Hector Thompson

Hector Thompson was a two-time world title challenger, a multiple weight Australian champion and a Commonwealth junior welterweight champion.

Born in 1949 near Kempsey on the mid-north coast of New South Wales, Thompson turned professional at the age of 20 after learning to box in the boys’ home that he grew up in after the death of his mother when he was young. Without a manager, Thompson fought preliminary bouts throughout Australia, winning 20 of his first 23 contests. In one of his earlier fights on 6 October 1970 in a bout in Newcastle, Thompson knocked out Roko Spanja in the 10th round. Spanja later died of injuries sustained in the fight. After winning the state lightweight title on 19 March 1971, Thompson fought for the Australian junior welterweight title on 12 July 1971, outpointing Melbourne fighter Leo Young to take the title.

After winning the Australian title, Thompson was signed by managers Doug James and Brian Ogilvie and he relocated to Brisbane. He built up a 16-fight winning streak including two defences of his Australian title before meeting New Zealand lightweight champion Manny Santos. After rising from a third-round knockdown, Thompson battled back to earn a draw over twelve rounds in one of the best fights seen on television in Australia. In a rematch four months later Thompson took the decision after 15 rounds. One month later he outpointed #7 world-rated Joe Tetteh to win the Commonwealth junior welterweight title and a #5 world rating.

Thompson’s success earned him a shot at Roberto Duran’s lightweight championship on 2 June 1973. In front of 15,000 fans in Panama City, Thompson fought bravely before succumbing to Duran’s two-handed assaults in the eighth round. He returned to the junior welterweight division, winning 16 of his next 17 fights including a seventh-round knockout over former world champion Alfonso Frazer to earn the #1 contender ranking in the division. Thompson returned to Panama City on 15 November 1975 for his second world championship shot, this time against long-time champion Antonio Cervantes. After seven hard-fought rounds, the ringside doctor stopped the bout due to a cut over Thompson’s right eye.

On 1 April 1976, Thompson stopped Chuck Wilburn in the tenth round of a bout at Blacktown in Sydney’s west and Wilburn became the second fighter to die from injuries sustained in a bout with Thompson. Thompson kept his world rating until 1979. He won the Australian welterweight title in 1977 but lost his Australian and Commonwealth titles to Laurie Austin later that year. He continued fighting until 1980 but retired after a pair of stoppage losses. In 87 career bouts, Thompson won 73 with many of his losses coming at the end of his career. Thompson died on 20 May 2020 at the age of 70.

One thought on “Hector Thompson

  1. Just read the Hec Thompson tribute and it has brought back many great memories of his fights. TV ringside sitting around with my Dad watching the fights. I loved Hec’s fights always thought he would be a world champ. Unlucky to have the quality of Duran and Cervantes in there. Also the tragedies in the ring didn’t help. Today he would stand a far better chance with all the divisions. I remember trying to listen to one of his big fights on the car radio back in the 70’s .We were away on a farm holiday and the reception was terrible and I was driving like a madman all over this farm trying to get reception. I would just get reception for say half a round and it would disappear. I’d take off to another spot to try and recover it . Frustrating as hell. I think I clocked up 50 km in the bush trying to listen to his fight. Ended up running over a stump and stuffed up my wheel. What’s more (from my now bad memory) I think Hec lost. Sorry to hear he died so young.

    R.I.P Hec…. Thanks for the memories!

    Peter

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