Blast from the past: Toweel title fight ends in tragedy

Today SA sports history: March 19

18 March 2021 - 20:51 By david isaacson

Today SA 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 had fought at lightweight shortly before, needed to reduce weight. It was a tough bout but Toweel won when he knocked out Essakow in the 11th round. Essakow lost consciousness and died in hospital three days later. Toweel suffered a breakdown as a result, and was haunted by his friend’s death for the rest of his life...

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