Billy Petrolle

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Petrolle.Billy.1927.jpg
Class of 2000
Old Timer Category
Hall of Fame bio:click
World Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee

Name: Billy Petrolle
Alias: The Fargo Express
Birth Name: William Michael Petrolle
Born: 1905-01-10
Birthplace: Berwick, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: 1983-05-14 (Age:78)
Hometown: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 5′ 7″   /   170cm
Reach: 70″   /   178cm
Boxing Record: click

Manager: Jack Hurley
Photo #2; Photo #3; Photo #4, Photo #5


Billy Petrolle was the brother of fellow boxers Pete Petrolle and Frank Petrolle. The family was from Schenectady, New York.

It had been reported that Petrolle had fought some 255 career bouts. (He had at least one early bout under the name of "Wolf Larson" (Aug. 4, 1923), according to the Spokane Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA, USA) newspaper, Aug. 14, 1923, p. 15.)

Petrolle graced the covers of The Ring Magazine in May 1927, March 1931, and May 1932. An article on him appeared in the July 2008 issue.

Petrolle (pronounced Pet-troll; others say Pet-TROL-Lee) was born in Pennsylvania, but later moved to Dilworth, Minnesota where he resided, yet fought mostly out of the much larger neighboring city of Fargo, North Dakota where his early career began with manager, Jack Hurley and Hurley's stable of fighters. The stable was briefly moved to Sioux City, Iowa in 1924, but while fighting in Duluth, Minnesota that same year, Petrolle fell in love with the city and found his future wife there as well. He moved there in late 1924 and resided there the rest of his life. Though his early nickname of the "Fargo Express" forever remained with him, the fact is that he never lived in North Dakota at all. In an article in the Duluth Tribune, Billy said, "I was always called the Fargo Express, but I only fought in that area for a couple of years. I met my wife in Duluth after a fight there in 1924 and moved there and remained there for the rest of my career." As Hurley's biggest draw, Hurley followed Billy to Duluth, as did Charley Retzlaff, where Hurley also managed the career of Duluth's Angelo Puglisi.

Petrolle retired during the Great Depression after making some $200,000 in ring earnings, and owning an iron foundry in Duluth, Minnesota. He later owned a religious goods and gift shop in Duluth, and was the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Pioneer National Bank.

He is a 2013 inductee into the Minnesota Boxing Hall of Fame.