SA boxers carry high hopes
Siphiwe Lusizi and Ayabonga Sonjica have a tough act to follow when they compete at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
South African boxers have won six gold, four silver and nine bronze medals at the Olympics during the past 92 years and expectations will be high when Siphiwe and Sonjica try to add to the tally.
Lusizi will compete in the welterweight division. He won the SA title in 2009, 2010 and 2011. At the 2009 world championships in Milan he lost 9-17 to Botirjon Mahmudov from Uzbekistan.
Born on May 8, 1989, Lusizi has represented South African several times. He lost in the final of the Africa Zone 6 championships in 2010.
At the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi he lost by third-round technical knockout in the preliminary round. He was third at the Africa Zone 4 championships last year and seventh at the Africa championships. He won a bronze medal at the 2011 All-Africa Games.
Sonjica, 21, won the SA bantamweight title in 2010 and 2011. At the world championships last year he was eliminated in the preliminary round when Worapoj Petchkoom from Thailand beat him 16-7.
In nine Olympiads since the Games in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1920 SA fighters have built an impressive record. It may have been better had they been allowed to compete in 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984 and 1988.
Thanks to political changes, South Africa was readmitted in 1992 when the Games were held in Barcelona, Spain. But in the four events since then, no SA boxer has progressed beyond the second round.
The predecessors of the two who carry the hopes of SA boxing supporters this year include several who also achieved success in professional boxing after fighting on the biggest stage any amateur can dream of.
ALL SA BOXERS AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES
Arthur, John Duncan
As a teenager, Johnny Arthur fought his way into the heavyweight semifinals in London in 1948. He was scheduled to fight Hans Muller for the third place, but the Swiss boxer failed a medical test after suffering serious injuries in his previous fight. Arthur was awarded the bronze medal by default. In his first fights, he beat James Galli of France and E Jay Lambert of the US before losing to Rafael Iglesias of Argentina in the semifinal. Iglesias won the gold medal.
Andre, Nicholas Gaston
There were 16 welterweight entrants in Melbourne in 1956. “Jumbo” Andre beat Shih-Chuan Len of China in the first series. In his second fight he lost on a disputed decision to Nicola Linca of Romania, who won the gold medal.
Barton, Richard Walker
Also known as “Dicky”, welterweight Barton was unlucky to lose to American Edward Flynn in the second series in Los Angeles in 1932. He was knocked down in the first 30 seconds by the eventual champion. Barton beat John Flood from Ireland in his first fight.
Bekker, Daniel Wepener
Daan Bekker, one of the most decorated SA amateurs, won six national heavyweight titles and became the only South African to win two Olympic boxing medals. After stopping Jose S Giorgetti of Argentina in his first fight in Melbourne in 1956, he received a bronze medal after losing to American Pete Rademacher in the semifinal. Rademacher won the gold medal. In 1958, Bekker won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Cardiff. In Rome in 1960, he
drew a bye in the first series and beat Wladyslaw Jedrzejewski of Poland and Obrad Sretenovic of Yugoslavia on his way to the final. He won both fights inside the distance. In the final he lost to Francisco de Piccoli of Italy, taking home the silver medal.
Beland, known as “Dicky”, drew a bye in the first series of the lightweight competition at the 1920 Games in Antwerp, Belgium. In the second round he beat Van Muizen of Belgium but in the next round he lost on points to Samuel A Mosberg from the US, finishing fourth in the competition. Beland competed as a lightweight at the 1924 Paris Olympics. In the first series he beat Norwegian K Nilsen on points and then won against V Valdero-Cerdan of Spain. In his third bout he was eliminated by a Frenchman, J Tholey.
Competing in the light-heavyweight division at Atlanta in 1996, Botes won 16-11 against Rogelio Hernandez from the Dominican Republic but was eliminated 16-7 in the second series by Enrique Flores of Puerto Rico.
Bradley, William Robert
Bradley, a middleweight, beat Jean Hesterman of Holland in the first series but was eliminated in his second fight by Montgomery Herscovitch of Canada.
