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The provenance of legends is in the building

Stallone’s personal belongings acquired by karate school

From the Rocky Run to the Rocky Statue, Philly has a sweet spot for the big screen pugilist.


Among his fans include the martial artists at Action Karate, who acquired several pieces of memorabilia from Sylvester Stallone’s estate through the prestigious auction house, Julien’s Auctions, based in Los Angeles.

Action Karate Mt. Airy successfully bid on four items:

  • Two large foam boards announcing the opening of Rocky Balboa Dec. 20 (the 6th movie of the series)

  • A tall boy director’s chair with Sylvester Stallone’s chairback that says Creed.

  • A framed photo of Sylvester Stallone hitting a speedbag alongside his Creed co-star (and Black Panther actor) Michael B. Jordan

  • A Sylvester Stallone-signed boxing glove with historical relevance.

All of the items are on display at Action Karate at 11 West Mt. Airy Ave. They were part of an auction held at Julien’s Auctions that allowed both live in-person and online bids. Other items went for big money: Stallone’s trademark flag shorts from Apollo Creed and Rambo knife each went for over $100,000.

But to Action Karate Mt. Airy owner Rochelle Brenner, each more affordable item she obtained will help to add the Rocky vibe to the martial arts school – for grit, underdogs and champs who eat lightning and crap thunder. Brenner said each item feels like a museum piece and a piece of motivation from her own past boxing experiences.

“The Rocky Balboa ad is really meaningful to me,” said Rochelle Brenner, a former National Golden Gloves champion. “I saw that with my boxing team the day it came out and since then my coach died and it was one of my favorite memories of us having fun outside the gym.”


A photograph of Stallone hitting a speedbag alongside Jordan.

“This one is stunning because Jordan is a superstar in his own right, for his appearances in Creed and Black Panther – another movie with superior martial arts moves. It’s a great action shot,” Brenner said.

The “tallboy” director’s chair with the moniker “Creed” used by Sylvester Stallone on set. This one is extra meaningful for Tariq Boston, the school’s program director and part-time actor.

“Having a signature piece of a film set is really motivating to maximize my martial abilities with my acting,” said Tariq Boston.

An oversized boxing glove signed by Sylvester Stallone and embossed with the words “Jack Johnson Pardon.”

This glove commemorates a meaningful moment in political, civil rights and boxing history. Jack Johnson was the world’s first black heavyweight champion. He is an all-time great and part of the inaugural class into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, his career was interrupted by an arrest for transporting a white woman across state lines. That arrest haunted his career and stayed on his record until his death. In 2018, the White House issued a posthumous pardon for Johnson. It was a rare move - only 9 people have been pardoned after death. Sylvester Stallone had lobbied for the pardon and signed this ceremonial glove “Keep Punchin’” at the event in Washington, D.C. James Earl Jones played Johnson in “The Great White Hope.”

Julien’s Auctions shipped the items from Beverly Hills and they are now on display, giving students motivation and the spirit of Rocky – the people’s champ.

“Hopefully all of our students are inspired by these larger-than-life characters and train a little harder inspired by the greats. Hopefully they also learn a little bit about sports history as well,” Brenner said.


Brenner also has on display an autographed picture of Muhammad Ali signed “To Shelley” in 1973. It was a gift from the family of Shelley Barton upon his death. Another relic is boxing gloves signed by Cam F. Awesome, who won more matches than any boxer in recorded history. He is now a motivational speaker and visited Action Karate Mt. Airy in early 2020. Brenner and Awesome were two of the athletes representing Florida at the U.S. Nationals in Colorado Springs in 2008. Awesome went on to a storied amateur boxing career and appearances in several films as a vegan athlete.

“I have pictures of our actual students on our walls and also genuine prized items. I want our students to know that they are among the greats.”

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