1987 Greater Flint Afro-American Hall of Fame Inductee
Category: MULTIPLE SPORTS
Parents: Will & Neccie
Bennie McCombs was one of Flint’s best amateur fighters and certainly one of the hardest punchers in the history of the Flint Golden Gloves. At the age of 16, Bennie started his quest for boxing stardom. Along with his love for boxing, he enjoyed swimming, fishing, softball and reading.
In 1938, Bennie entered the Golden Gloves Tournament, where he took his lumps like most beginners. After those lumps it did not take him long to master the art of boxing. He was a terrific puncher, but needed to learn the techniques of boxing and the importance of training to stay in top physical condition.
Under the masterful eye of trainer Clare James of Oden Post Bennie quickly developed as a boxer. During his amateur fighting career in Flint and Michigan boxing tournaments he won eight championships. In 1941 he won the Flint and State Middleweight Golden Gloves Championships, and in 1942 he was the Michigan Light Heavyweight Champion. In 1942, he was also rated the best fighter in the Midwest.
Again in 1942, he was the first Flint Golden Glover to win the Chicago Tournament of Champions and the first and only Flint Golden Gloves Champion to win a National Golden Gloves championship as a middleweight.
When McCombs turned professional he had a hard time getting fights because he was so good and because he was left handed. Thanks to his punching prowess he was able to establish a new professional knockdown record. In Erie, Pennsylvania, in 1947 he recorded 16 knockdown in a 10-round fight.
McCombs was a softball pitcher in Flint for the Yellow Dogs, Elder’s Market and many other teams throughout the longest softball pitching career in Flint. He pitched from 1938 until 1980, and received a Fast pitch Softball Award in 1986.