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Presidents Column  |  November 2010

Posted on November 3 2010                                              Bookmark and Share
By WBF President Howard Goldberg  



I spent several hours last week reading through old South African boxing monthly magazines.  Some of these magazines went as far back as the late 1970s but for me the most interesting stories revolved around the heavyweight scene in South Africa over these past few decades. 

Gerrie Coetzee, Kallie Knoetze, Mike Schutte, Jimmy Abbot, Pierre Coetzer, Johny Du Plooy, Bennie Knoetze, Corrie Sanders and even my good friend Francois Botha.  Nine of the toughest heavyweight fighters ever to grace the shores of South Africa and each one, capable on their day of destroying the very best in the world.

One of the most hilarious stories ever told  was indeed by Francois Botha who claims he was hurt even with blows that Mike Tyson missed.

So back to this talented group of South African heavyweights over the years.  How would they fare against the Klitchkos, David Haye, a younger Evander Holyfield, the Mike Tyson in his prime to mention but a few.  If all these fighters were at their best, we would have seen some of the greatest and most exciting heavyweight clashes ever.   The heavyweight division romantically remains the prestigious and most focused upon division, always wetting the immense appetite of fans, and some of the above proposed matchups would have been as mouth watering as they could have.  I was asked a while ago to rate my top South Africa heavyweights in order from the group mentioned above, and while this is sure to cause much debate, discussion and heated arguments in South Africa, I herein select my top order with a short comment on each.

1.   - Gerrie Coetzee – the man with the bionic right hand.  Massive power, great speed and his fight against Dokes probably edges him into top spot – sometimes sadly lacked self belief and self confidence.

2.   - Corrie Sanders – the southpaw with incredible speed and power – victory against Klitschko puts him into second place

3.   - Kallie Knoetze – vicious puncher, great charisma, arguably the most powerful puncher in the history of South African boxing

4.   - Johny Du Plooy – unquestionably the most talented of the lot, but never realized his full potential – crowds absolutely adored him

5.   - Francois Botha – very underrated but very experienced and been in with the very best – great speed, suspect stamina but very charismatic – a much better fighter than sometimes given credit for

6.   - Mike Schutte – entertaining fighter – someone not to be messed with, he wore his heart on his sleeve, and had some of the most brutal and bloody fights ever in South Africa.  Who can forget his war with Gerrie Coetzee in Durban?

7.   - Pierre Coetzer – the policeman with the long reach and the huge heart, fought every fight as if his life depended on it

8.   - Jimmy Abbot – always overweight but with a deceptive stamina and a big right hand

9.   - Bennie Knoetze – younger brother of Kallie, but more of a boxer than puncher, also was involved in several wars

In conclusion Gerrie Coetzee at his best v Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Vitali and Vladimir Klitschko at their best.  I can’t say for sure who would have emerged victorious but I can say for sure they would have been some incredible  and unforgettable fights.

Until next time, keep boxing.

Howard Goldberg

PRESIDENT: World Boxing Federation


  Presidents Column October 2010
  Presidents Column September 2010
  Presidents Column August 2010
  Presidents Column July 2010
  Presidents Column June 2010
  Presidents Column May 2010
  Presidents Column April 2010
  Presidents Column March 2010
  Presidents Column February 2010
  Presidents Column January 2010
  Presidents Column December 2009
  Presidents Column November 2009
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