New Jersey – Kenny Bogner, a.k.a. Kenny “Bang Bang” Bogner unexpectedly passed away on Tuesday, February 14, 2023, according to his wife of 12 and a half years Mary E. Gaffney. Mary took to social media to announce the passing of Kenny Bang Bang on Tuesday. She wrote, “It is with a very heavy heart that I have to announce that my beloved boyfriend/common law husband of 12 1/2 years Kenny Bang Bang Bogner has passed away! He was 62 years old! What am I going to do without him! RIP My sweet love!” The cause of death has not been made known to the general public.
Who was Kenny Bogner?
Kenny “Bang Bang” Bogner was born and brought up in Trenton, New Jersey. He went to Trenton Central High School and also studied at Mercer County Community College, a public, community college in Mercer County, New Jersey. More than 7,000 students enroll in one or more credit courses each year. Established in 1966, MCCC has an open-door admission policy.
Kenny Bogner Career
For those of you who were boxing fans in the early 1980s, Kenny “Bang Bang” Bogner will come to mind. He was a fan favorite and a contender in the Lightweight class at the time thanks to his wild swinging style. In Trenton, New Jersey, on January 9, 1961, Kenny Bogner was born. He overcame a serious ankle injury as a teenager to excel as an amateur. The Silver Medal he received as a Featherweight in the 1977 Maccabiah Games was the pinnacle of his amateur career.
At the youthful age of 19, Kenny made his professional debut in 1980 by knocking out Robert Johnson in the second round. Bogner eventually won his first three matches via submission. On July 6, 1980, unimpressive Jose Ortiz held Kenny to a four-round draw in his fourth professional contest. Only one week later, Bogner got his comeuppance and defeated Ortiz by decision.
After securing three more victories, Kenny met Robert Rucker, who had never lost. Bogner won with a decisive first-round knockout. By June 1981, Kenny had an 11-0-1 record with seven knockouts.
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The following opponent was future Lightweight champion Livingstone Bramble, a fellow potential. Bramble also entered the fight unbeaten, holding a 5-0-1, 4 KO record. Kenny fought through seven rounds despite battling a fractured nose. Bogner won seven straight matches after suffering his first professional loss. In June 1982, he defeated Arthur “Kato” Wilson through decision, earning him ESPN’s Fight of the Year honors. When Gonzalo Montellano, a seasoned Lightweight contender, accepted Kenny’s challenge in November 1982, Kenny significantly increased the level of competition. With 37 previous victories under his belt, Montellano had a significant advantage in experience.
However, it was Bogner who prevailed, winning a 10 round decision. Kenny “Bang Bang” Bogner had proven he was for real. By now he had a huge fan following and had vaulted into the top 10 of Ring Magazine’s rankings at Lightweight. Next on the agenda for Bogner would be a title opportunity against WBA Lightweight champion Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini. At least, that’s what we all thought at the time.
Mancini and Bogner were scheduled to face off on May 27, 1983, as part of a controversial championship card to take place in Sun City, South Africa. Mancini-Bogner was the co-main event along with Roberto Duran challenging Davey Moore for the WBA JR Middleweight championship. Frank Sinatra would also be performing a brief concert as part of the festivities. Many in the boxing world protested the venue given South Africa’s apartheid policies. That said, the Mancini-Bogner matchup itself was highly anticipated. Mancini was also a crowd-pleasing slugger who routinely fought wars. Mayhem was sure to ensue once these two men stepped into the ring together.
Sadly, it was not meant to be. Mancini fractured his collarbone during practice, forcing the cancellation of the fight. The Duran-Moore fight was moved to Madison Square Garden in June, where Roberto revived his career by stopping Moore in the eighth round. After eventually recovering from his wounds, Mancini went on to defeat mandatory challenger Orlando Romero in September. Bogner was the odd man out, feeling let down. He was forced to compete against journeyman Trevor Evelyn, whom he defeated in July 1983 by unanimous decision. Bogner defeated Edwin Curet by technical decision in the ninth round in January 1984. He was incapacitated for several months after the incident because he smashed his nose.
When Ray Mancini’s fight with him was rescheduled into September, opportunity struck once more. Ray was recovering from his shocking Knockout loss to Livingstone Bramble in the fourteenth round. Unfortunately, the fight was postponed once more. Moreover, Hector Camacho allegedly canceled a matchup with Bogner, leaving Kenny angry and disappointed. Bogner’s career took a turn for the worse once he encountered legal issues. He didn’t do anything between 1985 and 1986. Bogner wouldn’t enter the ring again until July 1987, when he did so to take on the unproven Remo Carlo. The old magic had vanished after spending more than three years away from the ring.
Kenny lost by the 6th round TKO. Afterward, it was close to two years before he would step into a boxing ring again when he knocked out Jose Maldonado in the first round in June 1989. Bogner would disappear from the boxing scene again before returning in 1993 to defeat Edwin Ruiz and Tim Tipton. His first-round TKO victory over Tipton would be the final fight of his career.
Kenny finished his career with a 25-2-1 record and 16 knockouts. Some experts think he would have won the world title if it weren’t for his legal issues. Bogner committed very small offenses, yet they happened frequently and seriously enough to derail a promising career. It’s possible that Kenny Bogner won’t leave behind a world title in the fight game. Yet he always gave everything he had in the ring and offered the fans of the day a lot of enthusiasm. Without a doubt, he would be a world champion in the boxing of today.