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Yvon Durelle

Yvon DurelleDescription : Yvon Durelle (October 14, 1929 – January 6, 2007), born in Baie-Ste-Anne, New Brunswick, Canada, was an Acadian Canadian champion boxer.From a family of fourteen children, Yvon Durelle grew up in Baie-Ste-Anne, a small Acadian fishing village on the Atlantic coast. Like many others of his generation, he left school at an early age to work on a fishing boat. In his spare time, Durelle liked to box and while still working in the fishery, he began prize fighting on weekends. Dubbed as the Fighti... Page:y1

Yvon Durelle
Yvon Durelle.jpg
Real nameYvon Durelle
Nickname(s)The Fighting Fisherman
Rated atMiddleweight
Light Heavyweight
Height5 ft 9 2 in (1.77 m)
Reach70 in (178 cm)
Born(1929-10-14)October 14, 1929
Baie-Sainte-Anne, New Brunswick, Canada
DiedJanuary 6, 2007(2007-01-06) (aged 77)
Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
Boxing record
Total fights115
Wins by KO49
No contests1

Yvon Durelle (October 14, 1929 – January 6, 2007), born in Baie-Ste-Anne, New Brunswick, Canada, was an Acadian Canadian champion boxer.


Early life and career

From a family of fourteen children, Yvon Durelle grew up in Baie-Ste-Anne, a small Acadian fishing village on the Atlantic coast. Like many others of his generation, he left school at an early age to work on a fishing boat. In his spare time, Durelle liked to box and while still working in the fishery, he began prize fighting on weekends. Dubbed as the Fighting Fisherman, he began his professional career in 1948, boxing at various venues around the province of New Brunswick. Over time he gained a reputation as a tough opponent with a hard punch and his victories eventually made him one of the top ranked middleweight fighters in Canada.

Championship years

In May 1953, Durelle won the Canadian middleweight championship then, after defending his title and winning 8 straight bouts, he moved up in weight class to fight in the light heavyweight division where in his first fight against a heavier and stronger opponent, he defeated the Canadian champion to take the light-heavyweight title. The following year, he fought outside his native Canada for the first time, going to Brooklyn, New York to fight Floyd Patterson, an up-and-coming American Golden Gloves champion. Outpointed in 8 rounds by the man who would soon become the heavyweight champion of the world, Durelle's strong performance in a losing cause against Patterson gained him wide respect in the international boxing world.

In New York City in March 1957, Durelle broke into the top ten world rankings with a 10-round decision over Angelo Defendis. In May he won the British Empire light-heavyweight championship and the following month fought the top-ranked contender in the world, Tony Anthony. In a fight most experts say he won handily, Durelle was given only a draw against the heavily favored Anthony but it elevated him to the number 3 ranking in the world. He became a much talked about sports personality in his native country after he beat the German champion, Willi Besmanoff. In 1958, he defeated Clarence Hinnant, regarded by many as one of the best all around boxers of the time. The victory provided Durelle with the opportunity for his first chance to fight for a world title.

Yvon Durelle's light-heavyweight championship fight against the great Archie Moore on December 10, 1958 at the Forum in Montreal, Quebec, is one of the most memorable fights in boxing history. Listed as a 4-to-1 underdog, the bout made Yvon Durelle a legend in Canada, gaining him near cult status for his performance. In one of the first fights broadcast coast-to-coast on American television, Durelle stunned boxing patrons by knocking the champion down 3 times in the first round. Under boxing rules today (except those of the World Boxing Council), the fight would have been stopped after three knockdowns in one round and Yvon Durelle would have been world champion. Also, he missed an opportunity when, after the first knockdown, he stood over Moore watching for several seconds before returning to his corner. As a result of his delay, the referee had to wait to begin the count, and Moore made it to his feet at the count of nine. Durelle swarmed all over the champion for four more rounds and knocked him to the canvas again in round five but Moore held on and eventually wore Durelle down to retain his world championship with an eleventh round knockout. The fight was the talk of the boxing world and members of the Canadian press voted it the sporting event of the year.

From boxing to wrestling

Six months later, in June 1959, at Durelle's home village of Baie-Ste-Anne, thirty-five fishermen died when they were swept out to sea by 40-foot tidal waves that pounded the wharf. Distraught at the loss of friends and relatives, in August he lost in a world title fight rematch with Archie Moore by a third round knockout. In November of that year he lost in 12 rounds to the Canadian heavyweight champion, George Chuvalo. Durelle fought only a few more times, before taking up professional wrestling in 1961. He returned to boxing in 1963 winning twice more before retiring permanently. He continued to earn a living at wrestling, primarily in eastern Canada but on occasion with Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling, in Calgary, Alberta.

