Willie de Wit
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June 13, 1961 |
Three Hills, Alberta, Canada
|Height||6 ft 2 1⁄2 in (1.89 m)|
|Weight||210–215 lb (95–98 kg)|
|Achievements and titles|
|World finals||World Amateur Heavyweight Champion|
|National finals||Canadian Heavyweight Champion|
William Theodore "Willie" de Wit (born June 13, 1961) is a Canadian criminal defence lawyer and former professional boxer. He represented Canada at the 1984 Summer Olympics and won a silver medal in the heavyweight division. De Wit and teammate Shawn O'Sullivan were heavily touted going into the Games, as both had won the world championship.
De Wit 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, de Wit'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 de Wit 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 which is a small village near Grande Prairie, who worked out with de Wit three times a week, first in the health club, until it went out of business a short time later, and then in the de Wits' unheated garage where temperatures would often get to 10 or 20 degrees below zero.
De Wit'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. De Wit knocked out his first opponent in 20 seconds—which caused the coaches of the six other fighters in the division to pull their fighters. De Wit 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. De Wit lost by decision. But he did beat Anderson in two of three return matches. In the last of those bouts, de Wit 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. de Wit 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 Aleksandr 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. De Wit 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 de Wit lost the gold medal match to Henry Tillman of the United States. Heading into the games, de Wit and fellow Canadian Shawn O' Sullivan were considered favorites, especially by Canadians who fully expected de Wit to win the gold. De Wit felt the pressure and says that he does not have many good memories of the games.
Pro career and later life
Tabbed early as a "Great White Hope", de Wit turned professional immediately after the Olympics and 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.
De Wit 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 de Wit's only career defeat, as he retired after six consecutive wins, the last of which being a unanimous decision victory over Henry Tillman.
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. De Wit returned to school and graduated from the University of Alberta in 1994 with a law degree. 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, de Wit 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.
Professional boxing record
|21 Wins (14 knockouts, 7 decisions), 1 Loss (1 knockout), 1 Draw |
|Win||17-3||Henry Tillman||UD||10||29/03/1988||Edmonton, Alberta||100-94, 98-94, 97-95.|
|Win||15-5-1||Tony "The Kid" Morrison||UD||10||20/02/1988||Centre 200, Sydney, Nova Scotia||Canada Heavyweight Title.|
|Win||12-1-1||Scott Wheaton||UD||10||13/12/1987||Calgary, Alberta|
|Win||16-8||Donnie Long||RTD||4||03/10/1987||Grande Prairie, Alberta||Long did not come out for the fourth round.|
|Win||16-10||Ken Lakusta||KO||5||24/08/1987||Northlands Agricom, Edmonton, Alberta||Canada Heavyweight Title. Lakusta knocked out at 2:32 of the fifth round.|
|Win||13-13||Terry Mims||KO||2||21/05/1987||Arco Arena, Sacramento, California||Mims knocked out at 1:35 of the second round.|
|Loss||15-1||Bert Cooper||TKO||2||14/02/1987||Regina, Saskatchewan||Referee stopped the bout at 2:58 of the second round.|
|Win||6-2-1||Lorenzo Canady||TKO||4||13/12/1986||Regina Agridome, Regina Saskatchewan||Referee stopped the bout at 1:04 of the fourth round.|
|Win||16-9-2||Conroy Nelson||TKO||4||10/11/1986||Halifax Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia||Canada Heavyweight Title.|
|Win||9-2-1||Andrew Stokes||UD||10||30/09/1986||Agridome, Edmonton, Alberta||100-91, 100-92, 99-92.|
|Win||16-8||Ken Lakusta||UD||12||14/06/1986||Northlands Coliseum, Edmonton, Alberta||Canada Heavyweight Title. 116-114, 120-111, 118-113.|
|Win||10-0||Mike Acey||TKO||3||03/05/1986||Regina Agridome, Regina, Saskatchewan|
|Win||17-5||Jeff "Blonde Bomber" Jordan||RTD||4||20/03/1986||Stampede Corral, Calgary, Alberta||Jordan did not come out for the fifth round.|
|Win||10-0||George Graham||TKO||2||03/02/1986||Northlands Agricom, Edmonton, Alberta|
|Win||12-0-1||Scott Wheaton||UD||10||13/12/1985||Stampede Corral, Calgary, Alberta|
|Win||10-8-2||Otis Bates||KO||3||03/10/1985||Austin, Texas|
|Win||3-0-1||Marion Bridges||TKO||2||11/09/1985||Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey|
|Win||6-2-1||Earl Lewis||TKO||3||11/07/1985||Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey||Referee stopped the bout at 2:00 of the third round.|
|Win||5-4-1||Sterling Benjamin||UD||6||05/06/1985||Resorts Casino Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey|
|Draw||5-1-1||Alex Williamson||PTS||6||15/04/1985||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada||59-55, 56-57, 57-57.|
|Win||19-12-1||Tony Pelu||KO||2||05/03/1985||Dallas Convention Center Arena, Dallas, Texas||Pelu knocked out at 2:49 of the second round.|
|Win||2-1||Inoke Katoa||TKO||4||24/01/1985||Showboat Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada|
|Win||0-2||Walter E.M. Morris||TKO||2||01/12/1984||Northlands Coliseum, Edmonton, Alberta|
- DeWit starred in boxing arena before moving on to a legal one
- 'Aren't you the guy who lost at the Olympics?'[dead link]
- "Names in the News". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
- [dead link]
- DeWit starred in boxing arena before moving on to a legal one
- de Wit's Calgary Law Firm
- Willie de Wit at The Canadian Encyclopedia
- Professional boxing record for Willie de Wit from BoxRec
- Canadian Olympic Committee