The lightweight lost his first fight at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics when Veangviset Phonsit of Thailand beat him 21-5.
Carstens, David Crynaw Enslin
Carstens was one of eight light-heavyweights at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. He beat Hans Berger of Germany in his first fight. In what was described as one of the best bouts at the Games, the 18-year-old South African beat Peter Jorgenson from Denmark in the semifinal. He then beat an Italian, Gino Rossi, to take the gold medal.
Catterall, who had won the featherweight gold medal at the 1934 Empire Games in England, took silver at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, losing to Oscar Casnovas of Argentina in the final. Earlier he beat H Wiltschek of Australia, Jan Nicolaas from Holland and an Amewrtican, Theodore Kara.
Chauke, Jackson Van Tonder
Competing in the flyweight division at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Chauke lost 1-9 in his first fight, against Anvar Yunusov of Tajikistan.
At the age of 19, Dreyer won the lightweight gold medal at the 1948 London Olympics. He had a bye in the first round and then beat Ernesto Porto (Philippines), Gwind Breiby (Norway) and Svend Wad (Denmark). In the final, he beat a Belgian, Joseph Vissers.
Duke, Ivan Elliot
Known as Tich, the flyweight was eliminated in his first fight at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. He lost on points to a Mexican, Francisco Cabanas, who won the silver medal.
Du Preez, Douglas
Duggie du Preez, a welterweight, had a first-round bye at the 1948 London Olympics. He then beat A Rosano of Uruguay and William Boyce of Australia. In the semifinal he was outpointed by an American, Horace Herring. Du Preez lost to Italy’s Alessandro D’Ottavio in a box-off for the bronze medal.
Fighting at welterweight at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, Ellis was eliminated in the first series by KJ Hellstrom of Finland.
Eustice, Ernest Jenkin
At the 1924 Paris Olympics, Eustice was eliminated in the first series of the featherweight class by M Depont of France.
Galada, a featherweight, lost in his first fight at the 2004 Athens Olympics when his bout against Shahin Imarov of Azerbaijan was stopped the third round, with Imarov leading 26-3.
A total of 26 lightweight boxers were entered for the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Hamilton-Brown was eliminated in the first series, losing on points Carlos Lilo from Chile. Only the next day it was discovered that the judges had made a mistake and that the South African had won. By then Hamilton-Brown had enjoyed a good meal. He failed to make the weight and was eliminated.
Hannan, Alexander Irvin
Fighting in the bantamweight division at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Hannan won his first fight, against V Huskoonen (some sources say Huuskonen), but was eliminated by Mexico’s Fidel Ortiz in his next fight. Ortiz took the bronze medal.
Holdstock, Thomas Leonard
The light-heavyweight division was contested for the first time at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. Eight fighters were entered. Holdstock was eliminated in the first series by Edward Egan of the US, who won the gold medal.
Hunter, from Brakpan, celebrated his 21st birthday at the 1948 Olympics in London. After defeating Ray Edwards of Jamaica, American Charles Spieser, Harry Siljander of Finland and Mauro Cia of Argentina, Hunter outpointed England’s Donald Scott to take the gold medal. He was chosen as the best boxer at the Games and received the Val Barker Cup.
Ingram, Reginald William Thomas
It has never been confirmed that Ingram competed in the welterweight division at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. According to some reports he was one of the seven SA boxers entered for the Games. However, the official American report mentions only five SA boxers. It was also reported that light-heavyweight James McGregor, from Ladybrand in the Free State, made his own way to Belgium and lost his first fight to Edwin Wright Schell of the US. Ingram did compete in the 1924 Olympics, as a welterweight, and beat J Remy of Belgium and J van Dam of the Netherlands before being eliminated by Jean Delarge of Belgium.
Isaacs, a bantamweight at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, beat Carl Fahrenholz of Denmark and Vincent Glionna of Canada before losing to American John Daly in the semifinal. In a box-off for the bronze medal, Isaacs beat Ireland’s Frank Traynor on points.
