South African Boxing Champ Gerrie Coetzee Passes Away
South African Boxing Champ Gerrie Coetzee Passes Away. Photo: Twitter

South African boxing legend Gerrie Coetzee has passed away at the age of 67, from lung cancer.

Almost 40 years ago, Coetzee became the World Boxing Association (WBA) World Heavyweight Champion in 1983, after he knocked out American boxer Michael Dokes in the tenth round of their title fight.

Nicknamed the ‘Boksburg Bomber’, Coetzee reportedly died at his Cape Town home on Thursday, 12 January. His manager Thinus Strydom told News24 that he had been “given his prognosis by doctors around a week ago, upon consultation, and died surrounded by his family”.

Tributes have poured in this morning. Action SA President Herman Mashaba, who worked with Coetzee for many years, said: “Saddened to hear of the passing of Gerrie Coetzee, a true champion that put South African boxing on the map. I had the privilege to work with Gerrie during the 70s & 80s to promote boxing, and will never forget his passion. My deepest condolences to his family in this difficult time. May he rest in peace.”

Gerhardus Christian Coetzee was born 8 April 1955. He became the first African to fight for and win a world heavyweight championship (from ’83 to ’84). He competed from 1974 to 1986, and again in 1993 and 1997. His wins included against Leon Spinks and a draw against Pinklon Thomas.

Sharks Rugby CEO Eduard Coetzee said: “To the world he was a fighter, to me he was family! RIP Oom Gerrie 🙏🏻”

WATCH Gerrie Coetzee