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...
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