Former South African cruiserweight champion Deon Coetzee has decided to retire from boxing as a result of what he claims is a “pittance” purse – the R70 000 he got for his title defence against Kevin Lerena last year.
Coetzee (30) says he has decided to throw his weight behind a family truck business in Kempton Park on the East Rand to make “a decent living”.
“I’ve decided to hang up my gloves to help with the family business. For a man who just got married, like myself, I think there’s no money in boxing. It doesn’t help to continue fighting for peanuts.”
Coetzee, who is ranked fifth by Boxing SA (BSA), claims the payment he received after his bout against Lerena was double what he got when he won the then vacant title.
“I got paid R70 000 for defending the crown and took home R50 000 after my trainer, Nic Durandt, claimed a R20 000 cut,” said Coetzee.
He claims he was paid R20 000 for winning the title against Bevan Beckman at the International Convention Centre in Durban.
Coetzee lost his championship to Lerena by a unanimous decision at Emperors Palace on July 30 last year.
Coetzee, who has a record of 18 professional bouts, said it was impossible to make a living from boxing these days.
“Many fighters do not always secure fights because promoters always struggle to organise tournaments,” he said.
He only got R10 000 for the six-round cruiserweight bout he won by beating Congolese Fikile Nyalunga at Presley’s Restaurant in Boksburg earlier this year.
“Our truck business, which I run with my brother, involves transporting electric cables to Eskom substations around the country. At least this puts enough bread on the table, unlike boxing, where you don’t know when your next fight will come,” he said.
But Coetzee believes hanging up his gloves will not diminish his love for the sport.
“I always attend some tournaments and watch a lot more local fights on television,” he said
According to BSA chief executive officer Tsholofelo Lejaka, a champion is entitled to a R20 000 purse, while the challenger gets R13 000, with a six-round contestant receiving R4 000.
“This is the purse payment structure for the boxers,” said Lejaka.
Coetzee’s decision to quit follows the announcement by Anton Nel in May that he was bowing out of the ring. This, after he lost his South African heavyweight championship belt when he was knocked out by Osborne Machimana in the fourth round at Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg.
However, the BSA still regards Nel (48) as an active boxer, despite his having made his intention clear of calling it quits.
“As far as BSA is concerned, Nel is still our licencee. He is rated third in the heavyweight division,” said Lejaka.
The BSA has released a list of boxers whose licences have not been renewed (see graphic).
They include heavyweight Francois Botha, featherwight Takalani Ndlovu, lightweight Isaac Hlatshwayo, bantamweight Vusi Malinga and welterweight Philip Ndou.