A native Houstonian, Mark Tessman was a graduate of Smiley High School and The University of Houston. After being bullied in school, Mark’s father Paul began teaching him the sweet science, and after a few amateur matches, took him to The Variety Boys Club in Houston’s East End, where they met coach Charlie Court. Mark began training at the Variety Boys Club under Coach Court and he soon began to become a very successful amateur boxer winning many bouts and tournaments, including:
Houston Golden Gloves
120 pound Junior Champion 1961
Welterweight Novice Champion 1962
Light Heavyweight Open Champion 1964, 1965, and 1966.
Mark was also a two-time Texas State Golden Gloves Champion.
Charlie Court, always looking out for his boxer’s best interest, then suggested Mark begin training at Hugh Benbow’s A&B Gym, where he could get sparring with professional boxers as he began preparing himself for a professional career. Mark would ultimately turn pro and he achieved a professional career record of 44 wins and 4 loses, his professional career highlight being a losing attempt at The World Light-Heavyweight Title against Bob Foster. Mark was said to be putting on an excellent boxing display that night, before getting caught with a hard punch and losing by knockout.
Mark would briefly retire before making a ring return with mixed results, as he seemed to change his smooth, technical boxing style into more of a boxer-puncher style, which led to him getting hit more than he did before the style change. After Mark lost a particularly bad decision which he should have won, Charlie Court then asked Mark to retire, not wanting to see Mark being used as an “opponent” to build other fighter’s records. Charlie Court felt soo strongly about his suggestion that he told Mark that if he agreed to retire, that Charlie would do the same. They both agreed and shook hands on the agreement, neither ever returning to boxing. Mark was just 26 years old and Charlie only 38 years old.