We used to hear a lot about Willie de Wit around here.
The Canadian boxer trained in Beaverlodge with coach Dr. Harry Snatic, who guided the young talent through Alberta Provincial, Golden Glove and North American championships. Then de Wit won gold at the Commonwealth Games and captured the World title.
Willie de Wit seemed like a sure thing for the upcoming 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Ryan O’Neal and Farrah Fawcett starred in a benefit in Calgary to raise money for his training, and Snatic ramped up the heat. de Wit did, indeed, enter the ring and fight the gold medal match against American Henry Tillman, and he brought the shining silver back home to Canada. A road was named for him in Grande Prairie.
Turning professional, de Wit won the Canadian heavyweight championship and ended his boxing career after six consecutive wins: the last was a triumph over Henry Tillman.
What does a retired boxer do? Well, if he’s Willie de Wit, he changes tack entirely and becomes a lawyer. After graduating from the University of Alberta in 1994 and being called to the Alberta Bar in 1995 (coincidentally the same year he was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame), de Wit joined a firm and has been with them ever since.
He is still, one can imagine, an intimidating opponent, although you don’t hear as much about a lawyer as you do about a boxer around here.