Ron Ellis - by Terry Pettifer
One of the most exciting heavyweight
contenders of the 1980’s, was the big
punching Ron Ellis, of Mayfair. Younger
brother to another gutsy heavyweight
prospect; Jeff Ellis, the trigger-fisted
Ron had 23 bouts as a professional,
winning 16 (11 by knockouts), losing 6
and drawing 1.
Having turned professional in December
1979, Ron won 9 of his first 11 contests,
accounting for the likes of Solomon Dladla (W PTS 4), James Meiring (W PTS 4), Joel Matata (W TKO 1), Njimoyi Chaka Sokhela (W PTS 4), Welcome Mandya (W KO 1), Jerry Shezi (W PTS 6), simon Khumalo (W TKO 1), Louis Hendricks (W TKO 1) and Bertie Potgieter (W TKO 1). His only setbacks at that stage of his career, were against Caiphas Masondo (L DQ 3) and Pierre Coetzer (L KO 4).
Ellis’ lightning-fast “blow out” of
southpaw Louie Hendriks was especially noteworthy, because numerous
pundits at the time were predicting
that the smooth-boxing Free Stater had
the makings of a champion.
Eager to fight anyone who would
climb into the ring with him, Ron was a
true crowd pleaser and his booming
right hand came within a whisker of
winning him the vacant SA heavyweight
title on December 19, 1983,
when he fought the lion-hearted Robbie
Williams in Durban. Unfortunately
for Ellis, after dropping Williams with
his signature punch, Ron appeared to
run out of steam and he was stopped
in the 5th round of a slam-bang fight. “Ellis simply ran out of gas” said veteran
sportswriter Paul Hetz. “Ron would have stood a far better chance of winning (the
fight) if only he trained harder for what could have been his big break as a professionall”.
However, Ellis bounced back to win 5 and draw 1 of his next half-a-dozen bouts, beating Jerry Shezi (W TKO 10), Gary Webb (W TKO 2), and Njimoyi Chaka Sokhela (W KO 4), before traveling to Britain, where he halted Barry Ellis in the 3rd round.
On his return to South Africa,
however, he flattered to deceive by
boxing to a draw with the equally savage
punching Hannes van der Berg, before
returning to the UK and besting
Derek Williams on points over eight
While still abroad, he lost an 8-round
nod to Funso Banjo of Nigeria, and in
his next outing, more than four months
later, he was halted by sensational
heavyweight newcomer Johnny du
Plooy in the second round of their
punch-up in Durban, on April 2, 1986.
Thereafter, Ron had a lengthy break
from the sport; almost four years in
fact, before returning to flatten Muziwenkosi
Mchunu via a 1st round knockout,
on March 5, 1990 in Durban.
By then disenchanted with the rigours of training, Ellis looked decidedly jaded when he lost a 4-round decision to Themba Msweli in June 1990, and wisely decided to retire from the sport. Ellis’ passion for the sport though, has never dwindled, and he regularly attends tournaments, sometimes in the company of his brother Jeff.