Later life and death

Despite his size and brutal profession, Durelle is often referred to as a modest and gentle man (his nickname was "doux", meaning "soft"). However, in the 1970s an event would profoundly impact him and his family when, in a bar that he owned and operated, he shot and killed a man who had attacked him. Charged with murder, he was defended by a young lawyer by the name of Frank McKenna and was acquitted on the grounds of self-defence. The trial received massive and sustained publicity and McKenna would eventually go into politics and be elected Premier of the province of New Brunswick.

Retired in his native village, a small museum with souvenirs of his twenty-year boxing career was built attached to his home where he and his wife of more than fifty years greeted fans who still showed up to see the New Brunswick boxer. In an article for ESPN.com about the most memorable matches in boxing history, current-day referee Mills Lane said: "I don't think you'll ever see a fight like Durelle-Moore again...That fight transcended what great fights are."

Durelle's acclaimed biography, The Fighting Fisherman - The Life of Yvon Durelle, was written by New Brunswick author Raymond Fraser and published by Doubleday in 1981. A French translation, Yvon Durelle - le boxeur qui venait de la mer, was released a year later by Editions Inedi of Montreal. Two further editions of the book have since appeared from Formac Publishing, in 1983 and 2005.

Durelle incurred a stroke on December 25, 2006, and died at age 77 on January 6, 2007, at the Moncton Hospital in Moncton, New Brunswick. He had also contracted Parkinson's disease prior to this. His funeral was held on January 11, 2007, from Ste-Anne Roman Catholic Church in Baie-Ste-Anne, New Brunswick.

