Hero 'Dirty Boy' draws plaudits
Late Cape provincial junior lightweight boxing champion Guy "Dirty Boy" Ratazayo has been described not only as a fearless yet exciting fighter inside the roped square. The 66-year-old departed from Mdantsane was yesterday defined as someone who achieved aspired greatness as a human being despite the financial setbacks of boxing.
Boxing in the 1970s - which was Ratazayo's era - was done for the love of it and heroism. Boxers were not remunerated accordingly but were given a pittance compared to the humongous purses that are being paid today.
But Ratazayo, who was also an underground member of Umkhonto weSizwe - the ANC's military wing - was able to make use of the small amount of money he got from boxing to purchase a house and a farm which he had until his last days a week ago.
Giving a moving tribute yesterday was Ratazayo's former gym mate, sparring partner and friend Spokes Witbooi.
"Guy took the provincial title from formidable champion Tsietsi Maretloane in their second fight in 1978. Maretloane had beaten Ratazayo in their first fight four years earlier.
"Despite not winning the SA title [held by Nkosana Mgxaji] and earn decent purse money, Guy changed the perception that boxers die as paupers. He bought himself a house and he later acquired a farm which had cattle, pigs and goats. I can tell you that Guy was not poor."
Witbooi made it clear that for Ratazayo to defeat Maretlone, who Witbooi described as being "something else as a fighter and a darling in Mdantsane" was a true reflection of who Ratazayo was.
"Guy beat him at Mdantsane Stadium and that alone says a lot," said Witbooi. "He also fought great guys like Evans Gwiji, Ben Lekalake, Bashew Sibaca, Thomas Sithebe, Jacob Morake and Bramley Whiteboy."
Ratazayo quit in 1980 after losing the provincial title to Chris Whiteboy at Good Hope Centre.
"Guy was a great boxer and a marvel to watch due to his exciting lateral movement around the ring," said 61-year-old Witbooi who said they trained together at Ratazayo's Yakuza Boxing Club.
"He started that gym and I joined him; we sparred together and we later became friends," said the man who also fought Whiteboy before quitting in 1985.
Ratazayo chalked up 24 wins against 13 losses and a draw.
Matchmaker Luyanda Kana said Ratazayo will be buried at Mtsotso Cemetery on Sunday.
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