The Knott Street Boxing Team. Among boxing enthusiasts, the name carries legendary overtones.The North Portland-based boxing club has a rich and storied history, one that has produced Olympic contenders and world title-holders.
That proud history comes to life at 9 a.m. this Friday, March 31, at the Matt Dishman Community Center when Mayor Tom Potter and Parks Commissioner Dan Saltzman honor the famed Knott Street team.
In its glory years during the 1950s, '60s and early '70s, the Knott Street Gym — the site where Dishman is now — was the training home to10 Amateur Athletic Union champions. Those champs and other Knott Street boxers were finally inducted to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame last October.
"When you consider our accomplishments, we're certainly the most successful amateur team in the history of Oregon sports," said 1964 national A.A.U. champion A. Halim Rahsaan, the former Bill Cross. "We should have been in the Hall of Fame a long time ago."
A framed proclamation by Potter will be unveiled, recognizing the team's "commitment to fostering community relations, youth outreach and racial equality at a time when discrimination was still widely accepted and propagated in the United States."
There isn't another amateur boxing club in the country that has produced 10 national champions, a testament to the skill and dedication of Knott Street's coaches. Nine of the 10 champs were trained and coached by Chuck Lincoln, a former Golden Glove champion who later fought professionally as a welterweight, middleweight and light heavyweight.
Knott Street's A.A.U. gold medal-winnersincluded Tommy Thomas (1956), Pete Gonzales (1961), Johnny Howard (1961, 1963, 1966), Wade Smith (1962, 1963) and Michael Colbert (1968, 1972).
Knott Street boxers Jody Harris and Louis Johnson competed in the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo.