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The next Canadian Heavyweight Champion?

George Chuvalo is the greatest Canadian Heavyweight champion of all-time. Noted for his toughness, he fought all the greats and nobody – not Joe Frazier, George Foreman or even Muhammad Ali – ever knocked him out. Outside the ring, however, life dealt Chuvalo several crushing body blows: he lost three sons to drug addiction and his wife to suicide. Yet, just like in the ring, Chuvalo has refused to go down by using his story of personal pain to help others fight drug addiction. Remarkably George Chuvalo, the People's Champion, is still standing.

He's young, he's tough and he's the hottest up-and-comer in Canadian boxing: George Chuvalo. Known for his incredible punching power and ability to absorb punishment, Chuvalo is the top contender for the Canadian Heavyweight title. Most fight experts agree he has a bright future ahead of him and is limited only by his dreams. In this CBC Television clip, the granite-jawed Chuvalo talks about his quest to win the Canadian crown and explains why he chose boxing as a career.

"I used to dream of being a champion," says the Toronto-born fighter. "The thrill of combat, the thrill of winning, it's just [something] I know I want to do." When reporter Charles Templeton asks which fighter he idolized growing up and patterns himself after, the young pugilist doesn't hesitate in answering: "I've always liked Joe Louis. Whenever he knocked a man down he looked like a god going back to his corner." 
• George Chuvalo was born Sept. 12, 1937. Growing up in the tough Junction neighbourhood of Toronto he began amateur boxing as a teenager before turning pro in 1956. He fought Howard King, Bob Baker and several other fighters over the next two years, working his way up the Canadian heavyweight rankings. On Sept. 15, 1958 Chuvalo realized his dream: winning the Canadian Heavyweight title after knocking out James Parker in Toronto in the first round.

• A knockout (KO) in boxing is when a fighter is knocked down to the canvas by his opponent and can't get back to his feet within ten seconds. A technical knockout (TKO) is when the referee rules that a fighter has been hurt badly enough that he can no longer continue.
• "[The James Parker] fight took place three days after my 21st birthday and ended with a KO in two minutes flat. It was Yom Kippur and I wanted to send referee Sammy Luftspring (who was Jewish) home early along with Parker." - George Chuvalo.

• During his first reign as champion, Chuvalo defended the title against New Brunswick's Yvon Durelle (a former Canadian Light Heavyweight champion) on Nov. 17, 1959 in Toronto. Chuvalo knocked out Durelle, nicknamed "The Fighting Fisherman," in the twelfth round. Chuvalo lost the title to Bob Cleroux on Aug. 17, 1960 in Montreal, but regained it from Cleroux three months later. Chuvalo lost the title to Cleroux again on Aug. 8, 1961 in Toronto.

• "As a kid, I remember when I first opened up a Ring magazine. It was the first time I'd ever seen anything about boxing, heard anything about boxing or even knowing about boxing. For me it was like when a kid opens up the centrefold of Playboy. To me, it was like "wow, this is it!" I thought it was like the greatest thing in the world." - George Chuvalo in an interview with boxing reporter Barry Lindenman.
Medium: Television
Program: Close-Up
Broadcast Date: Feb. 9, 1958
Guest(s): George Chuvalo
Host: J. Frank Willis
Reporter: Charles Templeton
Duration: 6:16

Last updated: March 26, 2013

Page consulted on February 21, 2014

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