Freddie Mills (1919 – 1965) was an English boxer and the world light heavyweight champion between 1948 and 1950. He was famous for having a very unsophisticated boxing style, relying on pure aggression and the ability – while at his peak – to take any punch thrown at him.
Mills had his first professional fight at the age of just 16 in his local ice skating rink and went on to fight at small venues all over the south coast of England. Twelve years after his debut he would become the World Champion, a title that he held for for two years before losing to American Joey Maxim in 1950 at Earls Court in London. It was to be his final fight, he announced his retirement from the sport just a few weeks later.
After retirement he used his success to stay in the public eye with numerous cameo appearances in movies, TV presenting jobs, and ownership of a nightclub in London’s Soho district. He struck up a close friendship with notorious British gangsters the Kray twins who were frequent visitors to his club. He was found dead on 24th July 1965 in his car behind his nightclub, a verdict of suicide was recorded but many suspected foul play.
The Freddie Mills Story is a 1984 British TV documentary which looks back at the life of this boxing great and it serves as an important reference point as most of those interviewed for the film have since passed away.
Author Tony Van Den Bergh put forward a number of theories about the cause of death of Freddie Mills, and possible perpetrators, in his 1993 book Who Killed Freddie Mills? Available to purchase in hardback or paperback. Not currently available on kindle.