graham, 56-1-6. He ended the year 8-4 before retiring in December after losing a rematch to Pedro Firpo. He ended his career with a 41-13-2 record with 20 by knockout. His highest ranking was No. 10 in the featherweight division.
Frankie was named “Prospect of the Month” in Ring Magazine October of the 1941 issue. He passed away in 2005 at the age of 82.
In 1946 young Carto’s other Uncle Nunzio Carto a lightweight who turned professional at 17 and won his first 8 fights before Frank Carto retired. He had quite a good amateur career winning the 1944 Novice Mid-Atlantic AAU flyweight title and the Philadelphia Silver Gloves. In 1945 he won the Philadelphia Golden Gloves featherweight title and the Diamond Belt and Mid-Atlantic AAU bantamweight title. He would win the same title in 1946 as a lightweight.
Nunzio won his first 11 fights before suffering his first and only loss being stopped by Jesse Watson, 9-11-1. Within 3 months in his next fight he reversed the loss stopping Watson. Nunzio would go onto win the remainder of his bouts with a win over Lou Castrilli, 18-5-2, in Madison Square Garden. He was 16-1 in Philadelphia, 2-0 in other Pennsylvania towns and 1-0 in Detroit. He ended his career with his second win in MSG in October of 1948 with a 23-1 record scoring 10 knockouts. In June of 1947 he was named Ring Magazine’s lightweight “Prospect of the Month”. Nunzio is 88 and of sound mind and his funeral business is still going now and he is the only living of the 3 Carto’s. On a recent visit by Bartsy and I asked who trained him and he said “my brothers Frankie and Joe trained me.” He isn’t one that likes to talk about himself so that’s about all I got out of him. “Nunzio trained at the Penmar Gym at 10th and Mountain Streets in South Philadelphia. He was my kind of boxer and I learned a lot from him,” said Carmen “Bart” Bartolomeo. “Bart” was a good friend of Frankie and Nunzio. “Bart’ was 18-1 as a professional.
The older brother of Christian is a 23 year old 2016 Novice Golden Gloves Champion named Frank III. Christian, 6-0 (6), won the 2014 National Golden Gloves in the light flyweight division. In 2015 he ended up in third place. He turned professional in July of this year at the Santander Arena in Reading, PA, and later in the month in Atlantic City, NJ, both ending in the third round. “Christian has a bright future and I am glad he made his pro debut under Kings Promotions and we look forward to having him on plenty of our cards,” said Marshall Kauffman.
In July of this year Christian won by stoppage in Reading, PA, and Atlantic City, NJ. He made his Philadelphia debut in his third bout in August winning his fourth fight in October in Philadelphia with both ending in the second round. He filled in on a recent card at the Liacouras Center on the campus of Temple University on November 12th and scored his fifth straight stoppage.
In his sixth bout he stopped Harold Reyes from PR in the second round at the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia on December 16th. Upon receiving instructions by the referee Reye’s trainer said to Carto and his trainer Micky Rosati “now you are in with a man” and it cost his fighter dearly. After the first round and the fight being stopped this writer noticed Carto saying something to the opponent’s corner. Then afterwards he told me what happened. He was on a mission after the instructions to destroy Reyes. Carto improves with each fight. “He’s a rare breed who comes to the gym 6 days a week. I’ve trained him for the past 3 years. He’s a pleasure to train because he listen’s,” said Rosati.
Christian’s father Frank II is always by his side or nearby. His trainer is Mickey Rosati, Jr. a former Pennsylvania Golden Glove champion who owns Rosati’s automobile repair shop on South 22nd Street in South Philadelphia with the gym on the second floor. His father Mickey, Sr., was 11-1-1 as a professional with all his fights in Philadelphia except the draw in New York. Christian’s manager is Jimmy Binns, Jr., now out of Las Vegas.