Blasts from the past: Silver Assassin ices Steve Gregory
Today in SA sports history: March 7
1976 — Alan Toweel, trainer of heavyweight Mike Schutte, says he has turned down a R100,000 offer to fight then world champion Muhammad Ali. “Mike is not ready yet,” said Toweel. “They have accepted my reasons for not wanting an early fight and have sent me a cable to confirm it.” Toweel wanted Schutte to fight two opponents who had already fought Ali, including Chuck Wepner. Schutte would indeed fight Wepner, but the Ali bout never materialised.
1981 — Charlie “Silver Assassin” Weir, one of SA boxing’s biggest drawcards of the 1970s and early 1980s, bombs out world-ranked junior-middleweight Steve Gregory of the US in the third round at Ellis Park. Weir hurt his opponent, rated fifth by the WBA, with two right hands to the head and referee Stan Christodoulou waved it over. Weir would challenge for that organisation’s title the following year.
1999 — Johan Botha beats legendary Wilson Kipketer to win the 800m title at the world indoor championships in Japan. Botha clocked 1min 45.47sec to edge the Kenyan-turned-Dane by two-hundredths of a second.
1999 — Dingaan Thobela beats Walter Daneff of Argentina on a seventh-round technical knockout, but he can’t lift the vacant IBO welterweight title because he had failed to make the weight limit. Thobela had tried to cheat his way through the weigh-in the previous the day by surreptitiously placing his thumb on the front display of the electronic scale that was chest high. When his opponent’s manager told him to remove his one hand, he immediately tried using his other hand. Thobela, a few kilograms overweight, was given several hours to lose as much weight as possible. Instead, he returned even heavier, officially fighting 9kg (20 pounds) above the welterweight limit. On the same bill, Stephen Msimanga and Mawanda Sineko fought for the vacant IBO strawweight title, but neither could become the world champion after the bout was declared a draw.
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