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Six championship belts stolen from the International Boxing Hall of Fame

A break-in at the IBHOF in Canastota, NY resulted in the theft of six championship belts won by Carmen Basilio and Tony Zale. Police and relatives of the fighters are anxious to recover the belts before they hit the black market.

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Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

Boxing's version of the heist of the century just took place in Canastota, NY, where six championship belts were stolen from the International Boxing Hall of Fame. The stolen belts were won by boxing legends Carmen Basilio and Tony Zale. Five of the six stolen belts were RING Magazine straps, including Basilio's 1957 split-decision victory over Sugar Ray Robinson as well as Zale's belt knocking out Rocky Graziano in their middleweight rubbermatch.

Apparently the thief/thieves broke a window to gain access to the facility around 2:45am last Thursday and broke three display cases to make off with the title belts.

"I believe that the monetary value of the belts is not there," said police Chief James Zophy. "It's a prestigious belt and the meaning of it is what was behind the theft."

News of the theft has reportedly left the wife of Carmen Basilio, Josephine Basilio, "heartbroken" and too distraught to comment. Obviously she is anxious to have the items recovered before they reach the black market, where they'll become less likely to get back.

This incident marks the first theft in the 25-year history of the IBHOF.

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