Yvon Durelle

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

Biography[edit]

Early life and career[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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-defense. 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[edit]

87 Wins (48 knockouts, 39 decisions), 24 Losses (9 knockouts, 15 decisions), 2 Draws, 1 No Contest [1]
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Loss -- Canada Jean-Claude Roy PTS 8 06/12/1964 Canada Montmagny, Quebec
Win 15-4 Canada Phonse LaSaga TKO 1 24/03/1963 Canada Trois-Rivieres, Quebec
Win 9-4-1 Canada Cecil Gray KO 7 25/02/1963 Canada Paul Sauve Arena, Montreal, Quebec Gray knocked out at 2:53 of the seventh round.
Loss 25-5 United States Paul Wright PTS 10 15/09/1960 Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win -- John Armstrong KO 4 22/06/1960 Canada Woodstock, New Brunswick
Win 6-4-4 United States Ray Batey DQ 9 15/06/1960 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win -- Emile Dupre TKO 3 26/05/1960 United States Brewer, Maine
Loss 16-3-1 Canada George Chuvalo KO 12 17/11/1959 Canada Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario Canada Heavyweight Title. Yvon knocked out at 1:01 of the 12th round.
Win 18-6 United States Young Beau Jack TKO 9 23/10/1959 Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win 5-6 United States Charlie Jones UD 10 28/09/1959 Canada Exhibition Grounds, Quebec City, Quebec 47-45, 48-44, 47-46.
Win 6-16-1 United States Al Anderson KO 4 15/09/1959 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick Al knocked out at 2:45 of the fourth round.
Loss 175-21-9 United States Archie Moore KO 3 12/08/1959 Canada Montreal Forum, Montreal, Quebec NYSAC/NBA World Light Heavyweight Titles. Yvon knocked out at 2:52 of the third round.
Win -- United States Teddy Burns TKO 3 12/05/1959 United States General Carter State Armory, Caribou, Maine Referee stopped the bout at 2:16 of the third round.
Loss 173-21-9 United States Archie Moore KO 11 10/12/1958 Canada Montreal Forum, Montreal, Quebec World Light Heavyweight Title. Yvon knocked out at 0:49 of the 11th round.
Win 0-4 United States Louis "Baby" Jones KO 2 02/10/1958 Canada Moncton, New Brunswick Jones knocked out at 2:45 of the second round.
Win 11-9 United States Freddie Mack PTS 10 28/08/1958 Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win 31-6 South Africa Mike Holt RTD 8 16/07/1958 Canada Montreal Forum, Montreal, Quebec Commonwealth Light Heavyweight Title.
Win 45-8-6 France Germinal Ballarin UD 10 21/05/1958 Canada Montreal Forum, Montreal, Quebec 50-41, 48-43, 48-43.
Loss 31-5-1 United States Tony E. Anthony TKO 7 14/03/1958 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City Referee stopped the bout at 0:31 of the seventh round.
Win 40-11-1 United States Clarence Hinnant TKO 6 31/01/1958 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City Referee stopped the bout at 1:46 of the sixth round.
Win 23-6-1 United States Jerry Luedee UD 10 11/12/1957 United States Fort Homer W. Hesterly Armory, Tampa, Florida 96-95, 98-92, 97-95.
Win 1-6 Canada Mario Nini KO 4 22/11/1957 Canada Edmunston, New Brunswick
Win 5-2 United States Floyd McCoy KO 2 07/11/1957 Canada Moncton, New Brunswick McCoy knocked out at 0:40 of the second round.
Win 37-8-7 Germany Willi Besmanoff UD 10 25/09/1957 United States Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan 47-44, 56-45, 38-37.
Win 15-8-4 United States Tim Jones TKO 8 29/08/1957 Canada Stadium, Moncton, New Brunswick Referee stopped the bout at 2:15 of the eighth round.
Win 15-17-10 Germany Guenter Balzer TKO 8 15/08/1957 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick Referee stopped the bout at 0:53 of the eighth round.
