Author breathes life into story of Native American pioneer - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Author breathes life into story of Native American pioneer

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Helena author Brian D'Ambrosio has a burning passion for boxing, which made his latest project more than just a job, but a true privilege: telling the story of the first ever Native American world champion boxer, Marvin Camel.

D'Ambrosio was at Butte's Books and Books on Saturday signing copies of the fruit of his many months of labor: Warrior in the Ring. 

"He grew up in a very abusive home," D'Ambrosio said of Camel. "Henry, his father, he abandoned Marvin and his 13 siblings so Marvin grew up in a very poor household in Ronan."

Not only that, but Camel was teased by his Flathead peers for being half native, half black. None of that, not even a grueling 13-hour-a-day work schedule, kept him from pursuing his one true love: the ring.

"For Marvin it was his supreme conditioning," D'Ambrosio said, "and an iron will and that iron determination that says: 'Hey, I'm going to achieve greatness, I'm going to be the best.'"

In fact, his first professional fight was in Butte in 1973. From that point on he won two world titles and boldly showed his native pride, even though he was an outcast to many members of the reservation.

"I think Marvin's story retains and resembles a lot of that magic," D'Ambrosio said. "I think for all people in Montana we can be proud of this story."

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