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Historic boxing relic recovered

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PABLO – Marvin Camel, the only world boxing champion from Montana, who won world titles in 1979 and 1980, is getting back something he likely thought was gone forever: his original championship belt. 

Ken Camel, Marvin’s brother, said the belt was stolen 30 years ago from the Marvin Camel recreation building in Ronan. 

Earlier this month, the 1979 world championship WBC belt was discovered in the trunk of a vehicle in Missoula that was going to be demolished, Ken said. An employee of Axmen in Missoula, Jason Solum, called Ken after he found the belt amid garbage in a vehicle’s trunk.

“It’s coming full circle,” Ken said. “The championship belt that was stolen 30 years ago is going back to its rightful owner.” 

Ken called his brother Marvin, who lives in Florida, when he got the news. Ken could hear the emotion in his brother’s voice when he told him his original championship belt had been recovered. 

Ken said doesn’t know who stole the belt and isn’t interested in finding out because he believes in forgiveness, moving forward and leaving the past in the past, which are values he teaches to his boxing students.

“What I’ve learned in boxing,” he said, “Is that everybody gets knocked down. But you gotta get back up.”

As members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, culture is important to Ken and the Camel family. Ken plans to seek assistance from Salish Kootenai College students to repair the belt and add custom bead work to it before returning it to Marvin. 

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