Blasts from the past: That haunting day for Toweel
On this day in sporting history
Today in sports history: March 19
1956 — Willie Toweel fights friend Hubert Essakow in their ill-fated contest at the Johannesburg city hall. Toweel comes in heavier than his opponent after losing his SA featherweight title on the scales. Essakow, who has fought at lightweight recently, has reduced weight. It’s a tough bout but Toweel wins when he knocks out Essakow in the 11th round. Essakow loses consciousness and dies in hospital three days later. Toweel suffers a breakdown as a result, and is haunted by his friend’s death for the rest of his life.
1966 — Kimberley residents raise R1,000 so swimming coach Frank Gray can accompany his world record-breaking star, Karen Muir, when she competes in Milan later in the month. Rand Daily Mail columnist Paul Irwin had suggested Gray accompany his protege, and soon a “Send Frank Gray Fund” had become official. The money was raised inside five days.1977 — In one of the bigger mismatches seen in a local ring, heavyweight Gerrie Coetzee blows away former light-heavyweight contender Pierre Fourie in the third round of their bout. It was the only stoppage defeat for Fourie, who failed in four bids for the world light-heavyweight title, twice against American Bob Foster and twice against Victor Galindez of Argentina. Fourie admitted later that he knew he would be outgunned by Coetzee, saying he took the fight for the money. He hung up his gloves after that.
1999 — Sugarboy Malinga, by now 43 years old, is stopped on a 10th round technical knockout to lose the peripheral WBF super-middleweight title to Mads Larsen in Denmark. It was the third occasion Malinga had been a world champion — he had twice owned the WBC crown before — and every time he lost in his first defence.