Sport

Boxing star dies at 67

He is survived by his wife Rina, three children and seven grandchildren.

Boksburg boxing great and former World Boxing Association (WBA) heavyweight champion Gerrie Coetzee has died.

The ‘Boksburg Bomber’, as he was affectionately known, succumbed to illness at the age of 67 on January 12.

Renowned for his powerful punches and ring elegance, Coetzee captured the hearts of South Africans when he became the nation’s first world heavyweight champion in 1983.

Also dubbed ‘The Bionic Hand’ because of his surgically repaired right hand, he knocked out American Michael Dokes in the 10th round to win his only WBA heavyweight title at the Richfield Coliseum in Ohio on September 23, 1983.

Coetzee would go on to lose his title when he was knocked out in the eighth round by American Greg Page at the Sun City Superbowl in December 1984.

He started his professional career in September 1974 when he beat veteran Christian Roos by a decision in four rounds.

On August 16, 1976, he captured his first South African heavyweight title, beating his hometown rival Michael Schutte by disqualification after ‘The Tank’, as Schutte was known, attempted to kick him while on the canvas.

A gifted fighter with a powerful orthodox stance, in his 40 career fights, Coetzee won 33 bouts, lost six and drew one. He won 21 of his 40 fights by knockout.He is survived by his wife Rina, three children and seven grandchildren.

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