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Canadian History for Kids: George Chuvalo

March 29, 1966 – Canadian heavyweight boxing champion George Chuvalo out pointed by Muhammad Ali in a 15-round slugfest in Toronto.

This Canadian History for Kids exclusive, looks at the amazing career George Chuvalo.

George Chuvalo was Canada’s greatest heavyweight boxer. In a career which spanned three decades and 93 fights, Chuvallo fought 6 world heavyweight champions, and failed in two attempts to capture the World Heavyweight Title.

Born in Ontario to Croatian parents, Chuvalo grew up in The Junction district of west Toronto. Chuvalo attended St. Michael’s College School between 1950 and 1953 following which he attended Humberside Collegiate Institute and became one of the best-known amateur boxers in Toronto.

Chuvalo became Canadian amateur heavyweight champion in May 1955, defeating Winnipeg’s Peter Piper with a first-round KO in a tournament final in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Chuvalo finished his amateur career with a 16-0-0 record, all by KO within four rounds. Nicknamed “Boom Boom”, Chuvalo turned professional in 1956, knocking out four opponents in one night to win a heavyweight tournament held by former world’s champion Jack Dempsey at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on April 26, 1956. Rocky Marciano was one of his trainers in his early career.

On September 15, 1958 he knocked-out James J. Parker in one round to win the Canadian Heavyweight Boxing Title for the first time. Over the next 19 years, Chuvallo would reign 4 more times as Canada’s boxing king.

Canadian History for kids has learned that Chuvalo failed in his first attempt to win the world’s title by losing a 15 round bout to Ernie Terrell in 1965.

Chuvalo is best known for his two fights against Muhammad Ali. He went the distance both times, in each case losing the decision by a wide margin on the scorecards.

The first fight, on March 29, 1966, was for Ali’s world title. “He’s the toughest guy I ever fought”, said Ali of Chuvalo after the fight. Ali’s cornerman, Angelo Dundee, said, “He never stopped coming on … you’ve got to admire a man like that.”

Various articles over the years detail that Ali had painful ribs for weeks after the contest. The second Ali fight was in 1972. Ali—then between his world championship reigns—won an easy decision. It was the last major fight of Chuvalo’s career.

He was defeated by heavyweight champions Floyd Patterson, Ernie Terrell, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Jimmy Ellis and George Foreman. In 93 professional fights, Chuvalo was never knocked off his feet.

He was awarded the C.M. (Member of the Order of Canada) on May 6, 1998 for his services to sports in Canada.

And that’s this week’s Canadian History for Kids, exclusive!

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