AFRICAN AMERICAN AMATEUR HEAVYWEIGHT BOXER
AND EVENTUAL MOVIE STAR
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2
Al Hoosman in Mount Isa in about 1942/43
Al Hoosman (39150261) was an African American soldier based in Mount Isa during WWII. His full name was Alston James Hoosman. He was born in Waterloo, Iowa, USA on 4 October 1918. He enlisted in the US Army in Los Angeles, California on 23 November 1940.
He was known affectionately in Mount Isa as "Big Al" and was apparently well known and respected in the town. "Big Al" was a noted amateur heavyweight boxer before the war, and won a National Golden Gloves title fight at Madison Square Garden in 1939. Al Hoosman once fought an exhibition with Mike Klomp on 3 July 1936.
After Jimmy Johnston, Al Hoosman's manager died in 1946, his contract was bought by Billa Daly and Tex Sullivan.
He apparently fought on the same amateur tournament as Sugar Ray Robinson. He was Joe Louis' sparring partner at some stage and fought Joe Louis in an exhibition fight in California in 1948.
When "Big Al" arrived in Mount Isa he needed an eye operation. They had to build an oversize operating table to accommodate "Big Al" who was 6 foot 5 inches tall and very solidly built. He was operated on by an Australian Army Doctor.
It is thought that he may have belonged to one of the Negro Quartermaster Truck Regiments that were based in Mount Isa during WW2. The 29th Quartermaster Truck Regiment and the 48th Quartermaster Truck Regiment were both based in Mount Isa. He may have been a Physical Training Instructor with one of these units.
In the above photograph, he appears to have an arm band and looks like he is carrying a large baton in his hand, which suggests that he may have been fulfilling the role of an MP. There was one company of the 738th Military Police Battalion based in Mount Isa during WW2. Was he a member of this unit? Possibly not. "Big Al" apparently left his baton with a local Mount Isa family when he left the town. I believe it is now held in a local museum in Mount Isa.
In the book "Curtain's Cowboys" there is a description of up to three Negro MP's riding around Mount Isa in jeeps during the war. In this book it mentions that some of the Nackeroos were of the belief that Joe Louis was in Mount Isa during WW2. Perhaps they were thinking of "Big Al" Hoosman?
Al Hoosman, would have left Mount Isa by June 1943, and it would appear he moved to Brisbane in southern Queensland where he was one of the two heads of staff at the Doctor Carver Club in Brisbane. Al Hoosman discouraged any potential troublemakers at the club.
Al Hoosman won all of the following fights in Australia during WWII:-
|18 Jun 1943||Herb Narvo||Brisbane, Queensland, Australia|
|1 Jul 1943||Ival Wilson||Newcastle, Australia|
|15 Jul 1943||Joe Gladden||Sydney, NSW, Australia|
|1 Oct 1943||Bill Biddle||Australia|
|16 Oct 43||Bill Biddle||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
|30 Oct 1943||Alabama Kid||Sydney, NSW, Australia|
|13 Nov 1943||Alabama Kid||Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia|
|13 Dec 1943||Pvt I. Wilson||Brisbane Stadium, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia|
|27 Dec 1943||Joe Gladden||Sydney, NSW, Australia|
|1 Oct 1944||Teddy Moran||Newcastle, NSW, Australia|
|11 Nov 1944||Herb Narvo||Brisbane, QLD, Australia|
Picture from Sadie Lewman Jan 2012
Ticket to the boxing matches at the Brisbane Stadium on 13 December 1943
Brisbane Courier Mail Tuesday
14th December 1943
Article on the boxing matches on
13 December 1943 at the Brisbane Stadium
One of the boxers that fought at the Brisbane Stadium on the evening on 13 December 1943 (see above newspaper article), was Corporal Al Hoosman. At that time he was considered to be the best heavyweight fighter in Australia. The evening was the Finals of a boxing tournament for US servicemen. About 5,000 American and Australian service personnel attended the boxing matches that night. The Governor of Queensland Sir Leslie Wilson was in attendance at the matches and U.S. Navy Commander Gene Tunney was the referee.
Al Hoosman went on to fight Joe Louis in an exhibition match in Oakland, California on 19 Dec 1948. Joe Louis won with a KO in Round 5. Al Hoosman was also apparently Joe Louis' sparring partner at some stage.
Al Hoosman went on to be stationed in Munich, Germany with his unit. He left the Army and stayed in Germany. Hoosman owned a bar and he provided assistance for colored and parentless children of US servicemen in Germany through his association with "Hilfe für farbige und elternlose Kinder". In about 1960 Al Hoosman founded "Cause," an organization for fatherless children of mixed race.
Program:- via Anthony J. Taylor
Program for a ten (3 minute) round
International Heavyweight Contest between
Tommy Farr and Al Hoosman at "Belle Vue (Manchester)"on 16 November 1951
Tommy Farr from Wales had been the former British and British Empire Heavyweight Champion and at that time present Champion of Wales and had fought Joe Louis for the World title pre-war and had nearly won it according to many at the fight. Farr had a good comeback campaign in the late 1940s, but in the end the years told and he failed to regain the British title. He lived to a good age running a pub in Brighton on the South coast of England. To this day he is still rated in the top 5 all-time of British heavyweights, just behind Lennox Lewis and Henry Cooper.
That night in Manchester Al Hoosman beat Farr on points although Farr reversed the result in a later fight. This along with Hoosman's victories over Lee Savold and Joe Weiden suggest that Al Hoosman was a cut above the average heavyweight of the day.
Program:- via Anthony J. Taylor
Part of a program for some fights
at the "Belle Vue" (Manchester)
on 16 November 1951 which is autographed by Al Hoosman.
Photo:- via Tina Link - Teichert
Al Hoosman 15 August 1959
Photo:- via Tina Link - Teichert
Al Hoosman with Jimmy
Tina Link - Teichert's father is at the left and her
mother at the right of the photo as well as her
sister and Tina herself and Al Hoosman's Children
This photo is probably taken in Castle Bruckberg
in Bruckmühl, Germany where Tina's family lived.
Kristina (Tina) Link - Teichert, Al Hoosman, and Heidi Hönig - Teichert (Tina's sister) and Al's children
Al Hoosman became a film star, appearing in several films between 1952 and 1967. He also apparently appeared on some TV shows. A few of his movies were:-
- Toxi (1952)
- The Phony American (1962)
- Jack of Diamonds (1967)
Al Hoosman died on 25 October 1968 in Munchen, Germany and was buried at the “Nordfriedhof”, Munich (Muenchen), Germany in Plot: 139-A-14.
Please send me
an e-mail if you can
help me with any more information on Al Hoosman.
I'd like to thank Sadie Lewman, Tina Link - Teichert, Anthony J. Taylor, John Daly and Tahir Della for their assistance with this home page.
I would also like to thank Hardy Hoosman, son of Al Hoosman for his assistance with this web page.
Can anyone help me with more information?
"Australia @ War" WWII Research Products
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 21 May 2004
This page last updated 04 July 2020