Condolences are pouring in for late South African boxing legend and trainer Willie Toweel who reportedly passed on Christmas day at the age of 83.
Toweel was born in Benoni, Gauteng on 6 April 1934.
He began his professional boxing career in 1953.
Willie fought Matthew Raaff for the SA Bantamweight title at Feather Market Hall in Port Elizabeth and knocked him out in the seventh round.
In the following year, in 1954, he won the vacant SA Featherweight title after beating Tony Lombard over 12 rounds.
Moving up to the Welterweight division, Toweel fought Len Matthews at Madison Square Garden on 20 November 1959. He made history and became the first South African to top the bill.
Following his retirement as a professional boxer, he went on to become a boxing trainer.
Paying tribute to him, one of his trainees Brian Mitchell told EWN Toweel assisted him in winning some of his titles.
“Willie Toweel was my trainer and manager for many years and made me a South African champion and he will be sorely missed in boxing. He’s been out of the fight game for quite a while but the name Willie Toweel will always be remembered in professional boxing,” Mitchell said.
He was reportedly also a manager and trainer for Thulani “Sugarboy” Malinga.