Professional boxing record

87 Wins (48 Knockouts), 24 Losses (9 Knockouts), 2 Draws, 1 No Contest
Loss87-24-2Canada Jean-Claude RoyPTS806/12/1964Canada Montmagny, Quebec
Win87-23-2Canada Phonse LaSagaTKO124/03/1963Canada Trois-Rivieres, Quebec
Win86-23-2Canada Cecil GrayKO725/02/1963Canada Paul Sauve Arena, Montreal, Quebec
Loss85-23-2United States Paul WrightPTS1015/09/1960Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win85-22-2 John ArmstrongKO422/06/1960Canada Woodstock, New Brunswick
Win84-22-2United States Ray BateyDQ915/06/1960Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win83-22-2 Emile DupreTKO326/05/1960United States Brewer, Maine
Loss82-22-2Canada George ChuvaloKO1217/11/1959Canada Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, OntarioCanada Heavyweight Title
Win82-21-2United States Young Beau JackTKO923/10/1959Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win81-21-2United States Charlie JonesUD1028/09/1959Canada Exhibition Grounds, Quebec City, Quebec
Win80-21-2United States Al AndersonKO415/09/1959Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Loss79-21-2United States Archie MooreKO312/08/1959Canada Montreal Forum, Montreal, QuebecNYSAC/NBA World Light Heavyweight Titles.
Win79-20-2United States Teddy BurnsTKO312/05/1959United States General Carter State Armory, Caribou, Maine
Loss78-20-2United States Archie MooreKO1110/12/1958Canada Montreal Forum, Montreal, QuebecWorld Light Heavyweight Title.
Win78-19-2United States Louis JonesKO202/10/1958Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win77-19-2United States Freddie MackPTS1028/08/1958Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win76-19-2South Africa Mike HoltRTD816/07/1958Canada Montreal Forum, Montreal, QuebecCommonwealth Light Heavyweight Title.
Win75-19-2France Germinal BallarinUD1021/05/1958Canada Montreal Forum, Montreal, Quebec
Loss74-19-2United States Tony E. AnthonyTKO714/03/1958United States Madison Square Garden, New York City
Win74-18-2United States Clarence HinnantTKO631/01/1958United States Madison Square Garden, New York City
Win73-18-2United States Jerry LuedeeUD1011/12/1957United States Fort Homer W. Hesterly Armory, Tampa, Florida
Win72-18-2Canada Mario NiniKO422/11/1957Canada Edmunston, New Brunswick
Win71-18-2United States Floyd McCoyKO207/11/1957Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win70-18-2Germany Willi BesmanoffUD1025/09/1957United States Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan
Win69-18-2United States Tim JonesTKO829/08/1957Canada Stadium, Moncton, New Brunswick
Win68-18-2Germany Guenter BalzerTKO815/08/1957Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Draw67-18-2United States Tony E. AnthonyPTS1014/06/1957United States Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan
Win67-18-1Canada Gordon WallaceKO230/05/1957Canada Moncton, New BrunswickCommonwealth/Canada Light Heavyweight Titles.
Win66-18-1United States Leo JohnsonTKO516/05/1957Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win65-18-1United States Angelo DeFendisMD1022/04/1957United States St. Nicholas Arena, New York City
Win64-18-1United States Clarence FloydTKO725/03/1957United States St. Nicholas Arena, New York City
Loss63-18-1United States Clarence HinnantTKO719/02/1957United States Miami Beach Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida
Win63-17-1United States Bobby L. KingKO127/10/1956Canada Fredericton, New Brunswick
Win62-17-1United States Chubby WrightSD1004/10/1956Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win61-17-1United States Gary GarafolaKO120/09/1956Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win60-17-1United States Wilfred PicotTKO406/09/1956Canada Lord Beaverbrook Rink, Saint John, New Brunswick
Win59-17-1United States Alvin WilliamsUD1016/08/1956Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win58-17-1United States Wilfred PicotTKO419/07/1956Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Loss57-17-1United Kingdom Arthur HowardPTS1019/06/1956United Kingdom Clapton Greyhound Track, Clapton, London
Win57-16-1United States Jerome RichardsonPTS1020/05/1956Bermuda Hamilton, Bermuda
Loss56-16-1United States Artie TowneDQ728/11/1955United Kingdom Nottingham Ice Stadium, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire
Loss56-15-1Trinidad and Tobago Yolande PompeyTKO718/10/1955United Kingdom Harringay Arena, Harringay, London
Loss56-14-1United States Jimmy SladeTKO803/09/1955Canada Glace Bay, Nova Scotia
Win56-13-1Canada Billy FifieldKO128/07/1955Canada Moncton, New BrunswickCanada Light Heavyweight Title.
Loss55-13-1United States Floyd PattersonRTD523/06/1955Canada Newcastle, New Brunswick
Win55-12-1Puerto Rico Jimmy J. GarciaTKO816/06/1955Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Loss54-12-1United Kingdom Ron BartonDQ324/05/1955United Kingdom Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London
Loss54-11-1United States Art HenriPTS1210/12/1954Germany Sportpalast, Schoeneberg, Berlin
Loss54-10-1Germany Gerhard HechtUD1012/11/1954Germany Sportpalast, Schoeneberg, Berlin
Win54-9-1Canada Gordon WallaceUD1227/09/1954Canada Glace Bay, Nova ScotiaCanada Light Heavyweight Title.
Win53-9-1United States Bob IslerPTS1025/08/1954Canada Newcastle, New Brunswick
Loss52-9-1United States Paul AndrewsKO526/07/1954United States St. Nicholas Arena, New York City
Win52-8-1Canada Doug HarperUD1207/07/1954Canada Newcastle, New BrunswickCanada Light Heavyweight Title.
Win51-8-1United States Jerome RichardsonSD1023/06/1954Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win50-8-1United States Sampson PowellUD1009/06/1954Canada Newcastle, New Brunswick
Win49-8-1Canada Charley E. ChaseSD1004/06/1954Canada Stadium, Moncton, New Brunswick
Win48-8-1Canada Billy FifieldKO1024/05/1954Canada Glace Bay, Nova Scotia
