Boxer and ring official Joe Horn dies

Joe Horn, a welterweight boxer who became an excellent ring official, has died in Johannesburg.

Horn, who fought in the 1960s, was 72 years old when he died on Monday.

He was born in Johannesburg on December 22 1940, and made his professional debut in March 1963.

He twice fought Boela Meyers, the 1960 Rome Olympic bronze medallist, losing on points on both occasions. Their first encounter was Horn’s third professional fight, at the Ice Drome in Durban. The second was at the Ellis Park Tennis Stadium in Johannesburg four months later.

Horn, a southpaw, beat Mickey Ravell, Jannie Jacobs, Gert Maritz, Nelie Hoffman and former SA featherweight, lightweight and welterweight champion Charlie Els.

Hall of Fame referee Stan Christodoulou was a good friend of Horn. On Tuesday, he recalled the boxer’s gutsy performance when he fought Fraser Toweel, who was then at his best, at the Green Point Track in Cape Town on September 21 1964. Toweel won on points over ten rounds.

In his last recorded fight, on February 28 1966, Horn won on points over four rounds against Attie Stander. He then became a ring official with a preference for judging fights. He handled assignments for the WBA in Germany, Italy and Australia.

His ability to hand in consistent cards was probably the result of his own scoring method. He used to jot down, on a separate piece of paper, the number of scoring punches each fighter landed.

Horn, who was also a building contractor, suffered a stroke at his home in Kensington B in Randburg about six years ago and never recovered. He later also suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

Known for his rough and strong hands, possibly from working as a bricklayer over many years, he was also a keen hunter and tennis player.