From The Squared Circle To The Red Carpet: Chuck Walker

1976 USA Boxing Olympic Boxing Team member Chuck Walker visited with the El Tigre Promotions team last night at their annual Christmas party, which also served as a retirement party for “Iron” Alicio Castaneda.

Also present at the event were Alfonso ” El Tigre” Lopez, Chris Stalder and Felix Ramirez of El Tigre Promotions, Gina and Lorena of Pure LG Biz and El Tigre Promotions, American Boxing Organization (ABO) President Juan Curiel, as well as Robin Lane, who came to represent his uncles Roy and Henry Harris.

Walker and Castaneda, along with El Tigre Promotions President Alfonso “El Tigre” Lopez shared the same great trainer, Henry Harris, out of Cut and Shoot, Texas.

ABO President Juan Curiel also used the occasion to present The American Boxing Organization Community Champion Award to Alicio Castaneda for his dedication to the sport of boxing as a competitor in amateur and professional boxing over the years, as well as his work with the local youth as a mentor and boxing coach.

El Tigre Promotions Christmas party/retirement party for Alicio Castaneda. 📸 El Tigre Promotions

Walker spends his time these days between Conroe, Texas and Los Angeles, California, where he and business partner Sam Cable run a movie production company Walker-Cable Productions.

Robin Lane, Alicio Castaneda and Chuck Walker

That historic 1976 USA Boxing Olympic Team brought home five gold medals, one silver and one bronze. The team would later produce five professional world champions including three heavyweight champions and two Hall of Famers.

Although a good argument can be made for the 1984 team, the 76′ team achieved their Olympic accomplishments while also facing the Russian and Cuban teams, which the 84′ team did not, due to the Russian and Cuban teams boycotting the 84 games.

Walker shared many stories from his amateur and professional career throughout dinner and later was also interviewed by Gina Stalder of El Tigre Promotions. During that interview, he covered several topics including safety in boxing, his movie production company, and gave some advice to local Olympic hopefulls and 2020 USA Boxing Olympic Team Trials Champions Virginia “Ginny” Fuchs (112 pounds) and Darius Fulghum (201) pounds.

Chuck Walker interviewed by Gina from El Tigre Promotions. *video courtesy of El Tigre Promotions*

On behalf of Clutch City Boxing, El Tigre Promotions, and Pure LG Biz, we would like to thank Mr. Walker for graciously attending the get together as well as sharing his thoughts and knowledge on amateur and professional boxing.

Alicio Castaneda and ABO President Juan Curiel. 📸 El Tigre Promotions

1976 Olympian Chuck Walker Congratulates USA Boxing 2020 Olympic Team Trials Champions Ginny Fuchs and Darius Fulghum

Shortly after Virginia “Ginny” Fuchs and Darius Fulghum won first place at The USA Boxing 2020 Olympic Team Trials, 1976 Olympian Chuck Walker sent a message of encouragement and congratulations.

“Respect and congrats from one of the 1976 Team!!! Stick and Move!!!”

Walker was a member of arguably one of the best Olympic Boxing Teams ever, the 1976 team. That team consisted of Leon and Michael Spinks, Sugar Ray Leonard, Louis Curtis, Leo Randolph, Davey Lee Armstrong, Howard Davis, Charles Mooney, Clint Jackson, and John Tate, along with Chuck Walker.

Ask a matter of fact, during the course of the two week, single elimination tournament, the 1976 team won 35 out of 41 bouts and brought home 5 gold medals and 2 silver medals!

Chuck Walker vs Everett “Bigfoot” Martin

July 1986 press conference for Chuck Walker vs Everett “Bigfoot” Martin, in Montgomery, Texas. Walker was defending his Southern Boxing Association (SBA) Super-Middleweight title. Martin was ranked #2 in the world at the time. The fight ended in a 10 round draw. Also pictured is late fight promoter Roy Auld.

Everett “Big Foot” Martin

Born and raised in Houston, Texas,  Everett “Big Foot” Martin faced a virtual who’s who of boxing in the heavyweight division, in a professional career that spanned from 1984 to 2001. Bigfoot also may hold the all-time record for most heavyweight world champions faced, having faced 16 in his professional career, at one point facing 9 in a row!