Knoesen, Ralph Theodore
Fighting Antoine Porcel of France in the flyweight class at the 1960 Rome Olympics, Knoesen lost his first fight on points.
Kunene, a light-middleweight at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, was beaten 8-1 by Pavel Polokovic of the Czech Republic in the first series.
La Grange, Kenneth Martin
The SA middleweight at the 1948 London Olympics was eliminated in the first series by Aime-Joseph Escudie of France.
Lebanon, Barney (real name Bechus)
Buddy Lebanon fought at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, beating O Nilsen of Norway and Ben Bril of the Netherlands to reach the semifinal. He then lost to Armand Apell of France and in a box-off for the bronze medal lost to Carlo Cavagnoli of Italy.
Leibrandt, Sidney Robey
The SA light-heavyweight at the 1936 Berlin Olympics beat Karl Johnsen of Norway, Mohamed Amin of Egypt and F Havelka of Czechoslovakia to reach the semifinals. He was beaten by Roger Michelot of France and in a box-off for the bronze medal, lost to an Argentinian, Francisco Risiglione. Michelot won the gold medal.
Leisching, Leonard John
Len Leisching was one of the best SA amateurs. At the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki the featherweight beat Emanoul Aghessi of Iran, Steven Redli of Yugoslavia and Leonard Walters of Canada before losing to Jan Zachara of Czechoslovakia in the semifinals. Zachara won trhe gold medal. In 1970, Leisching was awarded the bronze medal as the losing semifinalist. He won the featherweight gold medal at the 1954 Empire Games in Canada. At the Olympic Games in Melbourne in I956 he had a bye in the first series but lost to Henryk Niedzwiedzki of Poland in the second series.
Loubscher, Henry James
Loubscher won a bronze medal in the light-welterweight class at the 1956 Games in Melbourne. He beat Leslie Mason of Canada and American Joseph Shaw to reach the semifinals, where he lost to Russia’s gold medallist Vladimir Enquibarian. As a losing semifinalist Loubscher received a bronze medal. At the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff he won the light-welterweight gold medal. Competing as a welterweight at the 1960 Rome Olympics he won his first two fights against Laszlo Sebok of Hungary and Desmond Duguid of Australia before being eliminated by Leszek Drogosz of Poland.
Ludick, Albert Edward
At the 1956 Rome Olympics, the SA flyweight lost his first fight to Abel Laudonio from Argentina.
Ludick, William Cornelius
Willie Ludick, a light-welterweight at the 1960 Rome Olympics, drew a bye in the first round. In the second series he defeated Martti Lehteva of Finland but then lost on a highly disputed decision to Vladimir Enguibarian of Russia.
Mahlangu lost in his first fight in the lightweight division at the 2004 Athens Olympics, beaten 22-14 by Boyshan Huseynov from Azerbaijan.
In his first fight at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics light-flyweight Hawk Makepula stopped India’s Thapa Dbendra in the first round. He was eliminated in the second series by Rafael Lozano of Spain.
Mathebula, Jeffrey Mduduzile
A featherweight at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Mathebula beat Nourredine Medjehoud of Algeria 10-5. But he was beaten 16-5 by Bekzat Sattarkhanov of Kazakhstan in the second series.
A light-flyweight at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Matyhila had a bye in the first series but was beaten in the second series by Suleiman Wanjau Bilali of Kenya. The fight was stopped in the first round when the score was 57-1.
McCorkindale, Donald Dinnie
Competing in the light-heavyweight division at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, Don McCorkindale beat Italy’s Domenico Ceccarelli and Juozas Vinca of Lithuania. In the semifinal he lost to Vittorio Avendano from Argentina. He then lost to Karel Miljon of the Netherlands in a box-off for the bronze medal.
It was reported that McGregor, from Ladybrand in the Free State, made his own way to the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp. In his first fight, he lost on points by Edwin Wright Schell of the US.
