Primo Carnera was born in Sequals, Italy on October 26, 1906. With experience as a circus strongman, Carnera moved to Paris to begin his professional boxing career in 1928. Arriving in the United States two years later, he defeated most of his opponents with successive knockouts. Unbeknownst to Carnera, many of these victories were rigged by Carnera’s manager and organized crime figures. In 1933, however, Carnera proved the true nature of his talent. Weighing 260 pounds, he became the heaviest world champion when he defeated Jack Sharkey in six rounds. Carnera returned to Italy, where he continued his career.
During World War II, the Italian fascist regime used Carnera, still desperate for money, as a propaganda tool in films and exhibition matches. After the war, Carnera returned to the United States to pursue wrestling and various film roles. During his boxing career, which stretched from 1928 to 1946, Carnera won 88 of 103 bouts. He passed away in Italy in 1967.