Sports

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Billy Boy Thompson


Billy Boy Thompson after winning the
1966 IL State Heavyweight Champion

Career Highlights
- 1964 CYO Novice Championship Winner, Light Heavyweight, Chicago, IL
- 1966 CYO Heavyweight Champion, Chicago, IL
- 1966 Golden Glove Heavyweight Champion, Streator, IL
- 1966 IL State Heavyweight Champion, Ottawa, IL
- 1967 CYO Heavyweight Champion, Chicago, IL
- 1967 Golden Glove Runner-Up Heavyweight, Chicago, IL
- 1968 CYO Heavyweight Champion, Chicago, IL
- 1968 Golden Glove Heavyweight Champion, Springfield, IL
- 1968 Runner-Up IL State Heavyweight Champion, Ottawa
- 1968 Fought George Foreman in the Olympic Trials in Toledo, OH.
Lost in 2nd Round after knocking Foreman down in the First Round
- 1969 Golden Glove Heavyweight Champion, Chicago, IL
- 1970 CYO Heavyweight Champion, Chicago, IL
- 1970 National Golden Glove Heavyweight Champion, Las Vegas, Nevada - Beat Ron Lyle (who later turned pro and fought Ali and Foreman for the heavyweight championship belt)
- 1970 Voted the Number 1 Heavyweight Amateur in the U.S.
by the Amateur Boxing Association
- 1971 IL State Heavyweight Champion, Ottawa, IL
- 1972 Golden Glove Heavyweight Champion, Chicago, IL
- 1973 IL State Heavyweight Champion, Ottawa, IL

All total, Billy Boy Thompson had 125 fights in his amateur career and won 110 of them. 95 of those wins were by knockout. Billy Boy himself was never knocked out!

Billy Boy was known for being a fast power puncher and for being quick to evade punches. The Chicago Tribune wrote this about Billy Boy: "Best right hand in America."

In 1973, Billy Boy was a dedicated family man, and because of this, he decided not to turn pro. Had he turned pro, it is certain he would have been a formidable contender for the Heavyweight Crown.

Billy Boy Thompson still lives in Joliet and works for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. In his spare time he shares his love of boxing by working with youth in the boxing program at the Peter Claver Center.

Joliet's Billy Boy Thompson dominated boxing's amateur Heavyweight division in Illinois from 1966 until 1973. He won 110 fights with 95 by knockout!
In 1970, the Amateur Boxing Association voted him the number one Heavyweight amateur in the U.S. He even knocked George Foreman down in one fight!

In 1964, Billy Boy Thompson was inspired by Cassius Clay's (Muhammad Ali) good looks, style and ability to become a boxer, and modeled his training and boxing technique after Ali's.

Billy Boy started boxing at age 18 at the Peter Claver Center in Downtown Joliet. His coaches included Vince Catarello (who was the 1964 trainer for the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team), Perry Bennett, and the late George Blunt.

When he began boxing in the Spring of 1964, he had no idea that by October of that same year he would win the 1964 CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) Novice Championship in the Light Heavyweight division, in Chicago.

Supported by his grandmother (who gave him the nickname "Billy Boy") and mother, Ada Thompson, Billy Boy continued his training as he moved up to Heavyweight class. Since he was a youth, Billy Boy was always a focused competitor, with the heart of a champion. His will to win and desire to be the best every time he entered the ring is what made him a great champion.

In 1966, in addition to continuing his amateur boxing career, Billy Boy also excelled on the Joliet Junior College Football team, playing first string defensive end, and made the All-Conference team.

At the April 1968 Olympic Trials in Toledo, Ohio, Billy Boy Thompson fought George Foreman. Billy Boy knocked George down in the first round but Big George, with his long reach, caught Billy Boy with a hard right and scored a TKO victory in the second round.


"I fought Billy Boy one time
as an amateur and he really had me rolling. Boy did he
hit me hard."
- George Foreman


Foreman went on to not only qualify for the Olympic Team, he won the Gold Medal in the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. Foreman then turned pro and became the Heavyweight Champion of the World. Billy Boy was the only opponent to knock Foreman down during the Olympic Trials and Games.

 

 

Back to Top