Willie deWit

  (Redirected from Willie DeWitt)

William Theodore 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.

Willie deWit
Personal information
Born (1961-06-13) June 13, 1961 (age 60)
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
Medal record
Men's Boxing
Representing  Canada
Olympic Games
Silver medal – second place 1984 Los Angeles Heavyweight
Commonwealth Games
Gold medal – first place 1982 Brisbane Heavyweight
World Cup
Bronze medal – third place 1983 Rome Heavyweight

Early yearsEdit

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 he began learning how to box at a Grande Prairie health club which was run by a man named Jim Murrie. 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, and then in the deWit's unheated garage where temperatures would often get to 10 or 20 degrees below zero.

Amateur boxing careerEdit

DeWit's first fight came at the Alberta provincial championships in March of 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 Gloves 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. 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, taking 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.

Leading up to the 1984 Olympics, a benefit in Calgary featuring 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.

1984 OlympicsEdit

At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics deWit lost the gold medal match in the heavyweight division to Henry Tillman of the United States. Heading into the Olympic Games, deWit and fellow Canadian Shawn O'Sullivan were considered favorites, particularly by Canadian fans and the Canadian media. The Tillman-deWit gold medal final featured no decisive blows, however deWit appeared to win the first two rounds against Tillman with productive work to Tillman's midsection, although Tillman clearly won the third round. Nevertheless, Tillman won by a 5-0 decision. Three of the five judges controversially scored every round for Tillman. The unanimous decision startled Howard Cosell who was calling the bout for ABC Sports. "Good Lord! How do you like that?" Cosell blurted when the decision was announced. During his post-fight interviews, Cosell informed both Tillman and deWit that he personally disagreed with the official verdict. Tillman had also won a controversial decision in his semifinal bout, as had deWit.

Olympic resultsEdit

  • 1st Round: bye
  • Round of 16: Defeated Mohamed Bouchiche of Algeria by unanimous decision, 5–0
  • Quarterfinal: Defeated Dodovic Owiny of Uganda by a first-round knockout
  • Semifinal: Defeated Arnold Vanderlyde of the Netherlands by split decision, 3–2
  • Final: Lost to Henry Tillman of the United States by unanimous decision, 0–5 (was awarded silver medal)

Professional boxing careerEdit

Tabbed early as a "Great White Hope," deWit turned professional immediately, persuaded in part by a contract offer reportedly worth $1 million and began to train out of Burnet, Texas. He then defeated Ken Lakusta to capture the Canadian heavyweight championship.[1]

A loss to Bert Cooper in 1987 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.[2]

Retirement and later lifeEdit

After announcing his retirement he worked and was part owner in 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.[3][1] He was appointed Queen's Counsel (Q.C.) in 2013[4] and is the former president of the Canadian Bar Association Criminal Law subsection.[1]

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).[5]

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

Professional boxing recordEdit

21 Wins (14 knockouts, 7 decisions), 1 Loss (1 knockout), 1 Draw [1]
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
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

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Willie deWit, Q.C." Wolch deWit Watts & Wilson. Wolch deWit Watts & Wilson. Archived from the original on March 7, 2017. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  2. ^ "Names in the News". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  3. ^ He was called to the Alberta Bar in September 1995. After practising with Howard Mackie Firm for a few months deWit joined the criminal defence firm of Evans Martin Wilson (now Wolch deWit Watts & Wilson) in 1996. "lawyersweekly.ca">[http://www.lawyersweekly.ca/index.php?section=article&articleid=2076 [https://web.archive.org/web/20130413082352/http://www.lawyersweekly.ca/index.php?section=article Archived 2013-04-13 at the Wayback Machine DeWit starred in boxing arena before moving on to a legal one]
  4. ^ "Province appoints new Queen's Counsel". Alberta.ca: Announcements. Province of Alberta. December 31, 2013. Archived from the original on March 7, 2017. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  5. ^ SOULS IN RHYTHM - ANOTHER ROUND (featuring Transit) - (Official), archived from the original on 2017-04-07, retrieved 2020-04-13

External linksEdit