Hall of Famer
Inducted in 1975
National Light-Heavyweight Title
Inducted into the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame
Yvon Durelle, known as the "Fighting Fisherman," was one of the Maritimes' most courageous and colourful athletes. A native of Baie Ste. Anne, New Brunswick, Durelle divided his time between lighthouses and light-heavyweight bouts on the boxing championship circuit throughout the 1950s. Growing up with 13 siblings living in close quarters, Durelle had plenty of brawling practice in his youth. His fought his first recorded bout in 1947, and it wasn't long before his great natural talent caught the attention of Moncton Sportsman and promoter, Chris Shaban. He became Durelle's manager and trainer and soon launched him into the ranks of professional boxing. Durelle was the national light-heavyweight champion by 1953. He lost his title later that year but regained it in July 1954 and successfully defended it on two occasions, eventually retiring undefeated. By 1957, Durelle's skills had developed enough to make him a contender for the British Empire light-heavyweight title. On May 30, he met Gordon Wallace and handily defeated him for the crown by knocking him out in the second round. After this tremendous victory, the Fighting Fisherman was matched against Archie Moore for the world light-heavyweight championships. On December 10, 1958, in a fight that had all of Canada on the edge of its seat, he came very close to capturing the title. He had the champion down three times in the first round, and four times in the fight. He was himself knocked down three times but was finally counted out the fourth time in the eleventh round. Though he failed to claim the crown, this fight has gone down in Canadian boxing history as the best bout of the half-century. Durelle's reputation as a tough and determined boxer was well earned. Shaban credited him with an iron constitution, as was demonstrated in one of his fights with Floyd Patterson. Durelle had broken his hand in a fight six days before the bout. Although he was advised to postpone, he refused because he had promised to be there. He exchanged his cast for his boxing gloves, and had Patterson out by decision in eight rounds. Though he was a fearsome force in the ring, Durelle was fondly known as "Doux," French for "soft," because of his kind and gentle personality. Durelle's last big fight was against George Chuvalo in 1959 for the Canadian lightweight title. Chronic leg problems were just beginning to trouble him and, when he lost, he announced his retirement. Durelle dabbled in wrestling in 1961 and then made a brief boxing comeback in 1963 before retiring to the Maritimes. In 105 professional bouts, Durelle won 44 by knockout and 38 by decision. He lost ten by decision, three on foul, and was knocked out nine times. For his outstanding record, Durelle's name was enshrined in the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame in 1989.