Blasts from the past: Die Bek starts stalking Ali’s crown
Today in SA sports history: February 28
1976 — Heavyweight Kallie Knoetze makes his professional debut against Jeff Ellis at the Wembley ice rink in Johannesburg, winning by second-round knockout. The hard-punching loud-mouthed policeman known as Die Bek Van Boomstraat would go on to fight in a series of eliminators for the WBA crown vacated by Muhammad Ali in the late 1970s.
1997 — June Siko is blown away in the second round of his challenge against WBF junior-featherweight champion Torsak Pongsupa in Thailand. Siko got the shot without ever had held a provincial SA title, let alone a national belt.
1998 — Bafana Bafana are dethroned as African champions at the final hurdle when they go down 0-2 to Egypt in the Nations Cup final in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The Egyptians wrapped it up early with Ahmed Hassan scoring in the fifth minute and Tarek Mostafa just eight minutes later. Neither Benni McCarthy nor Hossam Hassan, the tournament’s leading scorers on seven, could add to their tallies. It was Egypt’s fourth victory in the history of the tournament.
2003 — Gabula Vabaza outpoints SA-based Tanzanian Mbwana Matumla over 12 rounds to retain his marginal WBU junior-bantamweight title in East London.
2004 — Andre Thysse’s challenge for Markus Beyer’s WBC super-middleweight title ends in a 12-round points defeat in Dresden.
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