Sowetan

SA facing drought of heavyweigh­t boxers

None of our current top fighters looks world class

- By Bongani Magasela

The state of affairs in the SA heavyweigh­t division is so bad it leaves one to wonder if this country will ever produce a world champion any time soon.

South Africa has produced some quality heavyweigh­ts such WBA champion Gerrie “Boksburg Bomber” Coetzee, IBF holder Francois “White Buffalo” Botha, WBU and WBO titlist Corrie “The Sniper” Sanders.

Coetzee was actually the first heavyweigh­t from Africa to contest and win a world title.

He beat American Michael Dokes for the WBA title in the USA in 1984; Botha captured the IBF belt against Axel Schultz in Germany in 1995; Sanders won the WBU belt against American Ross Purity in 1997.

Sanders added the WBO title in sensationa­l style when he stopped Ukrainian Wladimir “Dr Steel Hammer” Klitschko in two rounds in Germany in 2003.

Coetzee, Botha and Sanders were SA champions before they conquered the world. They fought the best boxers the world had to offer in those years.

Coetzee fought the likes of Leon Spinks, Mike Weaver, Greg Page and Frank Bruno.

Botha exchanged leather with the likes of Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield, while Sanders fought against Bobby Czyz, Hasim Rahman and both Klitschko brothers (Vitali and Wladimir).

Looking at the current crop of heavyweigh­ts as listed by Boxing SA in their most recent ratings, it’s hard to imagine any of them being considered as world class – only number one contender, Ruan “Giant King” Visser, stands out in this month’s ratings.

The SA heavyweigh­t title is vacant. However, the South African Boxing Union champion from Meyerton still has to be tested against quality opponents.

 ?? / SUPPLIED ?? Promising South African heavyweigh­t Ruann Visser still has to fight his way up to prove himself as world class in the fierce division.
/ SUPPLIED Promising South African heavyweigh­t Ruann Visser still has to fight his way up to prove himself as world class in the fierce division.

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