Winston native, boxing ‘champ’ seeks answers

Winston native, boxing ‘champ’ seeks answers
January 04
04:00 2018

Charles Boston, a Winston-Salem native, is a former boxer who has been in the ring with some of the all-time greats such as Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Earnie Shavers.  Following his boxing career Boston has hit a few speed bumps and is now looking for some answers so his complete story can be told his way.

Boston got into boxing in his early 20s after going to see a few of his friends box.  He says he was instantly drawn to the sport because of the “pretty girls who showed up” and wanted those girls to flock to him.

“I saw that the girls were huddling around both of the fighters and one of them lost,” Boston said.  “I just thought to myself that could be me, so I went to the gym and started training.”

By all accounts Boston was known as a hard-hitting heavyweight boxer that could handle his own with anyone in the ring.  He was also known around the city as “The Big Bull” and “The Tank” due to his ability to take punches like Joe Frazier.  He finished his career with a 10-10-1 record with seven KOs.

Boston described his fighting style as being a cross between the contrasting styles of former heavyweight champions Sonny Liston and Joe Frazier.   

“I fight a lot like Frazier,” he said in an interview in 1973 before a three-round exhibition with Ali.  “I believe in Frazier but when I fight, I’m somewhere between his style and Liston’s.  When it comes to hitting, I’d rather be like Liston but when it comes to slipping and ducking, I’m like Frazier.”

Boston remembers his boxing career fondly but what transpired afterward it what keeps him up at night.  On March 22, 1994, he and an accomplice were arrested for felonious larceny for stealing men’s suits from a J. Riggins store in Greensboro.

Each man was originally charged with stealing two suits apiece but somehow once the indictment came, Boston was charged with stealing all four of the suits, which constituted a felony.  He was subsequently sentenced to 16 years in prison while the other defendant was let go.

“They kept me in there for eight years and they messed with my mind by giving me all sorts of medicine to distract me,” Boston said. 

Boston claims he was beaten up by other inmates while imprisoned and he did not receive proper medical attention.  He is not denying the crime, but feels taken advantage of because it was never explained to him why the other defendant was let go while he was charged with the theft alone.

He feels as though he should have been charged with a misdemeanor because the amount he actually had taken from the store was under the $1,000 threshold.  His only wish is to have his court decision corrected.

Beyond getting a new trial, Boston would also like to find the film of the sparring session he and Ali had in Virginia.  He says that exhibition was the one of the highlights of his boxing career.

“When I boxed Ali, I hit him with a right hand and I knocked him down,” Boston continued.  “I went into it thinking he was just a man just like me and I want to prove to everyone what I did.”

“I remember I had to chase him all over the ring, which made me think that I’m chasing him and he has the name.  Ali was quick and fast and probably the biggest quick guy I have ever seen.  He had one of the best jabs ever and always put that jab in his opponents face.”

When asked what he misses most about boxing, Boston said, “The excitement and the training.  The rewards you get were great and it wasn’t all about the money. It was more about people putting you on a pedestal.  To this day, people still yell ‘Hey, champ!’ when they see me.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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