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Herman "Freddy" Mills 1924-2012

Herman ”Freddy” Mills was born in Texas in March 1924. Details of his early childhood are sketchy but he moved to Chicago when he was six years old and lived at St Elizabeth Church run by nuns for most of his adolescent life.

During World War II, Herman served his country against the Axis powers in Europe. While in Sicily he was injured during combat. After his discharge from the war he came back to Chicago and studied a number of different fields such as: tailoring, tap-dancing and TV repair. At this time he became interested in boxing during the rise of the sport’s popularity of the wars boom years. His first fight was at the long gone outdoor area called Marigold Gardens, Chicago in 1943.

He was known for his ability to be a “ten rounder” and was one of the better known fighters in Chicago. One of his more famous bouts was in 1948 at the International Amphitheater in Chicago. He was the opening lightweight match with Don Lupos at the sold out event that featured the fight between heavyweights Joe Louis and Billy Conn. Herman lost that match and would end up with a lackluster record of 8-46-3.

What he lacked in the ring as a boxer he more than made up for mentoring and training young boxers at Leo High School Boxing Club for more than 12 years. Mr. Mills was married twice and outlived both his wives, Ometress Steel, who died in 1967; and Juanita McMillan, who passed away on October 9, 2005. After the death of his wife Juanita, Coach Mike Joyce brought him into his home and cared for him in his final days. Coach Joyce would bring him to the Leo Boxing club and to play bingo at night. He is survived by two children, nine grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and five great-great-grandchildren.

The Celtic Boxing Club of Chicago honors the memory of Herman "Freddy" Mills.

Career Highlights:

• He boxed for over 9 years fro 1943 - 1952.
• Won 2 purple hearts and a bronze star in WWII
• Was a regular at Midwest Gym on Chicago's West Side and Johnny Coulon's gym at 63rd and Woodlawn
• He would entertain others at the gym by breaking out into tap dance routines.
• Mentored and trained boxers all over Chicago for almost 50 years.


Herman Mills, 1924-2009: Professional boxer, trained Chicago area fighters for 50 years
Trevor Jensen - The Chicago Tribune
October 16, 2009
Herman Mills, a quick-footed 138-pounder who fought on the undercard of a Joe Louis exhibition bout during boxing's golden era, worked with young fighters in Chicago gyms for more than 50 years. [Read More]

Herman Mills Career bouts
Career stats in the ring. [Read More]

Vindicated Magazine Fall 2015
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