1937-02-15 Marcel Thil w disq 6 (15) Lou Brouillard, Sports Palace, Paris, France - IBU

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1937-02-15 Marcel Thil w disq 6 (15) Lou Brouillard, Sports Palace, Paris, France - IBU. Referee: M. Falony. Outclassed from the start, Brouillard (157¼), fighting back wildly at times, was cautioned for butting in the third and fifth rounds and, in the sixth, when he was under severe pressure from Thil (159) he was warned again. It was at this point that Thil was struck by what seemed a low blow and the southpaw challenger was immediately disqualified.

Thil announced his retirement from the ring a few days later having seen the film of the fight, which proved conclusively that the punch that did the damage was above the waistline and did not merit a disqualification. However, due to his manager talking him round, Thil’s decision was never made official and he continued to be recognised as the champion by the IBU, who, in May, named Kid Tunero as his outstanding challenger and gave Thil until 21 October to sign for the fight.

Apparently disinterested, Thil took on the American, Fred Apostoli at the Polo Grounds, Manhattan, NYC, New York, on 23 September, being stopped in the tenth round of a 15 rounder. Prior to the fight, in order to protect Freddie Steele, whom the NYSAC recognised as champion, the two men were asked to sign an agreement that the fight would not involve the world title, despite the fact that it was contested under championship conditions.

Although the French Boxing Federation continued to recognise Thil as the world champion until he retired on 17 February 1938, it is quite clear that the IBU did not recognise Apostoli v Thil as being representative of their championship and after deposing Thil on 21 October they looked to set up a competition to find a new champion, receiving enquiries from Tunero, Edouard Tenet, Jupp Besselmann, Angel Fajado Clivilles and Adrien Anneet. This, despite Nat Fleischer, writing in The Ring magazine, stating that the IBU had selected Mickey Walker as their champion almost two years after he had retired from the ring.

Ultimately, the IBU ignored the idea of a competition and agreed to a fight between Besselmann, who was already contracted to meet Gustave Roth for the European light heavyweight title on 21 January 1938, and Tenet that would decide both the European and world titles. Following Apostoli's victory over Thil, the NYSAC were anxious for him and Steele to get together and called for a meeting, which, albeit above the weight class, took place at Madison Square Garden, Manhattan on 7 January 1938, Apostoli winning by a ninth-round kayo. However, Steele continued to avoid his number-one challenger and signed to meet Carmen Barth instead.

Meanwhile, Apostoli (160¼lbs) next took on Young Corbett 111 (159½lbs) in a catchweight contest at the Seals Stadium, San Francisco, California on 22 February 1938, losing on points over ten rounds. Following this result, Corbett 111 (157lbs), who was proclaimed world champion by the Californian State Boxing Commission on 25 April 1938, outpointed the 149lbs Jackie Burke over 10 rounds at The Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah on 25 May 1938. But, outside of California, it mattered little as to whether either man was inside 160lbs or not. Not remaining idle, Apostoli (160¾) next outpointed Glen Lee in a 15-round rounder at Madison Square Garden on 1 April 1938, while awaiting a crack at Steele.