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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

ATKINS (NUSBAUM), LARRY (LAWRENCE) - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

ATKINS (NUSBAUM), LARRY (LAWRENCE) (3 Mar. 1903-24 July 1981), was a nationally known boxing matchmaker and fight promoter from the 1930s to the 1960s. Atkins was born in Cleveland to Michael and Fannie Pasternak Nusbaum. He attended East Tech and Glenville High School and was a bat boy for the CLEVELAND INDIANS as well as a boyhood friend of Blob Hope. He studied at Ohio Business College and John Marshall Law School. In the early 1920s, he worked for the CLEVELAND NEWS and PLAIN DEALER sports departments. Moving to Chicago, he helped Frank Churchill promote prizefights. During a 3-year period, which included the second Tunney fight in 1927, Atkins was Jack Dempsey's personal press agent. Returning to Cleveland in 1929, Atkins began promoting fights in the city. When CLEVELAND MUNICIPAL STADIUM opened, he became the public-relations director and assistant matchmaker for the facility. He lived in St. Louis from 1936-1939, but returned to Cleveland, joining the new boxing promotion firm headed by Bob Brickman. During the next 25 years, he promoted boxing matches for firms including Natl. Sports Enterprises, Cleveland Sports Promotion, and Buckeye Sports Enterprise. For 19 years he was the matchmaker for the News Christmas Toyshop Fund boxing show. Realizing that televised fights were damaging live boxing promotions, Atkins became a pioneer in lining up closed-circuit television for championship bouts. Married during the 1930s, Atkins was divorced by his wife, Molly. The couple had a daughter, Marcy. Atkins died in SHAKER HEIGHTS and is buried in Lansing Cemetery.

Last Modified: 11 Jul 1997 01:45:52 PM

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