1932-07-04 Marcel Thil w pts 15 Len Harvey, White City Stadium, Shepherds Bush, London, England - NBA/IBU

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1932-07-04 Marcel Thil w pts 15 Len Harvey, White City Stadium, Shepherds Bush, London, England - NBA/IBU. Referee: F. Deveraz. Having been outpointed over 15 rounds by Harvey more than four years earlier, Thil was seen by the British camp as just another hurdle on the way to the world title, but the man of granite had not read the script, fighting non-stop to earn the referee’s decision. Harvey (158¾), cut over the right eye in the seventh, appeared to have everything in his favour - speed of mind, fast hands and power in the right mitt - but after the third round, having made a confident start, he gave up on his advantages when allowing Thil (159¼) to take control on the inside. Those who knew Harvey well could not understand why he failed to overcome the tough champion, whose main asset was to fight on until he dropped, but beaten he was and decisively at that.

Dissatisfied that the title had left America, and more than a year after Mickey Walker had handed back his belt, in September the NYSAC named Ben Jeby, Paul Pirrone, Chick Devlin and Frank Battaglia as the men who would fight it out to decide their version of the championship. Following the announcement, The Ring magazine spoke up on behalf of Dave Shade, who had been ignored yet again. They also went on to voice their concerns over the NYSAC’s actions when there was already a world champion in Thil.

Regardless, the two semi-final legs went ahead at Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York on 13 October, Jeby knocking out Pirrone inside six rounds and Battaglia and Devlin drawing over ten rounds. Battaglia, who was reckoned by most good judges to have won handily, withdrew from the competition over terms for a return match with Devlin. Meantime, a contest was set up at the St Nicholas Arena, Manhattan between Jeby and Devlin, which was reported by many papers as carrying NYSAC championship recognition. The fight went ahead on 21 November, Jeby outpointing Devlin over 15 rounds, but following that it was announced that Battaglia would be meeting Devlin for the right to meet Jeby to decide the vacant NYSAC version of the title. It now appears certain that the Jeby v Devlin contest went ahead without full NYSAC recognition being granted, despite the advertisements, and after Battaglia outpointed Devlin over ten rounds on 9 December at Madison Square Garden he was booked to meet Jeby to decide the title.

Meanwhile, in a catchweight contest, Thil lost a 12-round points decision to Kid Tunero at the Sports Palace, Paris, France on 16 January 1933. It is interesting to note that in order to safeguard Thil at all costs, when Tunero scaled inside 160lbs he was sent away to have a meal and to come back in excess of that weight.

Two weeks later, on 30 January 1933, at the Public Hall, Cleveland, Ohio, the NBA matched Gorilla Jones with Sammy Slaughter for the American title, the former winning by a seventh-round kayo. Although The Ring magazine and certain record books reported this fight as being for the NBA version of the world title, the Association was adamant in stating that Jones was only the American champion and that they still recognised Thil as being the world champion.

However, having not defended the NBA version of the title for almost a year, Thil was ordered to make a match by 15 August 1933 or risk losing the championship. When this was not forthcoming he was stripped, an action that was confirmed when the NBA announced on 18 September 1933 that they would be recognising Lou Brouillard as champion, thus falling in line with the NYSAC.