Marcel Thil

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Name: Marcel Thil
Hometown: Cannes, Alpes-Maritimes, France
Birthplace: Saint-Dizier, Haute-Marne, France
Died: 1968-08-14 (Age:64)
Height: 173cm
Reach: 174cm
Referee: Record
Pro Boxer: Record
Amateur Boxer: Record


Marcel Thil was born in Saint-Dizier, a commune in the Haute-Marne department in north-eastern France. He started boxing at a very young age and turned professional at the age of 16. Thil was a journeyman boxer for a number of years but as he gained experience and matured to full adult strength, he developed power in both hands and began to win regularly by knockout.

Thil won the French middleweight boxing championship in 1928 and captured the Europe title the following year. After losing his European championship in 1930, Thil won his next 15 fights and then defeated Gorilla Jones by a controversial 11th-round disqualification to capture the National Boxing Association (NBA) world middleweight championship and the vacant International Boxing Union (IBU) world middleweight championship on June 11, 1932 in Paris, France. With his championship victory, Thil became the toast of Paris. He was a major celebrity and a good friend of celebrated actor Jean Gabin.

Thil successfully defended the title on July 4, 1932 with a 15-round unanimous decision against Len Harvey, but he then went more than a year without defending the title. Thil was stripped by the NBA for failing to make a title defense by August 15, 1933, but he remained the IBU champion.

In addition to defending the IBU middleweight championship, Thil moved up a weight class to win the European light-heavyweight title in 1934. He would successfully defend the title once.

In 1935, Thil lived in the Soviet Union and trained the Soviet Union national boxing team. Among his boxers were the legendary heavyweights Victor Stepanov and Victor Mihailov. (Source: Norwegian newspaper Arbeiderbladet 1935).

After successfully defending the IBU middleweight championship 11 times, Thil fought Fred Apostoli in a non-title bout on September 23, 1937 in New York City. Apostoli won by a 10th-round technical knockout. The fight was stopped due to a severe cut over the right eye of Thil, who was ahead on points at the time of the stoppage. Shortly after the loss, the 33-year-old Thil retired from boxing.

Thil remained active in boxing circles as an adviser and cornerman and was named honorary president of the Dieppe Boxing Club. He made a living with a company in Reims until retiring to a home in Cannes on the French Riviera.

Thil died at his home in Cannes on August 14, 1968 at the age of 64. Over the last couple years of his life, he was involved in two car accidents, from which he never fully recovered. Thil is buried in the Grand Jas Cemetery.

Thil was posthumously inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2005. In France, a street was named in his honor in his birthplace of Saint-Dizier, and both a street and a sports stadium carry his name in the city of Reims.