On September 24th, 2022, the WBC and the world honor the 125th Anniversary of the first African fighter to win a World Title.
Louis Fall, known as Battling Siki, rose from the slums of Senegal to become a war hero, a world champion, and a reminder that with enough talent and determination, a person can overcome many obstacles and make a mark in the world.
Louis Fall was born in Senegal, and as a youth, brought to France where he was abandoned to the streets. Taking any job, he could survive, he eventually found his path through boxing. When World War I broke out, he fought for France and became a decorated war hero. Despite the fact that his lungs were damaged by mustard gas, he continued his career as a boxer. Facing extreme discrimination as a black man, Louis still went on to beat George Carpentier, a beloved French boxer, and became the Light Heayweight Champion of the World.
Eventually, undone by racism and alcohol, he ended up in New York, where he was murdered on the streets of the city, at age 28. At first buried in an unceremonious grave, thanks to the WBC, with the assistance of James Mercante, his body was exhumed and returned to Senegal for a proper resting place. The United Nations gave thanks for this act of kindness.
We celebrate Louis Fall, Battling Siki, as a passionate champion, known for his honesty, his humor, and a man, who despite pressure, never threw a fight. The WBC will receive a proclamation from the USA Black Congressional Caucus and the Mayor of NYC honoring Mr. Fall, affirming his place in history. This year, in honor of the 125th anniversary, journalist Ashley Morrison will release his documentary detailing Louis Fall’s life story.
Despite his early death and difficult path, Louis Fall stands as an icon and inspiration and a lesson in life’s possibilities.