Cape Times

‘Boksburg Bomber’ to be immortalis­ed on film

- STAFF WRITER

On his return to Joburg, he received a hero’s welcome, with national government officials in tow

SOUTH African boxing legend Gerrie Coetzee’s achievemen­ts will receive the Hollywood treatment, with the announceme­nt of a feature film titled Gerrie, the tale of Africa’s first world heavyweigh­t champ.

American film company Fontabila Production executive producer Kenddrie Utuk is in Cape Town to finalise logistics and secure venues for the production which will start later this year.

Utuk has previously spearheade­d boxing films with great success in America. During his week-long stay, he will be accompanie­d by fellow producer Skip Hartquis. They have brought top local talents on board including award-winning director Koos Roets, and acclaimed South African film-maker André Scholtz.

Coetzee took Michael Dokes’s WBA heavyweigh­t title on September 23, 1983, at the Richfield Coliseum in Ohio after flooring him in the 10th round of their scheduled 15-rounder.

On his return to Joburg, he received a hero’s welcome, with national government officials in tow.

Known as the “The Boksburg Bomber” Coetzee competed from 1974 to 1986, and in 1993 and 1997 and was the first boxer from the African continent to fight for, and win, a world heavyweigh­t championsh­ip, having held the WBA title from 1983 to 1984.

Three years ago, Coetzee was featured in a BBC documentar­y which took an intimate look at his life and journey to being crowned heavyweigh­t champion of the world. The documentar­y caught the attention of the Hollywood and African Prestigiou­s Awards (HAPAwards), the US organisati­on that honours outstandin­g American and African individual­s whose lives have been marked by extraordin­ary personal and profession­al accomplish­ments. Coetzee died aged 46 on September 23, 2012, when he dived in front of his daughter after armed men burst into a Joburg restaurant where the family was celebratin­g his nephew’s 21st birthday

Gerrie is expected to be released in South Africa next year.

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