Meyers, William Ernest
Boela Meyers was one of 31 featherweights entered for the 1960 Rome Olympics. He beat Ton Than (some sources say Tin) of Burma, stopped Yen Hsu from Thailand in the third round and beat Constantin Gheorghiu of Romania on points. He then lost on points in the semifinal to Jerzy Adamski from Poland. As a losing semifinalist, Meyers was awarded a bronze medal.
Motau, Kgotso, Godfrey
Fighting at the 2004 Athens Olympics, middleweight Motau lost in his first fight, beaten 25-22 by Oleg Mashkin from Ukraine.
In his first fight at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, featherweight Ndou stopped Casey Patton of Canada but he lost 7-12 to Somluck Kamsing from Thailand in his second fight. Kamsing won the gold medal.
Nieman, Andries Christiaan
Niemann, a southpaw, was one of 22 heavyweights at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. In his first fight he defeated Edgar Gorgas of Germany on points after being down in the first round. He enjoyed a bye in the second series and then knocked out the Russian favourite, Algirdis Schocikas, in the first round. Schocikas had a weight advantage of 19 kg. In the semifinals, Niemann was stopped in the second round by American Edward Sanders. Sanders won the gold medal when Ingemar Johansson was disqualified for not trying. Johansson later won the world heavyweight title as a professional. As a losing semifinalist Niemann was awarded a bronze medal, which was presented to him in 1970.
Passmore, William Ivor
At 1.59 m the smallest boxer in the 1936 SA team for the Berlin Olympics, Passmore won his first fight against Mustapha of Egypt but lost to Alfredo Carlomagno from Argentina in his second.
Peltz, Edward William Max
Peltz, a middleweight at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, was eliminated in the first series when he lost on points to Henry Tiller of Norway.
Eddie Pierce won bronze medals at the 1930 Empire Games in Canada and the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. He had a bye in the first series at the Olympics and then beat Louis Szigeti of Hungary. In the semifinal he lost to American Carmen Barth. In a box-off for the bronze medal he beat Roger Michelot of France.
When South Africa was readmitted, after 32 years, to the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992, welterweight Giovanni Pretorius lost in his first fight; stopped in the third round by Sweden’s Soeran Antama.
Schutte, Abraham Johannes
The SA light-middleweight at the 1960 Rome Olympics was eliminated in the first series, outpointed by John Bukowski of Australia.
Shepherd, Dennis Graham
Shepherd won the featherweight silver medal at the 1948 Olympics in London. At the 1950 Empire Games in New Zealand he was eliminated in his first fight in the lightweight division. At the 1948 Olympics he beat Sydney Greave of Pakistan, Mohammed Ammi of France, American R Johnson and Francisco Nunez of Argentina on his way to the final. The southpaw, handicapped by a badly cut eye, then lost on points to Ernesto Formenti of Italy.
Smith, Robert Charles
Competing in the lightweight division at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, Smith beat Frank Battaglia of Canada in the first series but was eliminated by Sweden’s Gunnar Berggran.
Smith, William Alexander
Willie Smith boxed superbly at the 1924 Olympics in Paris, beating Salvatore Tripoli from the United States to take the bantamweight gold medal. After a bye in the first series he beat H Wolff of Sweden and J Lemouton of France. In the semifinal he outpointed a Frenchman, Jeab Ces.
Stevens, Lawrence (sometimes spelt Laurence)
At the 1930 Empire Games in Hamilton, Canada, the 17-year-old Stevens lost in the final of the featherweight division to England’s FR Meecham, settling for a silver medal. At the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, Stevens overwhelmed Jose Padilla, a Filipino, Franz Kartz from Germany and an Italian, Mario Bianchini to reach the final against Sweden’s Thure Ahlqvis. Stevens won the gold medal.
Steyn, Johannes Christoffel
In the lightweight class at the 1960 Rome Olympics, Stoffel Steyn beat Sidney Prior of Australia in his first fight, but was eliminated in the second by Sandro Lopopolo.
Thomas lost his first fight at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp when he was beaten by Albert Schneider of Canada. Schneider won the gold medal.
