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Willie Toweel

Full name: Willie Michael Toweel
Gender: Male
Born: April 6, 1934 in Benoni, Gauteng, South Africa
Affiliations: Michael Toweel Gymnasium / Benoni Boxing Club
Country: RSA South Africa
Sport: Boxing

Related Olympians: Brother of Vic Toweel.

Medals: 1 Bronze (1 Total)


A member of a prominent boxing family that included another Olympian, his brother [Vic], Willie Toweel took up boxing full time in 1948 and earned his first of five consecutive East Rand Transvaal Junior and Senior Championships that year. The height of his amateur career came when he was selected to represent South Africa at the 1952 Summer Olympics as a flyweight. He won his first four bouts against [Kornel Molnár] of Hungary, [Leslie Handunge] of Sri Lanka, [Al Asuncion] of the Philippines, and [Han Su-An] of South Korea, before being stopped by eventual gold medalist [Nate Brooks] of the United States. His semi-final loss, however, earned him one of the two bronze medals, the other going to the Soviet Union’s [Anatoly Bulakov].

Toweel turned professional the following year and won his first 20 fights, which included defeating Kalla Persson for the vacant Transvaal bantamweight title, Matthew Raaff for the vacant South African bantamweight title, Jackie O'Connor in defense of that title, and Tony Lombard for the vacant South African featherweight title. He defended the latter title twice in 1955, against Louis Klopper and Henry Bruyns, before being dealt his first loss in a bout for the British Empire and South African lightweight titles against [Johnny van Rensburg]. Six months later, however, Toweel defeated van Rensburg in a rematch to claim the titles and held him to a draw in a third bout. He held the titles for nearly three years, fending off additional challenges from Richie Howard, van Rensburg, and Dave Charnley, before finally losing it to Charnley in a rematch. In 1960 Toweel bested Benny Nieuwenhuizen in a bout for the vacant South African welterweight title, but lost it to Jannie Botes less than a month later due to a disqualification. After losing a final fight to Emile Griffith, Toweel retired with a record of 46-6-2. He then moved on to a successful career as a boxing trainer, whose students included professional world champions Brian Mitchell and Thulani Malinga.


Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1952 Summer 18 Helsinki Boxing Men's Flyweight South Africa RSA 3T Bronze

Men's Flyweight

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank Date Result JF MR
1952 Summer 18 Helsinki Boxing South Africa RSA Semi-Finals Match #2 2 1952-08-01 Brooks (USA) , Toweel (RSA) 0
1952 Summer 18 Helsinki Boxing South Africa RSA Quarter-Finals Match #1 1 1952-07-31 Toweel (RSA) , Han (KOR) 3 decision
1952 Summer 18 Helsinki Boxing South Africa RSA Round One Match #9 1 Toweel (RSA) , Molnár (HUN) 3 decision
1952 Summer 18 Helsinki Boxing South Africa RSA Round Two (Redraw) Match #8 1 1952-07-31 Toweel (RSA) , Asuncion (PHI) 2 decision
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