Charlie Stewart is a pillar of the local boxing community. A strong fighter himself in the 1970s, he developed several champion fighters with the Windsor Amateur Boxing Club (WABC) and the Canadian national boxing program.
Stewart was born in Dresden, Ontario on August 29, 1941 to Morley, a minister, and Virginia, a missionary. He was one of nine siblings. Stewart was raised in Amherstburg, where his family moved when he was five years of age.
At General Amherst High School, Stewart excelled in basketball and track and field. In basketball, he played on two ECSSA Champion teams. In the latter sport, Stewart competed in the 100-, 220-, and 440-yard dashes plus triple jump and high jump. He won two ECSSA and WOSSA silver medals in the 440 and, despite standing only 5’6”, set a high jump record. In the summers, Stewart played baseball and softball for Amherstburg in Essex County leagues.
Stewart joined Amherstburg Boxing Club at age 14 and immediately won his first four bouts. He attended Canadian Army Training Camp in Ipperwash, Ontario, where he won the Canadian Cadet Title in the 130lb class despite weighing only 112lb. He was selected as the camp’s Most Outstanding Boxer. Unfortunately, Stewart was prohibited from continuing in the sport once his father found out he was boxing.
In 1970, Stewart joined the WABC as a fighter. He also trained, coached, and handled corner duties for the club’s other boxers. In the two ensuing years, Stewart won 28 of 30 fights in Windsor, Detroit, Sarnia, and Chatham, becoming Ontario Southwestern and Eastern Canadian Heavyweight Champion.
In 1972, Stewart defeated Jerry Day in Saskatoon for the Canadian Light-Heavyweight Title, which qualified him for the national Olympic team. Unfortunately, due to finances, the Canadian Olympic Committee decided to take to Munich only the five boxers they felt were most likely to win a medal. Stewart was first alternate. Stewart was 35 in 1976, which meant he exceeded the age limit for the Montreal Olympics.
In 1973, Stewart turned professional. He lost his first fight, but he then won 15 consecutive bouts before retiring as a boxer in 1982.
Stewart immediately began to coach boxing with the WABC and Team Canada. In 1992, after retiring from General Motors, he was able to devote 60 hours per week to the club and its young boxers. In 1993, following the death of Jerry McCarthy, Stewart was named President of the WABC. He still held the position at the time of his induction into the Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame.
In 1997, Michigan Golden Gloves (MGG) named Stewart Coach-of-the-Year after seven of his boxers won MGG titles. Canadians were barred from competing in MGG events from that year forward.
In 1999, three of Stewart’s boxers qualified for the 11-person Ontario team at the Canada Summer Games. It was the first time any boxing club qualified so many fighters to the provincial team.
That same year, Stewart founded the East Windsor Amateur Boxing Club (EWABC), a subsidiary of WABC, to provide an opportunity for residents of East Windsor to train. Previously, many were unable to easily secure transportation to the WABC’s West Windsor facility.
Also in 1999, Stewart completed a Level 5 Coaching Certification. Canada’s highest accreditation for boxing trainers, it allowed him to coach at the Olympic level.
Stewart won Ontario Boxing’s Coach-of-the-Year Award in 2000 and ’01. He was one of Team Canada’s three boxing coaches at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Canada won eight matches, which was the country’s highest ever total.
As Team Canada coach, Stewart has taken boxers to Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Puerto Rico, and Germany. Jason Hurst and Andrew Singh Kooner, two WABC boxers, joined Stewart on the national team in 2001.
Stewart is highly regarded in the boxing profession. He arranged for Hurt and Adam Trupish, another of his boxers, to compete against top boxers in Russia. Each Windsor fighter won his bout. Over the years, many coaches have sent their boxers to work with Stewart in Windsor for six- to eight-week training stints.
Under Stewart’s leadership, the WABC instituted a program through which its boxers visit area elementary schools and speak to students about the importance of hard work and dedication.
As coach of the Windsor Amateur Boxing Club, Stewart has produced many champions. A partial list follows:
- Five-time Ontario Champion
- Two-time Canadian Junior Champion (1994, ’95)
- Canadian Intermediate Champion (’96)
- Canadian Champion, 63.5 kg (’98)
- Michigan Amateur Lightweight Champion (’98)
- Canadian Senior Open Champion (’99) [defeated two-time Olympian Mike Strange]
- Canadian Championships Silver Medal, 156lb (2002)
- Eight-time Ontario Champion
- Six-time Silver Medalist, Canadian Championships
- Two-time Canadian Champion, 178lb (2001, ’02)
Andrew Singh Kooner
- 8-time Canadian Champion: Senior (3), Junior (3), Intermediate (2)
- First Windsor boxer at a World Championship (1999), Olympic Games (2000), and Commonwealth Games (’02)
- Bronze Medal, Commonwealth Games (’98)
- Silver Medal, Commonwealth Games (’02)
- Four-time Ontario Champion
- Two-time Silver Medalist, Canadian Championships
- Bronze Medal, Canada Winter Games (1999)
- Canadian Middleweight Champion (1996)
- Canadian Women’s Champion, 119lb (1999)
- Silver Medal, Canadian Championships, 147lb (2002)