Draw 31-4 United States Tony E. Anthony PTS 10 14/06/1957 United States Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan 41-41, 39-43, 40-39.
Win 32-14-1 Canada Gordon Wallace KO 2 30/05/1957 Canada Moncton, New Brunswick Commonwealth/Canada Light Heavyweight Titles. Wallace knocked out at 2:17 of the second round.
Win 13-10-2 United States Leo "Mule" Johnson TKO 5 16/05/1957 Canada Moncton, New Brunswick Referee stopped the bout at 2:05 of the fifth round.
Win 18-2 United States Angelo DeFendis MD 10 22/04/1957 United States St. Nicholas Arena, New York City 5-4, 8-6, 5-5.
Win 7-3 United States Clarence Floyd TKO 7 25/03/1957 United States St. Nicholas Arena, New York City Referee stopped the bout at 1:14 of the seventh round.
Loss 38-10 United States Clarence Hinnant TKO 7 19/02/1957 United States Miami Beach Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida
Win 21-6 United States Bobby L. King KO 1 27/10/1956 Canada Fredericton, New Brunswick King knocked out at 2:50 of the first round.
Win 31-41-5 United States Chubby Wright SD 10 04/10/1956 Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win 15-7-2 United States Gary Garafola KO 1 20/09/1956 Canada Moncton, New Brunswick Garafola knocked out at 2:10 of the first round.
Win 14-2-1 United States Wilfred Picot TKO 4 06/09/1956 Canada Lord Beaverbrook Rink, Saint John, New Brunswick
Win 49-14-6 United States "Chief" Alvin Williams UD 10 16/08/1956 Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win 14-1-1 United States Wilfred Picot TKO 4 19/07/1956 Canada Moncton, New Brunswick Referee stopped the bout at 2:59 of the fourth round.
Loss 27-7-2 United Kingdom Arthur Howard PTS 10 19/06/1956 United Kingdom Clapton Greyhound Track, Clapton, London
Win 13-11-1 United States Jerome Richardson PTS 10 20/05/1956 Bermuda Hamilton, Bermuda
Loss 84-12-1 United States Artie Towne DQ 7 28/11/1955 United Kingdom Nottingham Ice Stadium, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire
Loss 29-2-3 Trinidad and Tobago Yolande Pompey TKO 7 18/10/1955 United Kingdom Harringay Arena, Harringay, London
Loss 29-15-5 United States Jimmy "The Spoiler" Slade TKO 8 03/09/1955 Canada Glace Bay, Nova Scotia
Win 34-12-2 Canada Billy Fifield KO 1 28/07/1955 Canada Moncton, New Brunswick Canada Light Heavyweight Title. Fifield knocked out at 1:10 of the first round.
Loss 21-1 United States Floyd Patterson RTD 5 23/06/1955 Canada Newcastle, New Brunswick
Win 8-13-2 Puerto Rico Jimmy J. Garcia TKO 8 16/06/1955 Canada Moncton, New Brunswick Referee stopped the bout at 2:31 of the eighth round.
Loss 16-0 United Kingdom Ron Barton DQ 3 24/05/1955 United Kingdom Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London
Loss 16-29-2 United States Art Henri PTS 12 10/12/1954 Germany Sportpalast, Schoeneberg, Berlin
Loss 46-5-6 Germany Gerhard Hecht UD 10 12/11/1954 Germany Sportpalast, Schoeneberg, Berlin
Win 26-11-1 Canada Gordon Wallace UD 12 27/09/1954 Canada Glace Bay, Nova Scotia Canada Light Heavyweight Title.
Win 27-26-5 United States Bob Isler PTS 10 25/08/1954 Canada Newcastle, New Brunswick
Loss 25-3 United States Paul Andrews KO 5 26/07/1954 United States St. Nicholas Arena, New York City Yvon knocked out at 1:06 of the fifth round.
