Home Boxing History The Rise and Challenges of Charles (Charlie) Weir: South Africa’s ‘Silver Assassin

The Rise and Challenges of Charles (Charlie) Weir: South Africa’s ‘Silver Assassin

Charles (Charlie) Weir

Name: Charles (Charlie) Weir
Born: 26 November 1956 Kimberley, South Africa
Died: 19 June 1992
Career: 1977 to 1982
Record: 34 fights 31 wins (28 by KO/TKO), Losses 3 (all by KO/TKO)
Division: Super Welterweight, Middleweight
Stance: Although a natural left hander he fought from an Orthodox stance
Titles: South African (White) Middleweight
Major Contests
Scored wins over: Joseph Hali, Mike Hallacy, Doug Lumley, Mike Baker*, Kevin Finnegan, Mike Colbert, Joseph Sishi, Steve Gregory*, Tyrone Rackley, Jerry Cheatham, Clement Tshinza, Manning Galloway**
Lost to: Joseph Hali, Elijah Makhathini, Davey Moore**
Drew with
**Past/ future holder of a version of a world title
* Unsuccessful challenger for a version of a world title

Charlie Weir’s Story

Charles Henry Hughwright Weir was one of the most popular and biggest drawcards in South Africa. He was known as the “Silver Assassin” due to a white streak in his hair arising from a cut to his head when in his childhood. He was one of five children having a brother and three sisters. His father introduced Charlie and brother Donald to a local boxing club in Kimberley. Both brothers won South African Junior titles but only Charlie continued with boxing. He was just 17 and still a junior when he won the South African lightweight title in 1973 and then also won the welterweight title in 1974 and the light middleweight title in 1975 and 1976. He had to serve compulsory military service and won the Defence Force Championships in 1975. He turned professional in August 1977 at the age of 20. He had shown his explosive power as an amateur so there was plenty of interest in whether he would bring that power with him as a professional. Weir answered that question winning his first three fights by knockout in the first round and went on to win his next four fight inside the distance and was voted “Prospect of the Year”. Power punchers create excitement with the anticipation of a sudden explosion but if there is also a vulnerability then that adds another dimension to the suspense and sometimes that vulnerability makes a fighter an even bigger draw. There were questions about Weir’s punch resistance but it was still a surprise when he was stopped in five rounds by the more experienced Josph Hali who in his most recent action had lost 6 of his last 7 fights. Weir’s trainer Willie Toweel threw in the towel to save Weir. Weir gained his revenge in April 1978 stopping Hali in two rounds. He then put together a run of ten wins including good quality/experienced opposition such as in Mike Hallacy, Mike Baker and Kevin Finnegan and won the South African (White) middleweight title. In April 1979 Weir was matched against danger man Elijah Makhathini famed for the power in his left hook. The fight drew a crowd of 20.000. That left hook was the decider as Makhathini put Weir down and out in the eighth round. Weir then parted from Toweel and his new manager sent him to the USA to train under Cus D’Amato. It was ten months before Weir fought again and his explosive punching saw him rack up 13 consecutive inside the distance victories with 10 of them coming in the first three rounds of the fight. Good level opponents such as Joseph Sishi, Ray Hammond, Steve Michalerya , Steve Gregory, Tyrone Rackley’ Jerry Cheatham and Clement Tshinza were in his list of victories. That run earned Weir a shot at newly crowned WBA super welter champion Davey Moore who had knocked out Tadashi Mihara in six round in February 1982 to win the title in only his ninth fight. The Moore vs. Weir fight was such a huge fight that it was staged in the Ellis Park Rugby Stadium in Johannesburg. Weir boxed well in the first but a left to the head floored him in the second. As the fight continued Moore scored three more knockdowns and when Weir went down again in the fifth the fight was stopped.
Weir had two more fights in 1982 halting Coenie Bekker in two rounds and future WBO welterweight champion Manning Galloway in seven. He then retired and did not fight again. He tragically died in June 1992 at the age of 35 after a long battle with cancer. He left his wife Linda, two sons Charles (Jnr) and Tyron and a daughter Melissa. Weir’s power and charisma made him a huge figure in South Africa. South Africa’s No 1 promoter Rodney Berman summed up Weir’s impact by saying “In all my 42 years in the sport, Charlie Weir remains my biggest drawcard.”.