NIAF News Releases



Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or

(Washington, D.C. – SEPTEMBER 18, 2006) Primo Carnera, the only Italian-born heavyweight boxing champion, would have celebrated his 100th birthday on October 25, 2006. To commemorate his memory and life, a series of events and activities are scheduled throughout the United States and Italy.

On October 21 in Washington, D.C., during the National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) 31st Anniversary Awards Gala, a special tribute to the late “Gentle Giant” will be held. Special exhibits have opened in Milan and Rome showcasing Carnera’s life and boxing career. The exhibits will move to the U.S. with venues in New York and Miami. The History Channel Italy has recently completed a 50-minute documentary about Carnera. Armani Wines will issue a commemorative wine, “riserva Primo Carnera,” which will be sold in the U.S. and Italy. Production of a film about Carnera’s life starring Paul Sorvino, Chazz Palminteri and Roberto Benigni is scheduled for release on Columbus Day 2007 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Province of Pordenone has officially highlighted Primo Carnera. Their slogan is "Benvenuti a Prodenone- prima, come Carnera," “Welcome to Pordenone - first like Carnera.”

“Primo Carnera is a source of pride for all Americans,” said Arthur J. Furia, Esq., founding member and chairman emeritus of the Primo Carnera Foundation and NIAF regional vice president for the Southeast.” “My favorite story is how he transcended World War II as both Mussolini and then General Eisenhower (after the Allies reclaimed Northern Italy) came to his home in Sequals to demonstrate the strength of the Italian spirit and pay him honor,” Furia added.

His daughter, Giovanna M. Carnera, executive director of the Primo Carnera Foundation, said, “My father’s profound love was for underprivileged children and would support them anonymously. My brother, Umberto and I formed the foundation to carry out our father’s dream.”

For more information regarding events planned in Italy for the Centenary, visit To learn more about the work of the Primo Carnera Foundation, visit

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