In this first entry of the Monogram features based on the comic-strip character created by Ham Fisher (while not the first use of the character on the screen), fight manager and promoter Knobby Walsh trains Al Costa to fight for the heavyweight championship, but gangster Florini, with the help of his henchmen, Lefty and Curly, takes the budding champion away from him. Knobby begins the search for a new fighter by taking four fighters and handler Smoky on a tour of tank towns. He finds Joe Palooka, a natural boxer, in a small town. Anne Howe, a society girl passing through town, helps persuade the shy-and-gentle farm boy to sign a contract with Knobby. Joe wins a string of sensational matches and, while training for the championship match with the recently-crowned champion Costa, Anne invites him to a party where her snobby society friend Ronnie Brewster makes a fool of Joe. The latter's training suffers as a result of this and estrangements from Knobby and Anne, but he rebuffs the efforts of Florini to get him to throw the fight.