Georges Carpentier (pronounced car-pun-tee-eh) (January 12, 1894 – October 28, 1975) was a French boxer. He fought mainly as a light heavyweight and heavyweight in a career lasting from 1908-26. Nicknamed the "Orchid Man", he stood 5 feet 11½ inches (1.816 m) and his fighting weight ranged from 125 to 175 pounds (57 to 79 kg). Carpentier was known for his speed, his excellent boxing skills and his extremely hard punch.
Born in Liévin near Lens, Pas-de-Calais, Carpentier began his career by progressing up through the weight divisions, fighting in every division from welterweight upwards. With his first professional bout at age 14, he was welterweight champion of France and of Europe in 1911, middleweight champion of Europe in 1912, and light heavyweight champion of Europe in 1913. On June 1, 1913, he beat "Bombardier" Billy Wells in Ghent, Belgium to become heavyweight champion of Europe. He defended his title in December against Wells, in January 1914 against Pat O'Keefe and in London on July 16 he beat Ed "Gunboat" Smith to add the "White Heavyweight Champion of the World" to his European title. Carpentier was also a referee during the early stages of his career, supervising a number of fights including the world title bout between Jack Johnson and Frank Moran in June 1914. Carpentier was an aviator during World War I and was awarded two of the highest French military honors, the Croix de Guerre and the Médaille Militaire. This served to heighten his already phenomenal popularity, not only in France but in the United States and England as well.
Carpentier defended his title twice again in 1919 before dropping down a weight to challenge Battling Levinsky for the light heavyweight championship of the world. The fight took place on October 12, 1920, in Jersey City and Levinsky was knocked out in the fourth. Carpentier's attempt at the heavyweight Championship of the world came on July 2, 1921, again in Jersey City, when he faced Jack Dempsey in front of boxing's first million dollar gate. Carpentier was badly beaten around before suffering a knockout in the second minute of the fourth round. Carpentier never fought again for that title. He lost his world light heavyweight title and his European heavyweight and light heavyweight titles the following year, on September 24, 1922, in a controversial bout with Senegalese fighter Battling Siki. His last truly noteworthy fight was on July 24, 1924, with Gene Tunney at the Polo Grounds in New York; Carpentier lost the bout by TKO after fifteen rounds. He retired from the ring after a final exhibition bout in 1927.
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