Gerrie Coetzee, a former heavyweight champion who fought many contenders and champions through the late Nineteen Seventies and Eighties, died Thursday in his residence nation of South Africa.

Coetzee, 67, died after a really transient battle with most cancers, his daughter, Lana, knowledgeable IOL Sport, a South African publication.

“We came upon that he had most cancers final week,” Lana Coetzee informed IOL Sport. “Every thing occurred so fast. It was an aggressive type of most cancers.”

Coetzee is survived by his spouse, Rina, three kids and 7 grandchildren, in response to IOL Sport.

A local of Boksburg, South Africa, Coetzee was most identified for knocking out American Michael Dokes within the Tenth spherical of their September 1983 struggle at Richfield (Ohio) Coliseum to win the WBA heavyweight title. Coetzee, who was nicknamed “The Boksburg Bomber,” entered the ring as a giant underdog towards Dokes.

Coetzee, whose win is taken into account one of many biggest achievements in South Africa’s sporting historical past, misplaced his WBA belt in his first title protection. One other American, Greg Web page, knocked out Coetzee within the eighth spherical of that December 1984 struggle at Superbowl, a live performance venue in Solar Metropolis, South Africa.

At 24, Coetzee legitimized himself as a heavyweight contender by knocking out former champion Leon Spinks within the first spherical of a bout that came about in June 1979 in Fontvieille, France. Coetzee knocked Spinks to the canvas thrice earlier than their struggle was stopped.

Spinks had misplaced solely his speedy rematch to Muhammad Ali earlier than Coetzee knocked him out.

Mike Weaver knocked out Coetzee within the thirteenth spherical of Coetzee’s second shot on the WBA championship in October 1980 at Superbowl. His first shot on the WBA belt resulted in a 15-round, unanimous-decision loss to American John Tate in October 1979, which drew an estimated crowd of 86,000 to Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa.

The 6-foot-3 Coetzee retired following a first-round knockout loss to England’s Frank Bruno in March 1986 at Wembley Area in London. Coetzee got here again in 1993, however he retired for good following a Tenth-round knockout loss to Iran Barkley in June 1997 at The Hollywood Palladium in Hollywood, California.

Coetzee, who was promoted by Don King, completed his profession with a file of 33-6-1, together with 21 knockouts. A legend in South Africa, Coetzee sometimes promoted boxing exhibits there from 1988 till 2012.

Outdoors of the ring, Coetzee used his expansive platform to overtly oppose apartheid in his residence nation. Filming of a film about Coetzee’s life, entitled “In opposition to All Odds,” is scheduled to conclude by the top of this yr.

Keith Idec is a senior author/columnist for He could be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

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