A prep school baseball teammate of Babe Ruth, Christner came to Akron first as a catcher for Goodyear’s industrial team. He was taught football line play by Goodyear athletic director Ed “Chief” Conner after being recruited by the deaf-mute Goodyear Silents with whom he spent two seasons. He switched allegiance to Firestone where Paul Sheeks resurrected him from the pits and turned him into a heavyweight boxing headliner. Christner won 150 of 180 professional bouts. One of his defeats was at the hands of Jack Sharkey in a 1932 title bout.