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They’ve Made Their Marks in Many Different Arenas, but They Have One Thing in Common: These Men and Women of Sport Figure to Be Major Players in the Year Ahead : GERRY COETZEE : In Search of a Ringing Success at the Marriott

TIMES STAFF WRITER

He has no desire to rejoin the ranks of boxing’s heavyweights.

Been there. Done that.

Gerrie Coetzee, once world heavyweight boxing champion, would settle for moderate success in his new career as a boxing promoter.

“I don’t want to be a Don King or a Bob Arum-type promoter,” Coetzee said. “If I can make Woodland Hills a top venue, that would be fine by me.”

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He appears to be moving in the right direction.

After taking over the promotional reins of monthly shows at the Warner Center Marriott in June, one of Coetzee’s first cards drew only 193 fans. But like a champion boxer who has been staggered, Coetzee, who lives in Newport Beach, regrouped and fought back.

He called in favors to bring in higher-caliber fighters. He signed a promotional agreement with P.J. Goossen, a popular Valley-based boxer with contender potential. Coetzee is close to finalizing an agreement with a national cable network to televise his shows.

“I won’t give up until it’s successful,” Coetzee said. [The Marriott cards] had slipped when I took over, but the last few shows have been getting better and better. We’re making progress.”

Coetzee hopes to invest revenue from the television deal to attract top-flight fighters.

“The fighters who box at the Marriott are going to get national exposure and that puts us in position to get better fighters,” Coetzee said.

Already, Goossen is scheduled to meet former world champion Rene Arredondo in a North American Boxing Organization junior middleweight title fight at the Marriott in February. If he wins, Goossen would be in line for a World Boxing Organization title shot.

Coetzee recently signed promotional agreements with nationally ranked middleweight Rodney Toney and rising junior middleweight prospect Rodney Jones.

“My goal is to help a local kid win a title,” Coetzee said. “Then he can come back home and defend it. We’re establishing ourselves with fighters we can take to world title fights.”

As those boxers advance, Coetzee expects fight fans to pack the Marriott’s Grand Ballroom.

“It will happen in the first half of ’96,” Coetzee said. “We’ll have a knockout venue.”


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