Louis Mbarick Fall “Battling Siki” was born in September 1897, in St-Louis, Senegal. He arrives in France in adolescence in circumstances that remain mysterious, some claiming that he was brought by a Dutch dancer who had fallen in love with him, others considering that he was destined to be the servant of a French actress. He begins to earn his living independently by doing the dishes, then starts boxing at the age of 15.
From 1912 to 1914, he delivered 16 fights (8 wins, 6 draws, 2 defeats). His career is interrupted by the First World War. Incorporated as a soldier, Siki is decorated with the war cross and receives the military medal.
He resumed his career in 1919, and continued for 4 years, 43 wins in 46 games, 2 draws and 1 loss (in the 15th round against Tom Berry in Rotterdam)
. François Deschamps, the manager of the world champion in the middle Georges Carpentier, who witnessed Siki’s victory over Marcel Nilles, thinks Siki will be an opponent “within reach” of Carpentier. The fight takes place on September 22, 1922, and Siki is the first black boxer for 7 years to compete in a world boxing championship.
Georges Carpentier, the idol of all France, boxing for the first time in the country for 3 years. Siki seems to be a perfect stooge. 40,000 people are massed at Buffalo Stadium in Montrouge to watch the show. The start of the fight seems to give reason to Carpentier’s manager since Siki goes twice “to the mat” during the first two rounds. Carpentier, intoxicated by the beginning of the fight, would have uttered the famous phrase: “let’s hurry up, it’s going to rain! Siki regains his punch in the third round, during which he sends Carpentier to the mat.
From that moment, Siki dominates the fight and the irony changes camp when Carpentier room saying “you do not hit hard Mr. George”! In the 6th round, Siki definitely sends Carpentier to the mat by giving him a right uppercut. The referee at first disqualified Siki for an obscure reason, before going back on his decision 20 minutes later, under the pressure of the crowd who expressed his disapproval, taking up the cause for Siki whose victory is clear. Siki, (who is French since Senegal is at the time a French colony), becomes the first African boxing world champion. Carpentier’s manager appealed on September 26, claiming a “fault” on his colt. The appeal is rejected.