Win 27-6-3 Canada Doug Harper UD 12 07/07/1954 Canada Newcastle, New Brunswick Canada Light Heavyweight Title.
Win 11-8-1 United States Jerome Richardson SD 10 23/06/1954 Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win 32-7-1 United States Sampson Powell UD 10 09/06/1954 Canada Newcastle, New Brunswick
Win 4-2-1 Canada Charley E. Chase SD 10 04/06/1954 Canada Stadium, Moncton, New Brunswick
Win 34-11-2 Canada Billy Fifield KO 10 24/05/1954 Canada Glace Bay, Nova Scotia Fifield knocked out at 1:28 of the tenth round.
Loss 25-5-1 United States Waddell Hanna PTS 10 05/05/1954 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Loss 9-0 United States Floyd Patterson UD 8 15/02/1954 United States Boxing From Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York 2-5, 3-5, 3-5.
Draw 25-6-2 Canada Doug Harper PTS 12 27/01/1954 Canada Victoria Pavilion, Calgary, Alberta Canada Light Heavyweight Title. 6-4, 4-5, 4-4.
Loss 24-6-2 Canada Doug Harper SD 12 17/11/1953 Canada Victoria Pavilion, Calgary, Alberta Canada Light Heavyweight Title. 3-5, 3-5, 4-3.
Win 23-6-1 Canada Gordon Wallace UD 12 15/10/1953 Canada Moncton, New Brunswick Canada Light Heavyweight Title.
Win 29-18-1 United States Al Winn UD 10 30/09/1953 Canada Newcastle, New Brunswick
Win 30-10-6 Canada Melvin Wade KO 9 24/09/1953 Canada Moncton, New Brunswick Wade knocked out at 1:08 of the ninth round.
Win 23-5-1 Canada Gordon Wallace UD 12 07/09/1953 Canada Glace Bay, Nova Scotia Canada Light Heavyweight Title.
Win 50-12-4 Cuba Wilfredo Miro KO 2 26/08/1953 Canada Sinclair Arena, Newcastle, New Brunswick Miro knocked out at 2:15 of the second round.
Win 15-8-1 United States Curtis Wade TKO 8 20/08/1953 Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win 4-1-1 Canada Archie Hannigan KO 5 02/08/1953 Canada Glace Bay, Nova Scotia Claim Maritime Light Heavyweight Title. Hannigan knocked out at 1:37 of the fifth round.
Win 14-17-3 United States Joey Greco TKO 4 20/07/1953 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win 15-7-1 United States Curtis Wade SD 10 25/06/1953 Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win 10-6-2 Canada Harry "Kid" Poulton SD 12 19/06/1953 Canada Memorial Rink, Stellarton, Nova Scotia Canada Middleweight Title.
Win 22-18-2 United States Tony Amato KO 6 20/05/1953 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick Amato knocked out at 0:44 of the sixth round.
Win 35-4-1 Canada George "Rockabye" Ross TKO 12 04/05/1953 Canada Glace Bay Forum, Glace Bay, Nova Scotia Canada Middleweight Title. Referee stopped the bout at 1:10 of the 12th round.
Win 32-5-1 Canada Jimmy Nolan UD 10 09/10/1952 Canada Stampede Corral, Calgary, Alberta 7-2, 8-2, 9-0.
Win 28-20-4 United States Hurley Sanders UD 10 24/09/1952 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Loss 27-20-4 United States Hurley Sanders UD 10 25/06/1952 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win 15-7-1 Canada Eddie Zastre UD 10 21/05/1952 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win 10-3-2 Canada Cobey McCluskey TKO 6 12/07/1951 Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win 3-8-1 Canada Arnold Fleiger KO 2 20/06/1951 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick Fleiger knocked out at 2:35 of the second round.
