South African boxer Gerrie Coetzee passed away following a brief illness.
Coetzee competed in the heavyweight division and famously won the heavyweight title after he defeated Michael Dokes in 1983. This effectively made him the first South African to hold the heavyweight boxing title.
South African outlets are reporting the death of 1980s heavyweight titleholder Gerrie Coetzee in Capetown. Coetzee knocked out Michael Dokes in 1983 and fought Mike Weaver, Leon Spinks, James Tillis, Greg Page, Pinklon Thomas, and others. Coetzee was 67. VC: crazyKOcounters pic.twitter.com/xrYu55Xkfs
— Ringside Seat (@RingsideSeatMag) January 12, 2023
Coetzee is also remembered for a memorable war with Frank Bruno in London – three years later with Bruno scoring a first round KO victory.
For much of his career, he was also known as the ‘The Boksburg Bomber’. He finished his professional career with a record consisting of 33 wins 6 losses and 1 draw.
— Boxing History (@BoxingHistory) July 6, 2017
He took a break from boxing in 1986 but went on to have another bout in 1993 and two more in 1997.
Coetzee died after a battle with cancer.
South African rugby writer Brendan Nel wrote: “Gerrie Coetzee. A memory from my childhood. 3am get up to watch him box. World heavyweight champ gone. RIP.” @JasonSmith_1 added: “Gerrie Coetzee was a great fighter. Loved watching his fights growing up. RIP Champ.”
A giant has fallen. The Boksburg Bomber🥊has succumbed to illness. Almost exactly 40 years after his great triumph – winning the WBA heavyweight championship by 10th-round KO against Mike Dokes – Gerrie Coetzee has died aged 67. One of my boyhood heroes. RIP. pic.twitter.com/XOeyYAlAeR
— Clinton van der Berg (@ClintonV) January 12, 2023
A number of boxing insiders is mourning Coetzee’s passing.
R.I.P uncle Gerrie Coetzee 🙏🏻
🇿🇦 1st ever Heavyweight boxing champion pic.twitter.com/hIo6LIKGoO
— Chris van Heerden (@TheHeat001) January 12, 2023
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 condolences to his family. May he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/C95NkuS6mW
— Herman Mashaba (@HermanMashaba) January 13, 2023
Sad to hear about the passing of former South African heavyweight boxer Gerrie Coetzee who died at the age of 67 😢 He was the first boxer from Africa to fight for, and win, a world heavyweight championship, having held the WBA title from 1983 to 1984. #GerrieCoetzee pic.twitter.com/NBsVxDate7
— 𝙵𝚊𝚒𝚣𝚎𝚕 𝙿𝚊𝚝𝚎𝚕 (@FaizelPatel143) January 12, 2023