Windhoek-The astonishing upsurge of local boxers at international events has captured the imagination of many Namibians from all walks of life.
Gerrie du Plooy, 18, a Grade 12 learner from the revered Windhoek High School (WHS) is the latest addition to the rapid growth of Namibian boxing.
Whilst his peers would be comfortable running with an oval ball tucked under their arms – young Gerrie is defying tradition having resolved to trade his rugby togs for boxing gloves.
The well-built tallish fellow, whose good looks can be easily mistaken for those of a Hollywood star, has invaded what was previously a domain for darkish hide athletes.
Ever since Namibia gained her independence from the South African apartheid regime in 1990 – the few remaining white boxers silently retreated into obscurity.
Unlike football that saw the amalgamation of multi-racial football leagues in 1977 – boxing was the first to cross the colour line when white boxers would trade blows with their black counterparts at the packed to rafters Windhoek Tennis Courts in Olympia.
The quartet of Jan Leff, Freek Ludicke, Poena Oosthuizen and Gerhard du Plooy were formidable boxers who made their presence felt in local boxing back in the day.
Interestingly, Gerrie is the son of retired Namibian boxer Gerhard du Plooy, incumbent vice-chairman of the Khomas Boxing Federation (KBF) whose old man Chris was a provincial champion in South Africa.
With boxing running freely in the veins of the Du Plooy clan – it’s not surprising that young Gerrie, a former flanker, decided to trade his rugby togs for boxing gloves, much to the chagrin of his fellow classmates.
“I started playing rugby at primary school in Okahandja but boxing always had a soft place in my heart. I was inspired by the likes of Mike Tyson and more importantly, the late boxing icon Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay).
“What really touched me specifically about Ali was his uncompromising stance towards racial discrimination. He effectively used boxing to challenge the evils of injustices and racial segregation in his native America (USA).”
A product of the Khomasdal-based After School Centre stable, the promising young boxer boasts a remarkable record of seven wins from eight fights in the amateur ranks with six of those bouts ending within the distance.
The welterweight boxer’s only defeat came in his debut fight against the more experienced and equally dangerous Joshua Kasera. He was narrowly defeated on points at the 2014 national schools boxing championships in Rundu, but never looked back ever since.
“My ultimate aim is to turn professional as soon as I have accumulated enough fights under the belt, obviously accompanied by decent results.”
Courageous words from a champion-in-waiting – well, let’s hope he will stay around long enough to live his dream. Only time will tell.