No Contest 10-3-2 Canada Cobey McCluskey NC 9 05/06/1951 Canada Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Win 39-5-1 United States Bob Stecher SD 10 23/05/1951 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win 32-12-1 Canada Tiger Warrington PTS 10 10/12/1950 Canada Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
Win 3-2 Canada Alvin Upshaw KO 7 05/11/1950 Canada Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
Loss 7-3-2 Canada Cobey McCluskey UD 10 22/10/1950 Canada Springhill, Nova Scotia
Win 60-40-14 United States Al Couture TKO 6 25/08/1950 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win 10-2 Canada Ossie Farrell KO 1 19/08/1950 Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Loss 6-3-2 Canada Cobey McCluskey UD 10 14/08/1950 Canada Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Win 31-11-1 Canada Tiger Warrington UD 10 01/07/1950 Canada Moncton, New Brunswick
Win -- Coot O'Rea KO 2 18/06/1950 Canada Bathurst, New Brunswick O'Rea knocked out at 1:10 of the second round.
Win 3-1 Canada Alvin Upshaw TKO 7 23/05/1950 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick Referee stopped the bout at 2:34 of the seventh round.
Loss 17-10-2 Canada Roy Wouters PTS 10 20/01/1950 Canada Halifax, Nova Scotia
Win -- Eddie Hamilton TKO 3 25/11/1949 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick Referee stopped the bout at 2:13 of the third round.
Win 21-0-1 United States Bob Stecher UD 10 11/11/1949 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win 9-1 United States Ossie Farrell KO 1 26/10/1949 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick Eastern Canada Middleweight Title. Farrell knocked out at 1:20 of the first round.
Win 11-4-1 United States Bernard McCluskey KO 5 12/10/1949 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick Eastern Canada Middleweight Title. McCluskey knocked out at 2:32 of the fifth round.
Win -- Pat Davis KO 2 18/09/1949 Canada Newcastle, New Brunswick Davis knocked out at 1:49 of the second round.
Win 3-1 Canada Bill McLaughlin PTS 8 26/08/1949 Canada Fredericton, New Brunswick
Win 6-19-4 United States Kid Wolfe PTS 10 07/08/1949 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win 16-12-4 Canada Billy Landry PTS 8 20/07/1949 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win 2-2 Canada Cobey McCluskey PTS 8 15/07/1949 Canada Newcastle, New Brunswick
Win 10-6-1 Canada Jimmy Mooney UD 8 06/07/1949 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick New Brunswick Middleweight Title.
Win 2-1 Canada Cobey McCluskey PTS 8 12/06/1949 Canada Baie-Sainte-Anne, New Brunswick
Win -- Joe Tyne KO 1 30/05/1949 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick Tyne knocked out at 1:30 of the first round.
Win -- Manuel Leek KO 6 17/05/1949 Canada Fredericton, New Brunswick Leek knocked out at 1:46 of the sixth round.
Win 0-3 Canada Harry "Kid" Poulton PTS 8 20/04/1949 Canada Newcastle, New Brunswick
Win 0-2 Canada Harry "Kid" Poulton PTS 6 23/03/1949 Canada Newcastle, New Brunswick
Win 3-4 Canada Crosley Irvine TKO 3 25/02/1949 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick Referee stopped the bout at 1:32 of the third round.
Win 0-1 Al Batten KO 5 02/02/1949 Canada Newcastle, New Brunswick Batten knocked out at 1:20 of the fifth round.
Loss 2-0 Canada Billy Snowball DQ 4 07/12/1948 Canada Tracadie, New Brunswick
Win -- Al Batten PTS 8 03/12/1948 Canada Baie-Sainte-Anne, New Brunswick
Win 0-1 Canada Percy R. Richardson PTS 4 11/11/1948 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win 0-2 Al Fraser PTS 4 13/09/1948 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win 0-1 Al Fraser PTS 4 25/08/1948 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick
Win -- Sonny Ramsay KO 2 28/07/1948 Canada Chatham, New Brunswick Ramsay knocked out at 1:24 of the second round.

Related works[edit]

Awards and recognition[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]