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Did you know?


Gert “Hottie” van Heerden a former middleweight and light-heavyweight champion of South Africa and Willie Ludick a former welterweight and middleweight champion became lay preachers for the Full Gospel Church.

The late Karel de Vries from Cape Town and Helgard Muller from Pietersburg are the only known two South Africans to have a complete set of the Ring magazine which was first published in February 1922.

George Tilley a referee from Durban was appointed a member of the World Boxing Association in 1975.

At one time former boxers and wrestlers in Los Angeles ran a “Cauliflower Alley Club”. Yes, to qualify as a member you had to have a tin ear (cauliflower ear).

Did you know that Welshman Johnny Williams a former British and Empire heavyweight champion, had three fights in South Africa in 1948/9. He beat Freddie Vorster, Bill Wood and Nick Wolmarans. In October 1952 he retained the Empire title when he stopped South African heavyweight champion Johnny Arthur in the seventh round at the Granby Halls in Leicester, England. Arthur retired with a cut eye.

Dolf du Plessis a contender for the South African featherweight title in 1929 started as a jockey before becoming a fighter. He was trained by Jim Turner and fought good fighters like Scotty Fraser, Seaman Joe Hunt, Norman Mulligan, Les van Rooyen, Ernie Jarvis, Pierre Pothier, Clarence Walker and Len McLoughlin. He later became a trainer, and handled fighters like Dave Katzen, Jimmy Webster, Smiler van Rensburg, Teddy Braun, Tommy Bensch and Robey Leibbrandt.

Dries Nieman who won a bronze medal at the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games was a fairly successful professional heavyweight and at one time owned one of the largest farms near Grootfontein in the then South West Africa. He started out as a carpenter on a mine.

It was reported that Wynand Rademeyer was the first South African policeman to receive permission to fight as a professional. He fought as a middleweight from 1946 to 1951 and used the name Young Rosella, his manager being former South African welterweight champion Joe Rosella. He met fighters like Duggie Miller, Evie Ehlers, Gillie van der Westhuizen and Bobby Mazzoni.

Seaman Chetty a leading Durban businessman in the 1970s, was rated as the sixth best flyweight in the world by The Ring magazine in 1938. On November 8 1939 he was outpointed over ten rounds by Rinty Monaghan, who would go on to win the world flyweight title when there were only eight divisions.

Famous comedian Bob Hope fought as professional boxer under the name of Packy East, before going into show business.

Fred Cato who came to South Africa from England in 1915 and settled in Port Elizabeth beat some good fighters like Billy Fairclough, Ronald Dumar, Joe Rosella and Jack Lalor. He beat Lalor on a third round disqualification in 1918 in Benoni for the South African welterweight title. Later in the same year he lost the title to Ronald Dumar on a sixth-round stoppage at Kroonstad. He subsequently became a racehorse trainer in Port Elizabeth.


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