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Boxing | Features

Sakkie Horn © African Ring Collection

The Horns



There have been a number of boxing families in South Africa over the years, among whom were the Storbecks, Bushneys, Toweels, Strydoms Steyns, Baronets, Whiteboys, Malingas and the Horns.

The name Horn possibly originates from English, Scottish, German and Dutch, and applied to someone whose occupational name came from persons who made small articles from the horn of an animal or who played a musical instrument from the horn of animal.

One of the first Horns, or possibly the first to arrive in South Africa, was Lord John Horn a belligerent Irishman who arrived in the Eastern Cape with the 1820 Settlers.

He became a legend through arguments with officialdom and fist fights in the bars. 

In Brakpan there was a family of Horns who may have been descendants of Lord John Horn. The four boxing sons of Frikkie Horn - Sakkie, Jan, Johan and Derrick - carried on the fighting tradition of the Horn family.

Going back in history, there was Big Bill Horn and Robert Horn, who fought as heavyweights in the 1930s and 1940s.

Other Horn’s were welterweight Johannes (Joe) Horn, who boxed in the early 1960s, and junior-heavyweight Freddy Horn, who fought under the name of Freddy Rafferty and won the South African junior-heavyweight title in October 1988.

Joe had two fights with the 1960 Olympic bronze medallist Boela Meyers and also went in against fighters like Charlie Els and Fraser Toweel. After retiring from the ring he became one of the most respected officials as a judge, before he passed away in October 2013.

Big Bill Horn, a train driver from Germiston, made his professional debut against Ben Foord in October 1932.

He met Foord, a future South African and British Empire heavyweight champion, on three occasions, losing twice and fighting to a draw. Unfortunately his career was interrupted by the war. After the war he only had four fights, losing three inside the distance to Nick Wolmarans, Johnny Ralph and Robert Horn.

Robert, a miner who had the build and looks of an Adonis, only had seven fights and never fulfilled his potential.

It was reported that he took his own life at the age of 22 when one of girlfriends jilted him.  There were also reports that he and Big Bill were uncle and cousin.

Frikkie Horn, father of the four fighting brothers, had two fights in the early 1960s as a professional, against heavyweights Piet Gouws and Alfie McKnight.

With a life-long love of the fight game, the Brakpan-based Frikkie encouraged his four sons to box.

On 7 May 1984 Frikkie saw a dream come true when his four sons, all fighting at light-heavyweight, fought on the same bill at the Portuguese Hall in Johannesburg.

Billed as “The Horn Bill”, Sakkie won an eight-round points decision over Antonio Harris, the British Midlands Area champion.                                                                                    

Jan fought to a four-round draw with Joseph Masemola; Johan also fought to a four-round draw with Alpheus Moloi and Derek, making his pro debut, won on points over four rounds against John Mthombeni.

Johan had seven pro fights from April 1982 to July 1984, winning two, losing three and fighting to two draws, and Derrick (sometimes spelt Derek) only had five fights, winning three and losing two.

Jan had a rather in and out career before retiring in in May 1995 with a record of 10-9-5; 4.

Sakkie (Sarel), the best of the four brothers, as an amateur, won a gold medal in the light-middleweight division at the 1981 South African Games.

He made his pro debut on 5 April 1982 and fought to a four-round draw with Kosie van Vuuren and then won ten of his next 11 fights, with his only loss coming against Fanie Phoko, who outpointed him over four rounds.

On 5 March 1984 he won his first professional title when he stopped Martin Barnard in eight rounds to claim the Transvaal light-heavyweight crown.

He won the South African light-heavyweight title on two occasions and in a four-bout series with Thulani “Sugarboy” Malinga, one of the legends the South African ring, he won two and lost two. Sakkie finished with a record 31-8-1; 9.

Sakkie was a traffic cop in Boksburg and rather sadly took his own life on 30 November 1993.

Whether all the Horns were related we don’t know.



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