Eugene Hairston nicknamed as “Silent” is an American professional boxer, born at July 1st 1929 in Harlem, New York. He became deaf at the early age of one due to spinal meningitis, a condition that causes inflammation and swelling in the lining of the brain and spinal cord. As a child Hairston attended a public deaf school where he showed natural aptitude in arts, but Eugene had a rather different interest. He wanted to become a boxer, much like Joe Louis whom he profoundly admired. At the age of 15 Hairston quit school and juggled through several odd jobs before deciding to start boxing as a living to help support his family.
Each morning for about six months Hairston went to the Tremont Fighting Club, a boxing gym in the Bronx, with a written note stating “I want to fight. ” Although his request was not taken into consideration at first due to his deafness, but later on the owners of the gym, the Mele brothers, eventually gave him consent to train with some members of the gym. Hairston took this opportunity and fought so well that the owners decided to work with him as their manager and trainer. The Mele brothers trained Hairston using gestures and body language showing each and every move.
In 1947 Hairston eventually climbed his way up through the amateur boxing ranks into the pro ring by winning two distinguished titles. He won the Open New York Daily News Golden Gloves lightweight championship against William Redding in 1947 and he also won the Intercity Golden Gloves welterweight title against Eddie Lara the same year. Hairston conventional fighting style included hard hits to the body with his favorite one two combination of hooks and uppercuts. He was known as a hard hitter with both hands.
Throughout his amateur career Hairston only lost one out of 61 fights, a significant accomplishment that soon made him known throughout the boxing world as “Silent Hairston. ” Although the nickname given was insensitive, Hairston still proudly accepted it because it remained as a part of his identity. Hairston professional career only lasted for a short period of time from 1947-1953 but yet he achieved many accomplishments. He won his first 16 professional fights with four knockouts and also he appeared on television a total of 13 times gaining him national fame and honor. He also ought against the leading middleweight contenders of his time including Jake LaMotta who beat him only after ten grueling rounds. Throughout his career he was regarded as the second best in the world and also he was seen as the only one who could have beaten Sugar Ray Robinson. But due to an eye injury at a young age of 22 Hairston never fought against Sugar Ray and also he had to end his boxing career. Despite Hairston early departure from boxing he still left many legacy behind. It is because of Eugene Hairston that boxing arenas today continue to have flashing lights to their ring posts to signal the end of a round.
Furthermore Hairston legacy can also be seen through boxer such as Joey Archer who defeated Sugar Ray Robinson in 1965. In an interview Archer states “I learned from watching guys like Eugene Hairston in the gym. ” As a deaf boxer Hairston truly is a hero figure for not only deaf people but every individual throughout the world. His courage and bravery will always be a signal of a true “champion. ”
Bibliography: Cassidy, Robert. “BOXING / ‘Silent’ Knight Fierce Warrior In His Heyday. ” Newsday. N. p. , 1 Dec. 2001. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <http://www. newsday. om/sports/boxing-silent-knight-fierce-warrior-in-his-heyday-1. 757282>. “Eugene Hairston. ” Http://boxrec. com/media/index. php/Eugene_Hairston. N. p. , 11 Feb. 2010. Web. <http://boxrec. com/media/index. php/Eugene_Hairston>. “Jake LaMotta vs Eugene Hairston II – Boxing Forum. ” Jake LaMotta vs Eugene Hairston II – Boxing Forum. N. p. , n. d. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <http://www. boxingscene. com/forums/showthread. php? t=318928>. Tallowmanother3. “Jake La Motta V Eugene Hairston 1952. ” YouTube. YouTube, 11 Nov. 2011. Web. 25 Oct. 2012. <http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=ZZGGaFSWpFA>.