Former SA middleweight champion dies at 76

By Ron Jackson

Jan Kies, one of South Africa’s most exciting fighters in the 1970s and a former South African middleweight champion, passed away over the weekend. He was 76.

Fighting from the southpaw stance he made his pro debut on 31 March 1969 with a first-round knockout win over Herbie Blom and, in his fourth fight, lost on a fifth-round technical knockout against former South African middleweight champion Johnny Wood.

His career then took off as he went unbeaten in his next ten fights before losing to British import Les McAteer on a seventh-round disqualification. However, in a return match with McAteer, he won on a third-round technical knockout.

The year 1972 was a good one for Kies as he beat quality imports like Jean Josselin, Harry Scott, Don McMillan, and Dominico Tiberia.

On 31 January 1973 he lost on points against Dominic Germishuys over 12 rounds in Cape Town for the South African middleweight title. However, in a return fight four months later, he beat Germishuys for the title.

Sadly, the year ended up badly when he lost to former South African welterweight champion Dave Rose on a third-round disqualification.

In 1974 he retained the South African middleweight title against Dominic Germishuis (tko 7), and Coert Fourie (pts 12), before losing to import Maxie Smith on a fifth-round knockout.

He only had two fights in 1975, retaining the South African title against Germishuis in Durban (ko 6) before losing on points to David Love.

Jan made a good start in 1976, winning four fights before losing to Elijah “Tap Tap” Makhatini in Johannesburg on a third-round technical knockout for the vacant South African “Supreme” middleweight title, and in his next fight, on 6 June 1977, lost the South African “White” middleweight title to Doug Lumley (tko 11) in Durban.

He announced his retirement from boxing after the loss to Lumley, but was soon back in the ring to score wins over Gerrie Bodenstein and Victor Ntloko, both inside the distance.

In 1978 the spark was gone as he lost to Elijah Makhatini, Kid Power, and Joseph Sishi to finish with a record of 31-11 with 21 KOs.

Even though he lost a few fights Jan always came to fight and was a big favourite with the fans.

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