Angelo Poffo

A champion wrestler and fitness expert that broke the Naval sit-ups record.

Angelo Poffo was born on April 10, 1925 in Chicago. Poffo’s parents immigrated to the US from Italy, and he did not learn to speak English until first grade. He graduated from Downers Grove High School in 1943.

Poffo enlisted in the Navy during World War II, where he developed an intense fitness regimen. He soon set his sights on the Naval record for most sit-ups performed consecutively. On his first attempt, he performed enough sit-ups to break the record, but was told that he had used the wrong sit-up style. He made a second attempt on July 4, 1945, at the Naval Destroyer Base in San Diego, California. Using official Naval sit-up form, he executed 6,033 sit-ups in 4 hours, 10 minutes, shattering the old mark by a wide margin. This amazing feat was later featured on Ripley’s “Believe It Or Not!”

Poffo first displayed his wrestling skills by winning the YMCA Wrestling Championship with Duncan YMCA. He became a professional wrestler in 1950 and quickly became one of the most successful wrestlers in DuPont Network’s Wrestling. The highlight of his career came in 1953, when he defeated Wilbur Snyder to capture the United States Championship. For the next six years, Angelo was a major figure in the golden era of wrestling.

Poffo was inducted into the National Italian Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. He is the father of fellow 2003 inductee Randy “Macho Man” Savage.