Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: George Chuvalo
2015 marks the Year of Sport and the 60th anniversary of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. In recognition of these important milestones, OLM will be featuring Honoured Members of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in a weekly Profile piece.
Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame aims to share the stories and achievements of its Honoured Members to inspire Canadians in all aspects of life.
George Chuvalo: Athlete, Boxing
The greatest Canadian heavyweight athlete of all-time, George Chuvalo is recognized not only for his tough fights within the ring, but also for showing strength against devastating family battles.
Chuvalo was born in Toronto in 1937. While attending high school he became one of the best known amateur boxers in the city and was named the national amateur heavyweight champion at the mere age of 19.
During his 21-year career, Chuvalo fought professionally a total of 97 times. He was never once knocked off his feet, even when matched against some of the best boxers in the world like Muhammad Ali, Floyd Patterson and George Foreman. For this he was ranked fourth on ESPN’s Best Chins in Boxing History. Chuvalo is also a five-time Canadian heavyweight champion and two-time world heavyweight title challenger. He was ranked in the world’s top 10 heavyweight athletes longer than anyone else in the world.
Just as he refused to fall down in a fight, Chuvalo remained standing after experiencing harsh personal devastations. In just over a decade, he lost his wife and one son to suicide and two sons to drug overdose. Chuvalo found inspiration in these tragic losses, and now talks to young people in schools about the dangers of drugs. Chuvalo’s Fight Against Drugs speaking tours stop at elementary and high schools across Canada.
In recognition of his fighting spirit and dedication to preventing the abuse of drugs, he was presented with an Honourary WBC Heavyweight Championship belt in 2006.
Chuvalo currently lives in Toronto with his second wife and son Mitch, who is a successful teacher and coach working at the University of Toronto.
To learn more about Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, visit sportshall.ca.