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June 4, 2008: "New Book Explores the Life of Openly Gay Boxing Champ Emile Griffith"
Emile Griffith at age 70, a gay man who is ready to tell the whole story of his life, in and out of the ring. That's what he's done in the new book. The Two Worlds of Emile Griffith, which author Ron Ross wrote with Griffith's cooperation.
In the book, Emile Griffith describes his feelings about his 1962 fight with Benny Paret, who taunted him with a homophobic slur at their weigh-in. Emile Griffith says:
"I keep thinking how strange it is ... I kill a man and most people understand and forgive me. However, I love a man, and to so many people this is an unforgivable sin; this makes me an evil person. So, even though I never went to jail, I have been in prison almost all my life."
Emile Griffith pictures, photo galleries and biography
Real name: Emile Alphonse Griffith
Birth date: February 3, 1938 in Saint Thomas, U.S.V.I.
Emile Alphonse Griffith is a former boxer from the U.S. Virgin Islands who won world championships in both the Welterweight and Middleweight divisions. He was the first boxer from the U.S. Virgin Islands ever to become a world champion. While Emile Griffith is recognized in some boxing books as being a three division world champion, his claim to the Junior Middleweight title was not generally recognized.
Emile Griffith won the 1958 New York Golden Gloves 147lb Open Championship. In 1957 Griffith advanced to the finals of the 147lb Sub-Novice division and was defeated by Charles Wormley of the Salem Crescent Athletic Club. Emile Griffith trained at the West 28th Street Parks Department Gym in New York City.
Emile Griffith, who turned professional in 1958 and fought frequently in New York City, is best remembered for his televised third fight against Benny "the Kid" Paret on March 24, 1962.
Emile Griffith has trained other boxers during his retirement, including Wilfredo Benitez and Juan Laporte, of Puerto Rico. Both have won world championships. Emile Griffith, Monzon, Benvenuti, Rodriguez, Tiger, Napoles and Benitez are members of the International Boxing Hall Of Fame.
In 1992, Emile Griffith was viciously beaten and almost killed on a New York City street, after leaving a gay bar.
Emile Griffith Boxing record:
Total fights: 112.
Wins by KO: 23.
No contests: 1.