Marcel Thil : biography
Marcel Thil (born 25 May 1904) was a French boxer and world champion. He boxed in the middleweight division.
Born in Saint-Dizier, Haute-Marne in the Champagne-Ardenne Region of France, Thil started boxing at a very young age and turned professional at the age of 16. For a number of years he was a journeyman boxer but as he matured to full adult strength, with training he developed power in both hands that saw him begin to win regularly by knockout (K.O.).
In 1928, Thil won the French middleweight boxing championship and the following year captured the European title. After losing his European championship he came back to capture the International Boxing Union (IBU) world middleweight championship through a controversial 11nth round disqualification in a June 11, 1932 fight held in Paris, France against Gorilla Jones. He became a major celebrity and as a good friend of celebrated actor Jean Gabin, he was the toast of Paris during the next four and a half years when he successfully defended his middleweight title 11 times. In addition, Thil moved up a weight class to win the European light-heavyweight title.
On September 23, 1937 in New York City, Thil ultimately lost the world middleweight title to Fred Apostoli when the fight had to be stopped after he suffered a severe gash over one eye. At this point in his career and at 33 years of age, Thil chose to retire.
Marcel Thil was posthumously inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame at Canastota, New York in the United States. In France, a street was named in his honor in his birthplace of Saint-Dizier and in the city of Reims, both a street and a sports stadium carry his name.
Later life and death
Thil remained active in boxing circles as an advisor and cornerman and was named honorary president of the Dieppe Boxing Club. He made a living with a company in Reims until eventually retiring to a home in Cannes on the French Riviera where in on August 14, 1968 he died after being seriously injured in an automobile accident at age 64. He is buried there in the Grand Jas Cemetery.
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