The late Arturo Gatti was rewarded for his toughness and exciting fighting style Monday.
Virgil Hill, a resident of the Smithville section of Galloway Township, was honored for his success and longevity.
They were among the fighters to receive boxing's highest honor by being elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Hill, 48, compiled a 50-7 record with 23 knockouts during a 25-year pro career during which he won five world titles at light-heavyweight and cruiserweight.
A native of Williston, N.D., Hill won the silver medal for the United States as a member of the 1984 Olympic team that also featured future world champions such as Mark Breland, Evander Holyfield, Meldrick Taylor and Pernell Whitaker.
He made a record 20 defenses of his light-heavyweight title as a pro. Hill, who often trained at the Pleasantville Rec Center, moved up to cruiserweight and won the WBA championship with a 12-round, unanimous decision over Valery Brudov at Atlantic City's Tropicana Casino and Resort on Jan. 27, 2006.
Hill briefly tried to resurrect his boxing career a year ago but was unable to land a fight. He most recently has been working as a boxing trainer at Bullpen Vale Turdo gym in Egg Harbor Township.
He did not return a phone call from The Press on Monday seeking comment.
"(The Hall of Fame) is the biggest honor that's ever been bestowed on me," Hill told The Associated Press. "It's more than winning the world titles and the Olympic silver medal. It's the biggest thing - outside of my children and wife (Pleasantville native Carla Hill) - that's ever happened to me.
"It's such an honor. I know this would have meant so much to my father (who died a year ago). This was a big thing for him. You have no idea."
Gatti, who died at age 37 in Brazil on July 11, 2009, compiled a 40-9 record with 31 knockouts while winning world titles as a super-featherweight, junior-welterweight and welterweight.
Many of his fights took place in Atlantic City, where he went 17-6 with 12 knockouts. His last nine fights all took place before roaring crowds at Boardwalk Hall, including the last two fights of his trilogy with Micky Ward.
"What a terrific honor for Arturo," Caesars Entertainment Ken Condon said Monday in a phone interview. "Arturo was a relentless competitor who always gave his all. In addition to being a world champion, he was New Jersey's champion."
Gatti's fight at Boardwalk Hall against Carlos Baldomir on July 22, 2006 was witnessed by 12,763 fans, the largest crowd to see a fight at Boardwalk Hall since it reopened after undergoing a $90 million renovation in 2002. Gatti's fights against Floyd Mayweather Jr. on June 25, 2005 and his third fight with Ward on June 7, 2003 also drew more than 12,000 fans.
Boardwalk Hall soon became known as the "House of Gatti." After he retired in 2007, the arena named room 107 - Gatti's favorite dressing room - in his honor.
"Arturo had an incredibly loyal fan base that set numerous attendance records at Boardwalk Hall," Condon said. "I can still hear the crowd chanting, 'Gatti! Gatti! Gatti!' I was privileged to be a friend and supporter."
Gatti died in Brazil in July 2009. His body was found at an apartment that he had rented with his wife and their infant son in the seaside resort of Porto de Galinhas. Police initially held Gatti's wife as a suspect but eventually released her and concluded Gatti hung himself from a staircase railing using a handbag strap.
Also selected Monday for induction: two-time light flyweight champion Myung-Woo Yuh of South Korea; lightweight Wesley Ramsey and middleweight Jeff Smith in the old-timer (posthumous) category; 19th century Irish boxer Joe Coburn in the pioneer category; referee Mills Lane; ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr.; manager Arturo "Cuyo" Hernandez; cartoonist Ted Carroll; and journalist Colin Hart.
Inductees were selected by the Boxing Writers Association and a panel of international boxing historians. Induction ceremonies will be held June 9 at the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y.
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