By Ron Jackson
Freddy Rafferty who fought as a professional from 1983 to 1997 and won the South African junior-heavyweight title in October 1988 died from a heart attack on Monday in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal. Rafferty was at his gym in Empangeni where he trained a number of fighter when he collapsed, before he was taken to the local hospital where he passed away.
Rafferty who was born Frederick Horn in Welkom, OFS on August 30, 1963 used the name Rafferty as there were a number of other Horns who were no relation to him boxing at the time.
After a short amateur career he made his pro debut on March 26 1983 with a fourth round knockout win over Gideon Mketshane.
Trained by Willie Lock and Jeff Ellis at Lock’s gym in Yeoville and fighting at light-heavyweight he won his next five fights inside the distance.
In 1984 things seemed to go wrong after fighting to a draw with Jonjo Greene from the United Kingdom in Durban and winning against Weaver Qwabe he lost three in a row which included a return match with Greene.
In 1985 and 1986 he had three cracks at trying to winning the South African light-heavyweight title, fighting to a draw with Sakkie Enslin and losing to Sakkie Horn and Thulani “Sugaboy” Malinga.
Through 1987 to 1988 thing improved with an upset seventh round knockout win over former South African light-heavyweight and WBA junior-heavyweight champion Piet Crous at Sun City.
Moving into the junior-heavyweight class he won the vacant Transvaal junior-heavyweight title with a first round knockout win over Reginald Mazingane and in his next fight he captured the vacant South African junior-heavyweight title with a third round stoppage against Gideon Hlongwa at the West Ridge Tennis Stadium in Durban.
He subsequently lost the South African title to Howard Mpepsi May 1990 but regained it in a return match with Mpepsi four months later.
Rafferty would lose the title once again when Leonard Friedman stopped him in the tenth round but then regained the title in May 1993 in a return match with Friedman.
In April 1994 he would once again lose the SA title when he was outpointed over 12 rounds by Jacob Mofokeng.
He was then inactive until March 1997 when he beat Alex Mchunu and in his last fight on July 6 he was outpointed over ten rounds by Douglas Sibiya at the Empangeni Town Hall in a clash for the Natal junior heavyweight title. He finished with a record of 32-14-2; 23.
I saw many of Freddy’s fights and will always remember this quiet humble man who took the time to come into my office in Boksburg many years ago to bring me a signed photograph for my collection.