By Per Ake Persson
Former Finnish heavyweight champ Tony Halme, age 47, was found dead this weekend. The reason for his death appears to be suicide. Halme compiled a 13-6 pro record from 1995 through 2002. He won and lost the national title a few times and also beat Iran Barkley for an obscure title. A giant of a man with a background as a wrestler and bodyguard in Hollywood.
He turned pro in the US and then returned to Finland and quickly became the main attraction. For some fights there were crowds of 8000+ with the venue sold out and many more waiting outside. It´s fair to say that Halme couldn´t fight much but he could sell the event like few others. He also had a book published about his life, made a record, then turned to politics and got a seat in the Finnish Parliament.
In 2003 he suffered a bad collapse and when police raided his house they found illegal substances and one can easily see that steroid use had a part in building his enourmous physique. He never recovered and was said to have suffer from bad losses of memory as well. I interviewed him prior to one of this fights and he told me "my opponent is tough but I'm tougher, in fact I wrote the book about toughness!" He also entered the ring to a song composed especially for him called "I am Ironman." In short Tony Halme was quite a character.
Former French cruiserweight champ Antoine Palatis passed away onJanuary 9 at the age of 39 in Chamoux. The reason for his death is unclear. Palatis was found lying in the snow after jogging outside of his home. Antoine compiled a record of 32-27-3 and was first a good Euro-class cruiser - at one time 23-2-2 - and then a journeyman heavyweight known for his durability by taking on all comers all over Europe. He also suffered from diabetes and his autobiography was called "Everything is possible: a victory over diabetes".
Finnish Caramelito Promotions join forces with Russian Jab Promotion for a show in Vasa on February 6 billed as "Amarillo Boxing Night II". Headlining are welterweightss Sherali Mamadaliev and Frederic Serre who fight for the vacant WBO European title. Local man, the Finnish Butterbean, Janne Katajisto, a quickhanded, technically skilfull heavyweight built like Butterbean, faces Czech Ladislav Kovarik in the chief support.