By Ron Jackson
Former South African lightweight champion Kokkie Olivier, who fought as a professional from 1968 to 1977, died in Boksburg recently. He was 69. Born Jacobus Andries Olivier on 18 April, 1948, he was a promising amateur and won the lightweight class at the 1966 South African championships. He made his pro debut on 19 February, 1968 with a first round stoppage win over Willie Gerber, who fought under the name of Frankie Bettz.
Trained by Alan Toweel Snr, Kokkie was a rugged, rough and tough come-forward fighter, and he won his next 12 fights before winning the vacant South African lightweight title with a points victory over Henry Brooks on 30 April, 1970 in Cape Town.
He made a successful defence of the title in a rematch with Brooks before losing the title to Andries Steyn on 8 May, 1971.
Kokkie had three fights with Steyn, one of the finest boxers produced in South Africa. Even though he lost all three fights to Steyn, he made him work hard for victory on each occasion.
Known for his body punching, Olivier beat local rivals like Harry Barbaries, Jimmy Carroll, Chris du Plessis and Dirk van der Westhuizen.
Fighting mostly under the banner of the Toweel family’s Springbok Promotions, he also beat quality overseas fighters like Tony Riley, Willie Reilly, Giacomo Gulino, George O’Neill, Roger Zami, and lost on points to future world lightweight champion southpaw Jim Watt.
He finished with a record of 36-10-3-1nc; (11).
BILLY OLIVER DIES AT 75
In the same week as Olivier’s death, Billy Oliver, a promising amateur who had four fights as a professional passed away at the age of 75.
He had three professional fights in 1969 and on 12 March, 1974 while on holiday in Durban he stepped in to help the local promoter at short notice and lost on points to Hennie Wilken. He fought under the name of Freddie Kingma.