Willie deWit

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Willie de Wit)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Willie deWit
Personal information
Born (1961-06-13) June 13, 1961 (age 57)
Three Hills, Alberta, Canada
Height6 ft 2 12 in (1.89 m)
Weight210–215 lb (95–98 kg)
Achievements and titles
World finalsWorld Amateur Heavyweight Champion
National finalsCanadian Heavyweight Champion

William Theodore "Willie" deWit, Q.C. (born June 13, 1961) is a Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta sitting in Calgary since 2017. Previously, he was a criminal defence lawyer and a professional boxer. He represented Canada at the 1984 Summer Olympics and won a silver medal in the heavyweight division. DeWit and teammate Shawn O'Sullivan were heavily touted going into the Games, as both had won the world championship.


DeWit played football in high school and was an all-star quarterback. He was offered a scholarship to the University of Alberta, but decided to quit football after growing tired of team sports after losing patience with his high school teammates. He began going to a Grande Prairie health club, which was run by a man named Jim Murrie. At the time, deWit's father Len was terminally ill with a brain tumor so Willie started hitting the heavy bags to stay out of the house and to stay in shape. Impressed with his dedication and size, Murrie introduced deWit to Dr. Harry Snatic, a dentist and rancher who had been a youth boxing coach in Louisiana before moving his family in 1971 to Beaverlodge, a small town near Grande Prairie. He worked out with deWit three times a week, first in the health club, until it went out of business a short time later, and then in the deWit's unheated garage where temperatures would often get to 10 or 20 degrees below zero.

DeWit's first fight came at the Alberta provincial championships, in March 1979 in Medicine Hat. Snatic entered deWit in the light heavyweight intermediate novice division for boxers age 17 to 20 with less than 10 fights. DeWit knocked out his first opponent in 20 seconds—which caused the coaches of the six other fighters in the division to pull their fighters. DeWit had won his first championship. Snatic then entered Willie in the British Columbia Golden Glove championships. where he fought 18-year-old Shane Anderson who was the western Canadian 178-pound champion and a veteran of about 40 fights. DeWit lost by decision. But he did beat Anderson in two of three return matches. In the last of those bouts, deWit knocked out Anderson, who never fought again.

Snatic then took Willie to fight at the Washington State Penitentiary where he knocked out his opponent in the opening minute of the first round, nearly causing a prison riot. Afterwards in April 1982 Snatic decided to sell his ranch and moved to Calgary. deWit went with him in order to find sparring partners, and to train with a Ugandan exile named Mansoor Esmail, who was Calgary's top boxing coach, and was considered a physical-conditioning genius.

Willie's first major victory came in Las Vegas in June 1982 when he knocked out Cuba's Pedro Cardenas to win his first North American title. Then he won gold at the Commonwealth Games; it took him a total of three minutes and 12 seconds to knock out three opponents. In March 1983 he defeated Alexander Yagubkin of the U.S.S.R. to win the world title. Then in September 1983 he defended his North American title against highly touted Cuban Aurelio Toyo. DeWit was not perfect, however, losing a decision to Arnold Vanderlyde in January 1983.

Leading up to the 1984 Olympics, a benefit in Calgary starring boxing fan Ryan O'Neal and Farrah Fawcett raised $70,000 to finance Willie's training. At this point Snatic began importing professional sparring partners from the United States.


At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics deWit lost the gold-medal match to Henry Tillman of the United States. Heading into the Games, deWit and fellow Canadian Shawn O' Sullivan were considered favorites—especially by Canadians—who fully expected deWit to win the gold. DeWit felt the pressure and says that he does not have many good memories of the games.[1]

  • 1st Round: bye
  • Round of 16: Defeated Mohamed Boudchiche of Algeria by decision, 5-0.
  • Quarterfinal: Defeated Dodovic Owiny of Uganda by a first-round knockout.
  • Semifinal: Defeated Arnold Vanderlyde of the Netherlands by decision, 3-2.
  • Final: Lost to Henry Tillman of the United States by decision, 0-5.

Pro career and later life[edit]

Tabbed early as a "Great White Hope", deWit turned professional immediately after the Olympics and was persuaded by a contract offer reportedly worth $5 million, began to train and fight out of Burnet, Texas. He then defeated Ken Lakusta to capture the Canadian heavyweight championship.[2]

DeWit had an otherwise uneventful pro career, and was knocked down four times in a second-round TKO loss to Bert Cooper in 1987. The loss to Cooper was deWit's only career defeat, as he retired after six consecutive wins, the last of which being a unanimous decision victory over Henry Tillman.[3]

After announcing his retirement he started a concrete surfacing company in California, which he eventually left to return to Canada. A friend of his who was a judge, suggested he get an education and become a lawyer. DeWit returned to school and graduated from the University of Alberta in 1994 with a law degree.[2][4] He articled to the Alberta Court of Appeal and the civil law firm of Howard Mackie and was called to the Alberta Bar in September 1995. After practising with Howard Mackie, deWit joined the criminal defence firm of Evans Martin Wilson (now Wolch deWit Watts & Wilson) in 1996. He remains with the firm to this day, and is its longest standing member.[5][2] He was appointed Queen's Counsel (Q.C.) in 2013[6] and is the former president of the Canadian Bar Association Criminal Law subsection.[2]

In 1995 deWit was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. He also has a street named after him in Grande Prairie, Alberta.