Loss47-8-1United States Waddell HannaPTS1005/05/1954Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Loss47-7-1United States Floyd PattersonUD815/02/1954United States Boxing From Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York
Draw47-6-1Canada Doug HarperPTS1227/01/1954Canada Victoria Pavilion, Calgary, AlbertaCanada Light Heavyweight Title.
Loss47-6Canada Doug HarperSD1217/11/1953Canada Victoria Pavilion, Calgary, AlbertaCanada Light Heavyweight Title.
Win47-5Canada Gordon WallaceUD1215/10/1953Canada Moncton, New BrunswickCanada Light Heavyweight Title.
Win46-5United States Al WinnUD1030/09/1953Canada Newcastle, New Brunswick
Win45-5Canada Melvin WadeKO924/09/1953Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win44-5Canada Gordon WallaceUD1207/09/1953Canada Glace Bay, Nova ScotiaCanada Light Heavyweight Title.
Win43-5Cuba Wilfredo MiroKO226/08/1953Canada Sinclair Arena, Newcastle, New Brunswick
Win42-5United States Curtis WadeTKO820/08/1953Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win41-5Canada Archie HanniganKO502/08/1953Canada Glace Bay, Nova ScotiaClaim Maritime Light Heavyweight Title.
Win40-5United States Joey GrecoTKO420/07/1953Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win39-5United States Curtis WadeSD1025/06/1953Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win38-5Canada Harry PoultonSD1219/06/1953Canada Memorial Rink, Stellarton, Nova ScotiaCanada Middleweight Title.
Win37-5United States Tony AmatoKO620/05/1953Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win36-5Canada George RossTKO1204/05/1953Canada Glace Bay Forum, Glace Bay, Nova ScotiaCanada Middleweight Title.
Win35-5Canada Jimmy NolanUD1009/10/1952Canada Stampede Corral, Calgary, Alberta
Win34-5United States Hurley SandersUD1024/09/1952Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Loss33-5United States Hurley SandersUD1025/06/1952Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win33-4Canada Eddie ZastreUD1021/05/1952Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win32-4Canada Cobey McCluskeyTKO612/07/1951Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win31-4Canada Arnold FleigerKO220/06/1951Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
NC31-4Canada Cobey McCluskeyNC905/06/1951Canada Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Win30-4United States Bob StecherSD1023/05/1951Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win29-4Canada Tiger WarringtonPTS1010/12/1950Canada Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
Win28-4Canada Alvin UpshawKO705/11/1950Canada Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
Loss27-4Canada Cobey McCluskeyUD1022/10/1950Canada Springhill, Nova Scotia
Win27-3United States Al CoutureTKO625/08/1950Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win26-3Canada Ossie FarrellKO119/08/1950Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Loss25-3Canada Cobey McCluskeyUD1014/08/1950Canada Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Win25-2Canada Tiger WarringtonUD1001/07/1950Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win24-2 Coot O'ReaKO218/06/1950Canada Bathurst, New Brunswick
Win23-2Canada Alvin UpshawTKO723/05/1950Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Loss22-2Canada Roy WoutersPTS1020/01/1950Canada Halifax, Nova Scotia
Win22-1 Eddie HamiltonTKO325/11/1949Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win21-1United States Bob StecherUD1011/11/1949Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win20-1United States Ossie FarrellKO126/10/1949Canada Chatham, New BrunswickEastern Canada Middleweight Title.
Win19-1United States Bernard McCluskeyKO512/10/1949Canada Chatham, New BrunswickEastern Canada Middleweight Title.
Win18-1 Pat DavisKO218/09/1949Canada Newcastle, New Brunswick
Win17-1Canada Bill McLaughlinPTS826/08/1949Canada Fredericton, New Brunswick
Win16-1United States Kid WolfePTS1007/08/1949Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win15-1Canada Billy LandryPTS820/07/1949Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win14-1Canada Cobey McCluskeyPTS815/07/1949Canada Newcastle, New Brunswick
Win13-1Canada Jimmy MooneyUD806/07/1949Canada Chatham, New BrunswickNew Brunswick Middleweight Title.
Win12-1Canada Cobey McCluskeyPTS812/06/1949Canada Baie-Sainte-Anne, New Brunswick
Win11-1 Joe TyneKO130/05/1949Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win10-1 Manuel LeekKO617/05/1949Canada Fredericton, New Brunswick
Win9-1Canada Harry PoultonPTS820/04/1949Canada Newcastle, New Brunswick
Win8-1Canada Harry PoultonPTS623/03/1949Canada Newcastle, New Brunswick
Win7-1Canada Crosley IrvineTKO325/02/1949Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win6-1 Al BattenKO502/02/1949Canada Newcastle, New Brunswick
Loss5-1Canada Billy SnowballDQ407/12/1948Canada Tracadie, New Brunswick
Win5-0 Al BattenPTS803/12/1948Canada Baie-Sainte-Anne, New Brunswick
Win4-0Canada Percy R. RichardsonPTS411/11/1948Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win3-0 Al FraserPTS413/09/1948Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win2-0 Al FraserPTS425/08/1948Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win1-0 Sonny RamsayKO228/07/1948Canada Chatham, New Brunswick

Related works

  • Yvon Durelle's biography, The Fighting Fisherman: The Life of Yvon Durelle by author Raymond Fraser (Doubleday, ISBN 0-385-15863-7), published in 1981, republished in 2005.
  • In 2003, Ginette Pellerin of the National Film Board of Canada made a French film documentary on his life called Durelle.

Awards and recognition

  • Inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame in 1971
  • Inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1975
  • Inducted into the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame in 1989
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