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Freddie Mills (1919 - 1965) Autographed Album Page - World Light Heavyweight Champion from 1948 to 1950

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Excellent ink signature of the iconic Freddie Mills

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Excellent ink signature of the iconic Freddie Mills on an album page
World light heavyweight champion from 1948 to 1950.

World title fight
After the London fight Mills was posted to India as a light entertainer, a skill he was to make use of later. In May 1946, he was given a shot at the world light-heavyweight title when he was matched with the current champion, Gus Lesnevich, an American. The fight took place at Harringay Arena in front of 11,000 fans. Mills was not considered a serious threat to Lesnevich but performed better than many expected in what was described as a "slam-bang, punishing contest". Mills was floored heavily in the second round but recovered strongly and was cheered on by the British crowd. In the ninth Mills's aggression appeared to be turning the fight in his favour, and Lesnevich was troubled by cuts above his eyes. In the tenth, however, Lesnevich "exploded" to score two knockdowns and forced the referee to stop the contest.[9]
Less than a month after his punishing fight against Lesnevich, Mills fought British heavyweight Bruce Woodcock, losing a twelve-round fight on points after being knocked down in the fourth. In November 1946, Mills fought another heavyweight, American Joe Baksi. Mills suffered two badly cut eyes and retired after six rounds of what was described as a "disappointingly one-sided contest". [10]
[edit]European title
In September 1947, Mills fought for the vacant European light-heavyweight title against the Belgian, Pol Goffaux, winning by a knockout in the fourth round.[11] He defended the title in February 1948, against the Spaniard Paco Bueno, who was subjected to "terrific punishment" before being knocked out in the second round.[12]
[edit]World title
On 26 July 1948, Mills was matched against Gus Lesnevich for his second attempt at the world light-heavyweight title. Mills was in much better shape for this fight, held at the White City Stadium, London in front of a 46,000 crowd. Lesnevich reportedly struggled to make the 175 pound limit, weighing in at 174¾ pounds, whereas Mills came in at 170½. Lesnevich, who was a 1/3 betting favourite, suffered from cuts over the eyes from the opening round as Mills started strongly. The fight then settled down into a "remarkably dull" affair, which drew boos from the crowd and saw both men warned by the referee Teddy Waltham for the lack of action. In the tenth round, Mills rallied and floored Lesnevich heavily on two occasions. Lesnevich launched a "savage attack" in the twelfth and thirteenth rounds, but Mills responded in the last two sessions and at the end of fifteen rounds, the English boxer was awarded the decision by the referee.[13]
In June 1949, Mills again stepped up to heavyweight, when he challenged Bruce Woodcock for his British, Commonwealth and European heavyweight titles. The fight was also recognised as an eliminator for the British version of the World Heavyweight Championship. They fought at the White City Stadium, with Mills conceding twenty pounds in weight to his opponent. Mills bloodied the heavyweight's nose but was floored four times before being knocked out in the fourteenth round.[14]
On 24 January 1950, Mills defended his world title against an American, Joey Maxim, at Earls Court, London. Mills began strongly but Maxim, who "boxed beautifully", began to overhaul him. Mills, according to press reports, looked for a knockout win, but in the tenth round he was floored by a left right combination. Mills took the count in a sitting position before falling sideways and being counted out. Mills was assisted to his corner and was checked by a doctor before leaving the ring.[15] Mills’s reign as world champion was over, and a few weeks later on 16 February he announced his retirement.[16]From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia