- On 23 September 1983, South African heavyweight boxer Gerrie Coetzee went up against American Michael Dokes in Cleveland, Ohio
- Coetzee came out victorious and walked away with the World Boxing Association (WBA) heavy weight title
- He became the first South African boxer to win the title in the spesific weight category
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On this day, 37 years ago, South African boxer Gerrie Coetzee made history when he beat American Michael Dokes in Cleveland, Ohio.
Coetzee became the first South African to ever win the heavyweight title. It was the boxer's third attempt to bag the world title, with both previous attempts ending in failure.
The highly anticipated match between Coetzee and Dokes was watched by boxing fans across the world.
According to South African History Online, Coetzee won the match by knock out in the tenth round.
The historic match completely redefined Coetzee's career. He went from being the boxer known as ‘the one who couldn’t win the big one’ to South Africa’s first world heavyweight champion.
Sadly, Coetzee lost his title shortly afterwards when he attempt to defend it against Greg Page in 1984.
Coetzee retired from boxing 10 years after his historic win in 1993. During his career, Coetzee suffered several arm injuries and he had to undergo surgeries in both arms.
He won a total of 66 matches, only losing three and drawing one. Coetzee began his career on the night of 14th September 1974. During this match, he went head to head with Christian Roos, and he won.
This was only the first of the 22 unbeaten win streaks that focused much attention towards the young boxer.
In other news, Briefly.co.za previously reported on another sport history event that took place this week.
Tuesday, 22 September, marked the 16th anniversary of the day paralympic athlete Teboho Mokgalagadi won gold at the Paralympic games.
The Paralympics were held in Greece that year and Teboho bagged two gold medals during the sports event. Teboho has cerebral palsy, which causes muscle impairment (among other things) and is ultimately the result of brain damage at a young age.
Teboho won his first gold medal in a 100m sprint, it was also his first international competition. Now 36, Teboho works as a School Sports Promotion Officer at the Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation in the Free State where he was born. He is truly an inspiration and has remained humble throughout his success.
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