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Ples Anthony Gilmore Jr. (born September 3, 1929 in Bruce, Mississippi) was an American amateur and professional boxer who won the Featherweight Chicago Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions in 1950 at age 20, by defeating Arvis Hunter of Tennessee. In less than a year, he eliminated five standout amateurs, including 2 knock outs, to win the Golden Gloves Championship title at 126 pounds. Gilmore was also the silver medalist in the Chicago/New York Intercity Championships that same year.
Ples Gilmore was known as a hard puncher with solid, rapid firing left and right hand wallops that were fast and ferocious. He had a solid career as an amateur boxer, winning 105 of 120 fights and several championships both stateside and overseas, including the All-European Lightweight Title in 1959 while a member of the Army boxing team. He also competed in the Olympic Trials in 1952, 1956 and 1960. Gilmore attributed his success in boxing to manager Edward Hackley, "who not only taught him how to box, but also talked to him about life".
Boxing Titles and Recognitions
- 1950 Toledo City Novice Featherweight Champion
- 1950 Toledo Open Golden Gloves Featherweight Finalist
- 1950 Chicago Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions as a Featherweight
- 1950 Chicago All-Star Team
- 1950 Chicago/New York Intercity Championships Featherweight Silver Medalist
- 1950 All-American Team Member that fought and defeated the European Champion All-Stars
- 1951 Toledo Golden Gloves Featherweight Finalist
- 1951 AAU Featherweight Finalist
- 1952 Toledo Open Golden Gloves Featherweight Champion
- 1952 Chicago Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions Quarter-finalist
- 1952 NW Ohio AAU Featherweight Champion
- 1953 Toledo Open Golden Gloves Lightweight Finalist
- 1953 Ohio State AAU Junior Lightweight Champion
- 1953 Amateur Boxing Tour with The Toledo Ohio Local 12 Gym
- 1959 All-European Titlist
- 1961 Tacoma Golden Gloves Lightweight Champ
Professional Boxing Career
Ples Gilmore was moderately successful as a professional fighter. He scored a technical knockout (TKO) in the second round of his first professional fight against Jimmy Sparks in April 1953. A subsequent fight against Eddie Marotta, ended in the second round because Gilmore refused to remove arm bandages and was disqualified and his purse impounded. Toledo’s Boxing Commission later returned the purse, but suspended his manager, Ed Hackley and corner. Gilmore continued to fight out of Detroit, Michigan and by October 1955, Gilmore had won 7 of his 9 fights.
U. S. Air Corps and U. S. Air Force Career
When Gilmore first enlisted in the service, in Feb 1946, at the age of 16 yrs and five months, the Air Force wasn’t a separate military branch. Instead, it was known as the United States Air Corps, later changed to Army Air Forces, and was a part of the United States Army, remaining so until September 1947, when it officially became the United States Air Force. So by the time he was honorably discharged in November 1948, Gilmore actually had served in two military branches, the Army and the Air Force. During his enlistment he served in New Mexico and Guam as part of the 27th and 6459th Maintenance Units as an airplane and engine mechanic.
After boxing and traveling for six years, without a sure future, Ples Gilmore returned to military service, enlisting in the U. S. Army in 1956 in order to feed his growing family. It was during his first overseas enlistment, he was invited to box for the 4th Armored Division and was selected the team captain and nicknamed "Fox". This opportunity afforded Gilmore, in his words the "honor of the dual role of soldier and diplomat. We traveled all over Europe, boxed and defeated the best boxing teams in Europe in 1958, 1959 and 1960". In fact, he score many TKO’s during his fights over noted fighters claiming the All-European Titlist in 1959.
During his service he spent twelve years with the Green Berets or Special Forces and was one of the first blacks from Fort Lewis selected to serve with this elite group. While in the military, Gilmore was involved in four major wars or conflicts: The Berlin Crisis of 1961, Vietnam War 1963-1973, Panama Canal Zone Conflict, January 1964, and the Dominican Republic Conflict 1965. He served in many units from auto repairman to the elite Special Forces Group. Some of the units were: 27th Maintenance Squadron; Co C, 126th Ord Bn, 4th Armd Division; Co B, 4th Infantry Division; Co A, 704th Ord Bn; Co A, 801st Maintenance Bn; Co B, 101st Airborne Div; Co A, 8th Special Forces Grp (Abn) 1st SF; Co B, 3rd Special Forces Grp (Abn) 1st SF; HHC, 5th Special Forces Grp (Abn), 1st SF; HQ, 3rd Bn (Abn) 508 Inf; Co D, 2nd Bn, 4th AIT Bde (CS); Co B, 2nd Bn, 4th AIT Brigade; Co E, 2nd BCT, USATC Inf; Co B, DLIWC; and Co A, 6th Special Forces Group (Abn) 1st SF, rising to the rank of MSgt after serving 23 years.
Ples Gilmore Jr. served his country honorably during his military career earning Purple Hearts, Bronze Stars, an Air Medal, a World War II Victory Medal, a Meritorious Unit Citation, a Presidential Unit Citation, and a Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross With Palm, Vietnam Service Medal and a Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal along with various badges.
Upon retiring from the military, Gilmore began a long haul trucking career and received the nickname "Sneaky Pete" because he managed to get through snowstorms and police traps, when other drivers refused to take the chance. When he retired from his long haul trucking business he was identified as the "Million Mile Man."
Gilmore lost his last battle in his fight against multiple myeloma, an illness resulting from Agent Orange exposure in Viet Nam. After his body was weakened by multiple myeloma, he died from a bacterial infection on November 30, 2002.
- Ples Gilmore 1950 Golden Gloves Champ Golden Gloves Official Website. Retrieved December 27, 2011.
- Ples Gilmore BoxRec Encyclopedia. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
- Chicago/New York Championships, Intercity Golden Gloves Championships. Archives of the Pennsylvania Golden Gloves, Inc. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
- "Gloves Threat." The Tacoma News Tribune. January 13, 1961 (Tacoma, WA).
- "Gloves Threat." The Tacoma News Tribune. January 13,1961 (Tacoma, WA).
- Taken from the memoirs left by Ples Gilmore
- The Toledo Blade 1950-1953 and The Toledo Times 1950-1953 (Toledo, OH)
- The Tacoma News Tribune Jan 1961 (Tacoma, WA)
- Jimmy Sparks. BoxRec Encyclopedia. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
- Eddie Marotta. BoxRec Encyclopedia. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
- Harold Shaw. "Ex-Champ Finishes Strong To Get Nod." The Toledo Times. May 13, 1953.
- "Gilmore, Tague In Semifinal Here." Toledo Times. circa October 2, 1955.
- U.S. Air Force Military Records
- Taken from memoirs left by Ples Gilmore
- U.S. Army Military Records
- U.S. Army Military Records
- History of The Golden Gloves Champions Official Website
- Alphabetical List of Golden Gloves Champions at Boxing Records
- List of Golden Gloves Champions by Year at Hickoksports.com
- List Of US National Golden Gloves Champions at Museumstuff.com
- Ples Gilmore, Silver Medalist Chicago/NY Intercity Golden Gloves Championship Fights
- Ples Gilmore, Professional Boxing Records
- Panama Canal Zone Conflict, January 1964
- 6th Special Forces Group Beret Flash
- 5th Special Forces Group Lineage and Honors