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Boxing | South Africa

Ruaan Visser © SuperSport.com

Profile: The Giant King

The little farming town of Meyerton looked set to produce the next big Lions and possibly Springbok lock but when then-20-year-old Ruann Visser’s first practice session saw him pick up a serious knee injury, his recovery work in the gym ended up changing his life.

Visser spent hours in the gym as part of his rehabilitation and boxing was added as part of the fitness programme. The youngster’s impressive size and weight – he’s 2.07m tall and weighs about 130kgs – caught the eye of some of the professionals in the ring and he was roped in as a sparring partner.

Visser realised that he had a future in the ring and word spread quickly around the world of South Africa’s “The Giant King”. It’s been six years since Visser entered the ring and a lot has happened since then. He’s won his last six fights – four technical knockouts, one knockout and one on points with his most recent win coming last Friday in a rematch against "Knife" Didier at Carnival City. His only defeat came in July of 2015, a points defeat to George Tshimanga. He has a record of 11 fights and one defeat.

But most impressively, Visser has spent two stints in the Wladimir Klitschko camp, most recently as the then-world champion’s main sparring partner ahead of the Anthony Joshua bout.

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Visser may be big news on the local and international boxing scene but away from the ring he enjoys the simple things in life – farming, family and food (preferably cooked on the braai). Visser is the eldest of two boys to Nefdt and Juanita. Younger brother Reuben often does duty on the braai – which happens about twice a day on the Visser farm as Ruann eats about eight meals a day.

It’s a massive family effort but everything happens on the farm. The family have turned their barn into a full gym for Ruann while the rest of the farmland is for vegetables and livestock. The boxer is also expected to do his share of the work on the farm in between training sessions, meals, naps and jogs.

Everyone chips in and 26-year-old Visser acknowledges that his journey is no longer his own, alone.

“Every time I step into the ring, I know I am representing my family, everyone who works on the farm as well as my community,” said Visser. “My success is their success and I appreciate all the support they give me.”

When that world title finally comes, Visser’s name will echo far beyond the dirt roads of Meyerton or even isles of Ellis Park.


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