Boxer Harry Marshall
would be impossible to calculate the number of Windsor boys whose
lives were changed because Harry Marshall taught them how to throw
a punch without getting into trouble.
in 1923 in Liverpool, England, Marshall moved to Windsor with his
parents when he was five and grew up on Bernard Road. While a student
at W.D. Lowe, he was an all-city track star but found his true calling
in the boxing ring.
father, a boxing enthusiast and coach, had introduced him to the
sport. The oldest of five boys, Marshall was the only one to pursue
boxing. While serving for the Canadian Army in England during World
War II, he became the Army Lightweight Champion in 1945.
from overseas, he turned pro. Fighting in the Windsor and Detroit
area for the first few years, Marshalls career progressed
but could only go so far. Hoping to achieve national champion status,
Marshall and his manager moved to New York City.
one hundred fights, he suffered only two knockouts and seven losses.
Ring Magazine ranked him the #3 lightweight in Canada in 1942.
of Marshalls favorite memories of his amateur days was the
opportunity, while overseas, to spar with Canadian champion Danny
Webb. Great friends, but competitive in the ring, the two would
often work out together. While they never fought one another officially,
Marshall did score a knockdown against Webb during their informal
resettled in Windsor and married Patricia Crilley they
had both grown up in the same neighbourhood. He had developed a
reputation there for showing off his athletic abilities his
favourite trick was walking on his hands. Tom Marshall, youngest
of their three children, remembers a story of his dad showing off
during his courting days. One day when his mother went to the Marshall
home, she was met by her fiance walking on his hands down
a flight of stairs.
labourer at Chryslers for 30, Marshall inspired physical fitness
in the workplace before it became standard to provide employees
with such outlets. Convincing his employer to allocate space on
the second floor, he brought in medicine balls, speed bags and other
equipment to give workers the opportunity to work out on their breaks.
YMCA allocated space to Marshall for a time, as did the Jewish Community
Center. Founding the Windsor Amateur Boxing Club in 1968, Marshall
petitioned City Council to donate a former storage building, and
the WABC moved into its permanent home on Grove Avenue in 1970.
then approached various businesses in Windsor for donations, such
as Pazner Scrap on Drouillard Road, which contributed iron to build
the ring, and fellow Chrysler employees donated their time welding
it together. Even the canvas and ropes were donated.
Marshalls wife got into the spirit obtaining her license as
an official judge, and attending matches regularly. Tom Marshall
entered twenty amateur fights, winning 19, with the
other resulting in a draw.
taught me the science of keeping my hands up, scoring points and
not getting hit."
love of the sport, and his desire to instill confidence and skill
in young men motivated him to open his clubs doors to the
youth of Windsor. Regardless of background or past history, prospective
boxers were welcomed at the club, as long as they followed the rules.
WABC also provided opportunities for men in local drug rehabilitation
programs and St. Leonards Halfway House to work out as part
of their therapy.
has produced its share of stars. Pete Pestowka became Canadian Amateur
Middleweight Champion and Jim French and Charlie Stewart won gold
medals at the 1972 Canada Winter Games in Saskatoon. In 1973, the
WABC team won the Michigan Golden Gloves championship, and became
the only Canadian boxing club to defeat the famous Detroit Kronk
and Brewster Clubs.
and hard work have always been more important than winning to Marshall,
and that principle is held in high regard in the Marshall family.
1972, Harry was voted Kinsmen Club of Windsor Sportsman of the Year,
and was recently nominated for induction into the Windsor-Essex
County Sports Hall of Fame.