It is with great sadness that we must report the death of former world heavyweight champion, Gerrie Coetzee, on January 12th, 2023. His contribution to South African boxing and his legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of many fans. Let’s take a look back at his incredible career. Keep reading more to get more information about this article.
Who was Gerrie Coetzee?
Gerhardus Christian Coetzee was born on April 8, 1955 in Bloemfontein, Free State Province, South Africa. He began his professional boxing career at the age of 19 in 1974 and went undefeated in his first twelve bouts. In 1977, he won a 15-round decision against future WBC world heavyweight champion Pinklon Thomas, setting up a showdown with WBA world heavyweight champion Michael Dokes that same year. In what was considered an upset at the time, Coetzee knocked out Dokes in round eleven to become the first African ever to win a world heavyweight championship title.
Coetzee’s reign as WBA champion didn’t last long due to numerous injuries which forced him to take a break from boxing for five years. During this time off he battled depression and alcohol abuse but eventually returned to boxing in 1984 after being given medical clearance by doctors. In 1985 he fought former unified world heavyweight champion Leon Spinks and won by unanimous decision. He continued fighting until 1986 when he retired from the ring for good with an impressive record of 42 wins (29 knockouts) and 4 losses throughout his career.
Coetzee’s Legacy & Impact
In December 2019, the Professional Boxing Association of South Africa named him as their “Boxer Of The Decade” for his impressive achievements both inside and outside of the ring over several decades. After retiring from boxing he became involved in various charitable organizations such as “The Gerrie Coetzee Foundation” which helps feed hungry children around South Africa who are affected by poverty or HIV/AIDS related illnesses. His legacy will live on through these efforts as well as through those whose lives were touched by him during his lifetime and beyond.
How did Gerrie Coetzee die? What was the cause of death?
Gerrie Coetzee, who was also known affectionately as “The Bionic Hand” and “Seer Handjies” by his fellow South African boxing great Kallie Knoetze, suffered a persistent problem with his right hand that required three surgeries and the insertion of corrective items. Sadly, this was not his only ailment; on the 12th of January 2023, Coetzee died of cancer at the age of 67. What is certain is that Coetzee’s legacy will live on in the memories of those who knew him well and admired him.
Gerrie Coetzee Obituary
On January 12 we lost an icon; one who inspired millions through his courage and determination both inside and outside of the ring -Gerrie Coetzee has gone but never forgotten! Rest In Peace Gerrie!! We celebrate you today! We thank you for your generosity towards those less fortunate than yourself! Your legacy will remain forever! May you always be remembered! Thank you for everything you have done for us all!!