Funeral services for local Middleweight boxing champion Bennie Briscoe, were held on January 10, 2011 at Deliverance Evangelistic Church, 2001 West Lehigh Avenue. Mr. Briscoe died December 28, 2010 after a short illness.
On February 8, 1943 in Augusta, Georgia on a cold winter day a little baby boy was delivered to Louis Glenn and Dial Stokes. They named him Bennie Briscoe. Bennie affectionately known as “Sonny” to his family and friends. Bennie was the eldest of nine children. Bennie was educated in the Augusta Georgia Public School System. He was an outstanding football player. He also ran on the school track team. Bennie always dreamed of traveling, to the big city and becoming famous, so at the young age of 16 his mother and step dad (William Glenn Sr.) allowed him to move to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to live with his Great Aunt Georgia May and his Great Aunt Skippy in North Philly. Bennie also attended Simon Gratz High School. He loved slick clothes and Doo Wop music.
Briscoe was a born fighter. His desire to explore his dream brought him to Philadelphia. It was in Philly that doors of opportunity opened, and a “Champ” was discovered. Bennie Briscoe’s boxing career got onto a fast start. He made his mark early in the amateur ranks, fighting out of the famous 23rd PAL Gym in North Philly. He won the 1960 Novice Mid Atlantic AAU tournament as a welterweight in 1960, and returned to win the Open Division (senior) welterweight championship in 1961 & 1962. In 1962, he also placed second in the National AAU Championship, dropping a split decision in the tournament final.
Bennie turned professional on September 10, 1962 at the Cambria Athletic Club in Kensington, and became a main event attraction in just his fifth bout. When Bennie Briscoe s career was winding down, he turned to friend and trainer George James. He became Bennie’s final trainer and manager for his last seven fights (1980-1982.) After Bennie’s final bout against Jimmy Sykes in December, it was James who convinced him it was time to retire. Bennie was one of the most feared middleweights of his era; He was given the nickname “Bad Bennie”. The Most of what happened between his first and last bouts was spectacular.
In his 20 plus years in the pro ring, Bennie became one of Philadelphia’s all-time biggest attractions. He headlined numerous shows at the Spectrum, Arena, Blue Horizon, Convention Hall, and New York’s Madison Square Garden. He was also popular all over the world, fighting in France, Switzerland, Monaco, Argentina, Puerto Rico, New Caledonia and Belgium. He was feared by opponents and loved by fans. With his awesome punching power, murderous bodywork, granite chin, and aggressive fighting style, Bennie gave the fans everything they wanted, andwas an opponents worst nightmare.
He faced the very best fighters of his era including Carlos Monzon, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Emile Griffith, Rodrigo Valdez, Kitten Hayward, George Benton, Cyclone Hart, Luis Rodriguez, Percy Manning, Charley Scott, Georgie Johnson, Ike White, Vincente Rondon, Joe Shaw, Billy Douglas, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Vito Antuofermo, and many others. In all, he fought 96 times as a pro, compiling a record of 66-24-5-1 with 53 KOs.
He earned three world title shots at a time when fighting for the championship really meant something special. In his day, only the very best contenders received title opportunities and the champions Briscoe faced (Carlos Monzon and Rodrigo Valdez) were all-time greats. Bennie is often mentioned as one of the best fighters to have never won a world title. Although a world championship eluded him, Bennie did win the PA State Welterweight Title, PA State Middleweight Crown, and the North American Boxing Federation (NABF) Middleweight Championship.
He was elected to the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame in 2007 and the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2007, the ‘Briscoe Award’ was established in his honor, created by John DiSanto. This award will continue to be given to the outstanding fighters of Philadelphia.
While still a young and eager up-coming fighter, Bennie crossed the threshold of fatherhood, at the birth of his firstborn, Charles Royster, whose mother Charlotte passed in 1972.
In July 1965, he was united in holy matrimony to Rita Ann McNeill. This union was blessed with three children; Tracey, affectionately called “Shuggay” who preceded him in death October 2010, Bennie Jr. and Cheryl Rene.
In 1978, on a beautiful warm day, Bennie met his special and lifelong companion Karen James, Bennie and Karen met through mutual friends at a special place on 20th and York St. They had an immediate connection and became the best of friends. Once together the two of them have been inseparable for over 30 years. During this wonderful time, their handsome son Tauron was born (who they call “Roc”)
By the early 1980’s, before Bennie decided to hang up his gloves in 1982, he had secured a job with the City of Philadelphia, Bennie worked on the Rat Patrol and then in the Streets Department for almost 40 years. Bennie loved his job; he went to work every day and hardly ever took vacations. The people along his route loved him. Bennie worked out of the Sanitation yard at 63rd & Passyunk Ave. He always said that the people at his yard were the greatest. Especially the crew on his truck and, the kind ladies who worked in the office.
Bennie’s health began to decline over the past few years, and with Karen, Tauron, and a few other family members by his side, he peacefully passed away, Tuesday December 28, 2010. Bennie will forever live in the hearts of those who knew and loved him.
Bennie Briscoe is survived by his loving and devoted Karen, his mother, Louisa Glenn (Augusta, Georgia), Dial Stokes (Augusta Georgia); mother-in-law, Doris James (Marshall (deceased); five children, Charles Royster (Philadelphia), Bennie Briscoe Jr, (Louisville, Kentucky) Cheryl Briscoe- Miller (Louisville, Kentucky) and Tauron Briscoe (Philadelphia, P.A). Bennie has eight grandchildren: Shawn (18) Christen (16), Kalyn (15) Daniel (13) Autumn (12) Ricky (10) Tahira (8) and Autumn (8); three loving sisters, Evelyn Williams (Raleigh North Carolina), Doris Mcrary (Larry), (Boston Massachusetts) Mary Louis Stacher, (Carbert) (Boston Massachusetts); four brothersWilliam Glenn Jr. (Valene) Augusta Georgia, Jimmie Glenn (Pat) Norfolk Va., Archie Glenn (Benita), Augusta Georgia, Larry Glenn (Boston Massachusetts), Morris Glenn (deceased); three brothers-in-law Kevin James (Karen C.), Philadelphia, Pa, Darren James (Pat) Tulare, Ca, Derek James (Pam) Avenal, Ca, one special helpful sister -in -law Kimberly James (Philadelphia, Pa.) nine other in-laws; one goddaughter Tamara McClain; one very special niece Jazzlyn Parker. A host of nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, cousins and tons of friends and neighbors; very special friend Russell Peltz (Uncle Russell), and Kimberly James; Special friends Arnold Weiss, George James, Willie “The Worm” Monroe, John DiSanto, Cynthia Allison, Tracey Kennedy, lonnie Johnson, Kevin and Karen James, The “CREW “from Silver Street; and Dwight who owned Champs Gym at 27th & Huntington St.