This Day in Boxing

Greg Page KOs Gerrie Coetzee This Day December 1, 1984

Greg Page KOs Gerrie Coetzee This Day December 1, 1984




  • Greg Page 236½ lbs
  • Gerrie Coetzee 218 lbs
  • KO at 3:03 in round 8 of 15
  • Location: Superbowl, Sun City, North-West, South Africa
  • Referee: Isidro Rodriguez
  • World Boxing Association Heavyweight Title (1st defense by Coetzee)



Greg Page won the World Boxing Association heavyweight title tonight when he pounded Gerrie Coetzee of South Africa to the canvas in the eighth round of a tumultuous fight that ended in confusion and controversy.

In an earlier bout, Piet Crous, a 29-year-old insurance claims manager from South Africa, won a unanimous decision to upset the W.B.A. junior heavyweight champion, Ossie Ocasio of Puerto Rico.

Page appeared narrowly ahead on points when the end came suddenly through a left-right combination that knocked Coetzee on his back. Coetzee was counted out by Referee Issidro Rodriguez of Venezuela.

But there was much confusion as to when the knockout occurred. Well before Page decked Coetzee, spectators at ringside were shouting at the timekeeper, Phil Swart, that the three-minute round had ended. There were estimates that the eighth round actually went as many as 40 seconds past the three-minute limit.

Swart said the round lasted 3 minutes 3 seconds, including the 10-count after the knockout. The Coetzee camp did not lodge an immediate protest.

The confusion followed a bitterly contested match in which the fighters had taunted each other, had wrestled along the ropes and had traded stunning blows.

“They told me I was through, they told me I was washed up,” Page, who is 26-years-old, shouted jubilantly. Earlier this year, he lost to Tim Witherspoon and David Bey in lackluster fights.

“Ah, it’s tough,” said Coetzee, 29. Defeat came in his first defense since he won the title by knocking out Michael Dokes on Sept. 23, 1983, in the 10th round. After tonight’s fight, he left quickly with his wife, Rina, and their children without speaking to reporters.

The challenger knocked Coetzee down for a mandatory eight count in the seventh round and both fighters had knocked each other wobbly with powerful rights earlier in the bout.

Page hurt Coetzee in the fourth round with two rights and a left, and in the fifth round with a right. But the South African came back, stinging Page with lefts.

Page caught Coetzee with a left that sent him back toward the ropes in the eighth. The American moved in with another left and a right that sent Coetzee sprawling. He could not get up to beat the 10-count.

There was very little reaction from whites in the crowd of about 7,500 at the Sun City Superbowl, but blacks mobbed Page, who is black. Sun City, a gambling resort, is in the tribal homeland of Bophuthatswana, about 80 miles northwest of Johannesburg.

Since the Dokes fight, Coetzee ran into one contractual problem after another until he finally got a challenge from Page, who earned $500,000. Coetzee, who was contracted to be paid in South African rands, received the equivalent of a little more than $800,000.

Coetzee lost to Mike Weaver and John Tate on his way to the championship. His record now is 29-3-1. It was the first time he was knocked out after stopping 18 opponents. Page is 24-3 with 19 knockouts.

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