In 2012, deWit made a cameo appearance in the Calgary-based Souls in Rhythm band's musical video Another Round (featuring hop-hop artist Transit).[7]

In 2017, deWit was appointed as a Justice to the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta. He sits in Calgary.

Professional boxing record[edit]

21 Wins (14 knockouts, 7 decisions), 1 Loss (1 knockout), 1 Draw [2]
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Win 17-3 United States Henry Tillman UD 10 29/03/1988 Canada Edmonton, Alberta 100-94, 98-94, 97-95.
Win 15-5-1 Canada Tony "The Kid" Morrison UD 10 20/02/1988 Canada Centre 200, Sydney, Nova Scotia Canada Heavyweight Title.
Win 12-1-1 United States Scott Wheaton UD 10 13/12/1987 Canada Calgary, Alberta
Win 16-8 United States Donnie Long RTD 4 03/10/1987 Canada Grande Prairie, Alberta Long did not come out for the fourth round.
Win 16-10 Canada Ken Lakusta KO 5 24/08/1987 Canada Northlands Agricom, Edmonton, Alberta Canada Heavyweight Title. Lakusta knocked out at 2:32 of the fifth round.
Win 13-13 United States Terry Mims KO 2 21/05/1987 United States Arco Arena, Sacramento, California Mims knocked out at 1:35 of the second round.
Loss 15-1 United States Bert Cooper TKO 2 14/02/1987 Canada Regina, Saskatchewan Referee stopped the bout at 2:58 of the second round.
Win 6-2-1 United States Lorenzo Canady TKO 4 13/12/1986 Canada Regina Agridome, Regina, Saskatchewan Referee stopped the bout at 1:04 of the fourth round.
Win 16-9-2 Canada Conroy Nelson TKO 4 10/11/1986 Canada Halifax Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada Heavyweight Title.
Win 9-2-1 United States Andrew Stokes UD 10 30/09/1986 Canada Agridome, Edmonton, Alberta 100-91, 100-92, 99-92.
Win 16-8 Canada Ken Lakusta UD 12 14/06/1986 Canada Northlands Coliseum, Edmonton, Alberta Canada Heavyweight Title. 116-114, 120-111, 118-113.
Win 10-0 United States Mike Acey TKO 3 03/05/1986 Canada Regina Agridome, Regina, Saskatchewan
Win 17-5 United States Jeff "Blonde Bomber" Jordan RTD 4 20/03/1986 Canada Stampede Corral, Calgary, Alberta Jordan did not come out for the fifth round.
Win 10-0 United States George Graham TKO 2 03/02/1986 Canada Northlands Agricom, Edmonton, Alberta
Win 12-0-1 United States Scott Wheaton UD 10 13/12/1985 Canada Stampede Corral, Calgary, Alberta
Win 10-8-2 United States Otis Bates KO 3 03/10/1985 United States Austin, Texas
Win 3-0-1 United States Marion Bridges TKO 2 11/09/1985 United States Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 6-2-1 United States Earl Lewis TKO 3 11/07/1985 United States Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey Referee stopped the bout at 2:00 of the third round.
Win 5-4-1 United States Sterling Benjamin UD 6 05/06/1985 United States Resorts Casino Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Draw 5-1-1 Canada Alex Williamson PTS 6 15/04/1985 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada 59-55, 56-57, 57-57.
Win 19-12-1 Tonga Tony Pelu KO 2 05/03/1985 United States Dallas Convention Center Arena, Dallas, Texas Pelu knocked out at 2:49 of the second round.
Win 2-1 United States Inoke Katoa TKO 4 24/01/1985 United States Showboat Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
Win 0-2 United States Walter E.M. Morris TKO 2 01/12/1984 Canada Northlands Coliseum, Edmonton, Alberta


  1. ^ 'Aren't you the guy who lost at the Olympics?'[dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d "Willie deWit, Q.C.,". Wolch deWit Watts & Wilson. Wolch deWit Watts & Wilson. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  3. ^ "Names in the News". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ DeWit starred in boxing arena before moving on to a legal one
  6. ^ "Province appoints new Queen's Counsel". Alberta.ca: Announcements. Province of Alberta. December 31, 2013. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  7. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Li0okJQGrAQ

External links[edit]