By Ken Hissner: On January 12, at the age of 67, the former WBA World boxing champion Gerri “The Boksburg Bomber” Coetzee passed away on the birthday of former heavyweight boxing champion “Smokin” Joe Frazier’s birthday.
Coetzee was most known as the first African boxer to win the boxing heavyweight title, with Corrie Sanders winning the WBO title right behind him years later.
Coetzee had twenty-three operations on his right hand that was broken when he won the world title knocking out Michael Dokes on September 23, 1983, in what Ring Magazine called the upset of the year.
It was the third attempt to win the title by Coezee after failing against 1976 Olympian John Tate for the vacant WBA title in 1979 by decision and against WBA champion Mike “Hercules” Weaver in 1980 by stoppage in thirteen rounds. He knocked out former 1976 Gold Medalist Leon Spinks in the first round in 1979.
In 1984 Coetzee, after over a year without a fight due to surgery on his hand, didn’t fight. He was then known as the man with the “Bionic hand” due to the reconstruction of the hand. In his first defense, he lost to Greg Page, being stopped some 0:48 after the three minutes had passed. The commission refused to honor it instead of making it a no-decision or no-contest.
Coezee’s final record was 33-6-1 with 21 knockouts after an amateur career of 185-7.
Coetzee was against Apartheid, claiming all races should be treated the same. He would later become friends with President Nelson Mandela, who, after twenty-seven years in prison, became the President of South Africa.
In talking with the people putting the movie together, the following questions were asked and answered by Director Producer Kendrrie Utuk:
KEN: “Who will play the part of Gerrie Coezee?”
KENDRRIE: “Production team has settled on Dricus du Plessus and upcoming star on the MMA fighting circuit. He’s from Pretoria, South Africa.”
KEN: “Who will be the director and producer?”
KENDDRIE: “I’m the executive producer and award-winning Director, Koos Roets, from Klasstrom, South Africa. He comes highly recommended, and he will surely bring great clarity and experience to bear on the movie.”
KEN: “Who wrote the script for the movie?”
KENDDRIE: “The original script of the movie was written by seasoned, experienced Nigerian screenwriter Ernest Enobong and Director Koos Roets.”
KEN: “Where will the funding come from?”
KENDDRIE: “Majority of the funding will come from the US. We’ve assembled a great team that includes Oscar-nominated Producer Andre Scholtz, Oscar-winning music composer Trevor Alfred Charles Jones, and Award-winning cinematographer Vicci Turpin. On States side, will be working with Producer, agent, and casting director Mike Styles.”
KEN: “Where will the filming be?”
KENDDRIE: “The movie will be shot in the beautiful city of Cape Town, Monaco, and Akron, Ohio.”