Sep 4, 2017

The Gay Journalist and the Three Beefcake Boxers

I love researching the people in old beefcake photographs.  These three specimens, for example:

Left, with long arms: Joe-Claes

Center, with basket: Petit Riquet ("Little Riquet." because of his height?).

Right, tall, buffed: F. Sybille

The two guys in suits are "Their managers, Graf = Brothers."

The inscription reads: "Friendly memory to Mr. Francis Soulie, Liege, February 24, 1927."

Apparently they were all boxers.  Lightweight Joe Claes is 24 years old, and has been boxing since 1922.  He retired in 1929 after 46 bouts and 28 wins.

20-year old bantamweight Nicolas Petit-Biquet, "la petite merveille liegeoise," began boxing at age 15 by falsifying his papers, and knocked out his first opponent.  He fought in 109 bouts, with 59 wins and 14 knockouts.  In 1932 he became European bantamweight champion.  He lived in Liege through his life, and died in 1959.

The most famous of the three is 21-year old Francois Sybille, a bantamweight called "La rapière liégeoise."  He won 99 fights and represented France in the 1924 Olympics (this is the Argentine boxing team for that year).  He died in 1968.

What about Mr. Francis Soulie?  A gay right-wing journalist and surrealist writer, suspected of ghost-writing Le Regard du Roi (1954) for his Guinean boyfriend Camara Laye (1928-1980).  

I wonder what happy memories Mr. Francis Soulie shared with the boxers of Liege


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