Boxing Snippets

Meeting SA’s best referee and judge

by Ron Jackson

Deon Dwarte has acted as a referee and judge in more than 1100 fights since he first stepped in as a judge in 1998 and has a strong claim as the best boxing official in South Africa.

Twenty years ago he passed a three-hour examination set by Hall of Fame referee Stan Christodoulou and was then advised by the Boxing Commission that he would have to hand in “dummy cards” as a judge for six months before he could act as a registered official and judge fights.

However, this did not happen – shortly after this, he attended a tournament near his home and was advised that there were not enough officials and he would have to step in as an official judge.

This was the start of wonderful journey for Deon that led to assignments around the world for the next 20 years which included 36 world title fights in some or other capacity.

Deon was born in Cape Town on March 31, 1969 and after matriculating at the Windsor High School in Lansdowne he went on to further his studies, obtaining a National Diploma in Public Management in 2013. He also graduated in 2016 with a degree in Public Management and is currently a deputy director at the Western Cape Department of Community Safety.

He played rugby and cricket at school but was more interested in boxing since the age of fifteen.

Deon Dwarte in traditional pose, here with IBO champion Thulani Mbenge. Pic: Christo Smith

Starting out as a spider-weight (about 34kg), he trained at Basil Brice’s gym in Cape Town and two years later won a silver medal in the light-flyweight class at the Western Cape provincial championship.

While doing his national service stint in the army he was beaten in his first fight in the South African Defence Force championships.

Deon also represented Griqualand West and was their flyweight champion in 1988 and 1989.

Never interested in fighting as a professional, Deon says he is a proud member of the WBO and IBF and has been privileged to act as an official involving world champions like Marco Huck, Wladimir Klitschko, Terry Flanagan, Liam Smith, Kosei Tanaka, Joseph Parker, Isaac Dogboe, Mzonke Fana, Malcolm Klassen Steve Molitor, Alexander Povetkin, Nate Campbell, Cassius Baloyi, Celestino Caballero, Nkosinathi Joyi, Isaac Hlatshwayo, Zab Judah, Nonito Donaire, Anthony Joshua and Hekkie Budler, among others.

He has been a referee in five IBO world title fights and six as a referee, and as judge in six IBF world and eliminator title fights.

From Richwood in Cape Town, Deon says he will be forever grateful for the opportunities that boxing has given him over the past 20 years, having visited countries and places he never dreamed of.

His dreams continue when he is once again on his travels, as he flies to Macau, China to be one of the judges for the IBF flyweight title fight between South Africa’s Moruti Mthalane and Mashiro Sakamoto of Japan at the Wynn Palace in Cotai at the end of the month.


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