International Boxing Hall of Fame

Freddie Steele

"The Tacoma Assassin"

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Freddie Steele (December 18, 1912August 22, 1984) born Frederick Earle Burgett in Seattle, Washington was recognized as middleweight champion of the world between 1936 and 1938. Steele was nicknamed "The Tacoma Assassin" and was trained by Jack Connor, Johnny Babnick, and Ray Arcel, while in New York.


A good boxer and a hard hitter, Steele lost only two fights during his first ten years in the ring. Among those he defeated during his career were Ceferino Garcia, Ralph Chong, Leonard Bennett, Joe Glick, Bucky Lawless, Andy Divodi, "Baby" Joe Gans, Vince Dundee, Gorilla Jones, Swede Berglund, Young Stuhley, Meyer Grace, Henry Firpo, Eddie "Babe" Risko, Jackie Aldare, Gus Lesnevich, Paul Pirrone, Frank Battaglia, Ken Overlin, Carmen Barth, and Solly Krieger.

He fought two memorable bouts with Fred Apostoli, winning the first, but suffering a TKO in a non-title match. He lost the middleweight crown to Al Hostak in his next to last fight. His final record included 125 wins (60 KOs), 5 losses, 11 draws and 1 No Contest.

Life after boxing

Freddie Steele was also known for his footwork, and waist-down shots of his footwork can be seen in the film "Gentleman Jim," starring Errol Flynn. Steele later became an actor in Hollywood during the 1940s. He left Hollywood in the 1950s, and returned to the Pacific Northwest. He would own and operate Freddie Steele's restaurant in Westport, Washington for over 20 years until illness forced his retirement.


Steele died at a nursing home in Aberdeen, Washington on August 22, 1984; he had suffered a stroke in 1980. He is interred in the Fern Hill Cemetery, Aberdeen, WA.


Freddie Steele is an honored member of both the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame. He is one of the three original inductees into the Tacoma-Pierce County Sports Hall of Fame when it opened in 1957.

Preceded by
Eddie (Babe) Risko
NBA Middleweight Champion
11 Jul 1936� 26 Jul 1938
Succeeded by
Al Hostak
Preceded by
Eddie (Babe) Risko
NYSAC World Middleweight Champion
26 Jul 1938� Feb 1938
Recognition withdrawn
Succeeded by
Fred Apostoli