Social media is a cesspool. Anyone who’s been on it knows it. Still, Charles Conwell, the 22-year-old, 2016 U.S. Olympian, never expected it.
Days after Conwell’s tragic fight with Patrick Day on October 12, 2019, in the Wintrust Arena, in Chicago, Illinois, Conwell received some of the following social media messages: “‘If Patrick doesn’t make it, I’m going to find you!” “Murderer” “I’m going to kill you!” “You’re a dead man!”
Day didn’t make it. He died the very day Conwell was told he was about to become a father—October 16, 2019.
Since then, the junior middleweight prospect had a stay-busy fight in February in obscure Hammond, Indiana.
Wednesday night, Conwell (12-0, 9 knockouts) will take on Wendy Toussaint (12-0, 5 KOs) in the 10-round main event on Showtime’s ShoBox: The New Generation (9 p.m. ET/PT) from the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn.
This is the first big step Conwell has taken since the Day fight.
But he’s already survived a few brawls in the interim, one coming against the ignorant band of brave keyboard miscreants that came at him behind pseudonyms.
“I also remember the ass—–, too,” Conwell said at the time. “There were a lot of things they put out there on social media like I should be in jail, calling me a murderer, threatening to kill me. One said, ‘If Patrick doesn’t make it, I’m going to find you!’ That made me angry.
“These were people who didn’t know me that were judging me. These weren’t boxing people. Boxing people, a lot of people I know of but don’t know, all had my back. That was good to see.”
Conwell said he didn’t expect it.
“But the way people are now a days, maybe I should have expected something like that,” he reflected. “To be honest, there were a lot of people who defended me like they were my brothers and sisters. It made angry. It made think people thought I went into the ring that night to do what happened on purpose.
“That’s not me. It’s not my fault. He wasn’t Patrick Day’s fault. That’s what I came to realize, because there was a time when I thought I was the worst person on earth and blamed myself. I’ve come to realize that you can’t predict things like that to happen. You don’t go out there to kill someone.
“I feel good right now. I’m in a positive frame of mind.”
What’s helped is becoming a father. He has a two-month-old baby girl.
“Being a father has made me a better person, and I see why parents do what they do for their children,” Conwell said. “I want to leave something behind for her.”
Conwell has been back in the gym. His weight is good, and he’s out there as the headliner on national TV.
Toussaint is athletic and is a 6-foot, 28-year-old who last fought in August, winning an eight-round decision.
“He’s coming to win,” Conwell said about Toussaint. “I’ve had a chance to work on different things, and I’m expecting to look better than I did the last time—and of course win.”
Conwell checks on his daughter every day. And this time off has made him appreciate boxing.
He’s fighting again. He’s a father.
Each time he slips on those gloves, his attitude is different.
“It makes you appreciate everything more, and I want so much more out of myself,” Conwell said. “I can’t wait for this. I’ve been able to get some sleep.”
A total of four fighters will put their undefeated records on the line in the mid-week bouts, including Janelson Bocachica (15-0, 10 KOs) taking on Nicklaus Flaz (9-1, 7 KOs) in an eight-round welterweight clash. In the telecast opener, hard-hitting Brandun Lee (19-0, 17 KOs) returns to ShoBox in the telecast opener against Jimmy Williams (16-3-2, 5 KOs) in another eight-round welterweight matchup of rising 147-pounds contenders.
The event is promoted by Tony Holden Productions. International Boxing Hall of Famer Barry Tompkins will call the action from ringside with fellow Hall of Famer and boxing historian Steve Farhood and former world champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.
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