Heavyweight champ Gerrie Coetzee dies at 67.

South African boxing legend Gerrie Coetzee has died at the age of 67. Check out What happened to him and full details here.

Heavyweight champ Gerrie Coetzee dies at 67.

Gerrie Coetzee, the former WBA heavyweight titleholder from South Africa, died on Thursday at the age of 67.

Heavyweight champ Gerrie Coetzee dies at 67.

Lana Coetzee, the daughter of “The Boksburg Bomber” told South African outlet IOL Sport that he had died from “an aggressive form of cancer” that they’d only discovered the previous week.

Coetzee, nicknamed ‘The Boksburg Bomber’, won 33 of his 40 career fights.

The Boksburg-born fighter successfully challenged for the WBA heavyweight title against Michael Dokes at Ohio’s Coliseum in 1983.

Coetzee, who first put on boxing gloves at age 7 after his father bribed him with 50 cents to try sparring at a local gym, compiled a professional record of 33-6-1 (21 knockouts) during a career that ran from 1974 to 1997.

The 6’4” fighter rose to prominence amid the height of Apartheid and its accompanying boycotts, which complicated his attempts to break out into the international heavyweight scene.

Despite racial tensions at the time, Coetzee was a vocal opponent of the segregation policies, telling The Washington Post in 1979 that “people should be treated on merit and not on race or color.”

“I feel I am fighting for everybody, black and white,” Coetzee said. “What really makes me happy is for black, brown and white people to accept me as their fighter.”

He won the fight via knockout in the tenth round.

But he is perhaps best remembered on these shores for his memorable battle with Frank Bruno in London three years later.

Heavyweight champ Gerrie Coetzee dies at 67.

After becoming South Africa’s very first heavyweight world champion, and with wins over Leon Spinks, James Tillis and Scott LeDoux, he retired in 1997 at the age of 42.

                             Boxing record                               
Total fights 40
Wins 33
Wins by KO 21
Losses 6
Draws 1

Highly-respected sports writer Clinton van der Berg said: “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.”

South African rugby reporter Brendan Nel wrote: “Gerrie Coetzee. A memory from my childhood. 3am get up to watch him box. World heavyweight champ gone. RIP.” 

Former IBO welterweight champion Chris van Heerden added: “RIP uncle Gerrie Coetzee. South Africa’s first ever heavyweight boxing champion.”

Local politician Herman Mashaba also paid tribute by saying: “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 and 80s to promote boxing, and will never forget his passion. My condolences to his family. May he rest in peace.

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