Toweel, Victor Anthony
Vic Toweel lost only two of his 300 amateur fights. He was eliminated in the first round of the bantamweight division at the 1948 London Olympics by Arnoldo Pares from Argentina in a highly debatable decision.
Toweel, William Michael
Flyweight Willie Toweel won the bronze medal at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. He was eliminated in the semifinals by the American Nate Brooks, the eventual winner. Toweel beat Kornel Molnar of Hungary, Alfredo Asuncion of the Philippines and Soo-Ann Han of Korea. He received his medal in 1970.
Twala lost in the first series of the flyweight division at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, beaten on points by Spain’s Rafael Lozano Munoz.
Van der Linde, Hendrik
Welterweight Whitey van der Linde won his first fight, against Anwar Pasha Turki of Pakistan, at the 1952 Helsinki Games, but was eliminated in the next round by Sergei Scherbakov from Russia. Van der Linde was knocked out in the second round. Scherbakov won the silver medal.
Van Rensburg, Jan Christiaan Johannes
Smiler van Rensburg won the bantamweight gold medal at the 1950 Empire Games in Auckland. Two years later he represented South Africa at the Olympic Games in Helsinki, where he was eliminated in his first fight by Americo Bonetti of Argentina on a highly disputed decision.
Van Rooyen, Frederick Pieter Christiaan
After winning his first two fights at the 1960 Rome Olympics – against Egon Rusch of Austria and Eamonn McKeon of Ireland – the SA middleweight was beaten by Tadeusz Walasek of Poland in the quarterfinal.
Van Schalkwyk, Theunis Jacobus
Theuns van Schalkwyk won the middleweight gold medal at the 1950 Empire Games in Auckland, beating New Zealand’s Jim Beal in the final. Competing at light-middleweight, a new class, at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Van Schalkwyk enjoyed a bye in the first round. He then beat Ebbe Kops of Denmark, Erich Schoppner of Germany and, in the semifinals, Russia’s Boris Tischin. In the final he faced legendary Hungarian Laszlo Papp. Papp, who had won the middleweight gold at the 1948 Games, beat Van Schalkwyk, who won silver.
Van Vuuren, Petrus Hendrik Jansen
At the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, light-heavyweight Van Vuuren lost on points in the first series, beaten by Gheorghe Negrea of Romania.
Venter, Daniel Jan
Danie Venter fought as a middleweight at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur and won a light-heavyweight bronze medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. Fighting at light-heavyweight at the 2000 Sydney Olympics he beat Ihab Alyousef from Syria 12-9 in the first series. In the second he was stopped in the fourth round by Grucharan Singh of India, being 1-33 down.
Von Graevenitz, Helmuth Arthur Otto Leonard
Bantamweight Len von Graevenitz won his first fight at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics when he beat Romulo Pares of Argentina and then also outpointed Romania’s Ion Zlataru. He was eliminated in the third series by Pentti Hamalainen of Finland who won the gold medal.
Walker, Clarence Leonard
Clarrie Walker was the first SA boxer to win a gold medal at the Olympics. He won the bantamweight gold medal in Antwerp in 1920. On his way to the final he eliminated Edward Earl Hartman of the US and Britain’s James McKenzie. In the final, Walker defeated a Canadian, Chris Graham.
Webster, Alexander Grant
Grant Webster won the light-middleweight gold medal at the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Wales. Fighting at light-welterweight at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, he beat Herbert Schilling of Germany and Britain’s Peter Waterman. In the quarterfinal he lost on points to Charles Atkins, an American who later won the gold medal. At the 1956 Melbourne Olympics he competed in the light-middleweight division. He was eliminated in the first series by a Briton, John McCormack.
Williams, David Desmond
Fighting as a flyweight at the 1948 London Olympics, Williams beat Sweden’s Ingmar Burgstrom but he was stopped in the third round of his second fight by Pascuel Perez of Argentina, the eventual gold-medal winner. Perez later won the world flyweight title as a professional.
Middleweight Wilson lost his first bout at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics when he was outpointed by John Chase of Ireland.