Fritzie Zivic (May 8, 1913, Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — May 16, 1984), born as Ferdinand Henry John Zivcich (Croatian: Živčić, known to boxing fans as Fritzie Zivic, “The Croat Comet”), was an American boxer.
Zivic became the best known when on October 4, 1940 he battered Henry “Hammering Hank” Armstrong at Madison Square Garden, taking the world welterweight title. He was a 4-to-1 underdog going into the fight. Fritzie held the title for the next eight months, when he lost a fight with Red Cochran after 15 rounds, on July 29, 1941 in Newark, NJ.
According to Zivic's own account, the first bout with Armstrong was very dirty. Armstrong started out fighting that way: "Henry's givin' me the elbows and the shoulders and the top of the head, and I can give that stuff back pretty good, but I don't dare to or maybe they'll throw me out of the ring. By the seventh round, Zivic had had enough, and began responding in kind. The referee (still according to Zivic), then told the fighers, If you want to fight that way, it's okay with me. Armstrong had built up a good lead, but Zivic went to work, cutting both of Armstrong's eyes and opening a gash on his mouth. Zivic said "pardon me" several times while fouling his opponent. In the fifteenth and final round, Zivic hit Armstrong with a left hook-right cross combination. Armstrong went down as the bell ended the fight. Zivic won a unanimous decision.
He never challenged for a world title again, but from 1941 to 1946, he fought Sugar Ray Robinson, Lew Jenkins, Jake LaMotta, Beau Jack, Bob Montgomery, Tommy Bell, Billy Arnold and Freddie Archer. In all, he met seven future Hall of Famers and nine world champions. His career record with 158-64-9, with 80 knock outs.
Although his fighting tactics were very dirty (thumbing the opponents in the eye or punching in banned areas), he was also known for always apologizing for that to his opponent. "He had a body like a wire, a mind like a chess player, a quick wit and a splendid smile.
After ending his career, he had his own boxing school, and he became a boilermaker.