He began his professional career as a light-heavyweight and cruiser-weight but competed as a heavyweight for most of his career, even though he was relatively small in stature for that division.  Although he gave up size for most of his career and faced a murderer’s row of opposition, he was never knocked out and would only be stopped by T.K.O. several times during the tail-end of his career when he was already “tired and worn”. 

“Big Foot” was a journeyman that would fight anyone, anywhere, many times with no training camp and on short notice, but still managed to always be competitive, and give the boxing fans an entertaining fight win, lose, or draw. He also held Olympic Champion Chuck Walker to a draw, beat Jesse Selby, Sherman Griffin, “Smoking” Bert Cooper, and Tim Witherspoon by decision, along with knocking down Micheal Moorer.

In an amazing professional career that took him all over the world, he faced many top contenders and champions including:

Jesse Shelby, Sherman Griffin, Olympic Champion Chuck Walker, Kevin Kelly, Vincent Boulware, Tony Willis, Bert Cooper, Johnny Du Plooy, Dwight Muhammad Qawi, George Foreman, Gary Mason, Pierre Coetzer, Francesco Damaini, Micheal Moorer, Riddick Bowe, Tim Witherspoon, Tony Tucker, Larry Holmes, Herbie Hide, Tony Tubbs, Lance Whitaker, Wladimir Klitschko, Danell Nicholson, Lamon Brewster, Fres Oquendo, Joe Hipp,James “Bonecrusher” Smith, Obed Sullivan, David Bostice, Siarhei Liakhovich, and Ruslan Chagaev!

Originally from Fifth Ward, he would later move to Houston’s South Park neighborhood, where he began learning to box first from his mother Mary Martin, who he described as a “tough, street fighting woman” and  “Big Al” Alfred Leon Willis, who taught and trained neighborhood boys to box in parks, back yards, and anywhere in the neighborhood, especially in the courtyard of The Villa Americana Apartments. “Big Foot” said that “Big Al” and his mother taught him everything he needed to know in boxing and although he would work with other coaches in his professional career, he would always depend on what he learned from his mother and “Big Al” to get him through anything, along with his faith in God.

A big kid in his youth with a good heart, “Big Foot” hated to see smaller, weaker kids getting bullied in school and would defend them by telling their tormentors, “Hey man, what are you picking on him for, he’s just here doing what he has to do, just like you”. This would inevitably lead to fights with those same bullies and though he didn’t like fighting, backing down wasn’t an option on the streets of South Park and Fifth Ward. After getting in trouble at school for fighting but not necessarily at home since he was fighting to protect those being bullied, his mother decided he needed to box to keep him out of trouble and off the streets. This was when she brought him to “Big Al” Alfred Leon Willis to introduce him to amateur boxing.

“Big Foot” stated he didn’t like boxing initially but eventually became very good at it, partly because “Big Al’s Boxing Club” sparred in the Villa Americana Apartments courtyard and he “Didn’t want to look weak in front of all the homeboys”.  He also said that once he started becoming proficient in boxing he began to see boxing as a way he could eventually take care of his family, which was a strong motivation for him. This outlook served “Big Foot” well as he became an elite amateur boxer, winning The Houston Golden Gloves, Open Division, Heavyweight Championship in 1981, 1982, and 1983.

I asked “Big Foot” what skills he learned from “Big Al” that enabled him to become known as one of the toughest, most fearless boxers to ever grace the ring and he said, “He first taught me how to stand correctly and on balance, then how to move in and out and side to side, to be in condition, how to remain calm in the ring, protect myself, control my breathing and punches, and to make my opponent fight how I wanted him to fight, not how he wanted to fight”

I met “Big Foot” only once before calling him today for a phone interview and I must add that he was very gracious about sharing information about his life in and out of boxing. Our interview eventually became more of a private conversation and as a lifelong participant, coach, and fan of boxing I asked him many questions as much as for my personal interests as for this article.  One of the main things that intrigued me was how he was able to be competitive against all the contenders and champions he faced over the years without ever being knocked out or seriously injured. “Big Foot’s” response was simple and direct.

“The only reason to be scared of those guys would have been if they were able to hit me and hurt me and I wasn’t about to stand there and let them hit me without moving around and hitting them back, that’s why it’s called BOXING”.