George Chuvalo was born in Toronto, Canada on September 12, 1937, where his parents Stipan and Katica arrived as immigrants from Herzegovina, after growing up in the municipality of Ljubuški.
During his career, he fought twice for the world title, and in total he did 93 fights, including the one with the greatest boxers of all time, Muhammad Ali, Joe Fraizer and George Foreman. The fact that he was never knocked to the floor and never knocked out speaks of his greatness. And when, after a series of received blows, they stopped his matches, he would stand on his feet.
The legendary Rocky Marciano best described the Canadian fighter with Croatian roots who was above all known for his endurance: “If every fight lasted 45 rounds, George Chuvalo would be the greatest boxer of all time”.
He started his professional career in 1956 and immediately showed his potential.
Chuvalo’s fight against Ali for the world title in 1966 was particularly fascinating because of the fact that he only found out he was going to fight 17 days before the fight. Chuvalo lost by decision of the judges. Muhammad Ali, however, stated that Chuvalo was “the toughest fighter he has ever faced.” As Chuvalo himself said: “After the fight Ali was the one who went to the hospital… And me? I went dancing with my wife. There is no doubt who did better”.
George Foreman and Joe Fraizer took him down during the first four rounds, but neither knocked him down nor knocked him out, forcing the referee to stop the bout, even though Chuvalo was on his feet and wanted to continue the fight.
That’s why he once declared: “I’ve kissed many girls, but I’ve never kissed the floor.”
He ended his 22-year career with 73 wins, 18 losses and two undecided fights.
Family tragedies devastated him, but he continued to fight through life. From 1985 to 1996, he lost his three sons and his wife, Lynn. He was comforted by his friend Joanne O’Hara, whom he married in 1995.
A monument to Chuval was unveiled in Ljubuški in 2011, and he was present at the opening. “Part of my heart and part of my soul will forever be here, in Ljubuški, my parents’ hometown, which I think about very often, and which I will think about even more often from today,” he said on that occasion.