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Daan Bekker

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 1
Bronze 1
Total 2
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameDaniel Wepener "Daan"•Bekker
Used nameDaan•Bekker
Born9 February 1932 in Dordrecht (RSA)
Died22 October 2009 in Pretoria (RSA)
Measurements180 cm / 89 kg
NOC South Africa


Daniel “Daan” Bekker came from an athletic South African family where all of the siblings represented their native country in international sport; his three brothers played rugby and his sister was an athlete. Daan, a police officer, pursued boxing and competed for his force as an amateur, winning his first heavyweight title in 1952. He lost it the following year, but regained it in 1955 and held it for five consecutive years through 1959. The 1956 Summer Olympic heavyweight tournament was his first international match as a representative from South Africa, but he nevertheless succeeded in taking home the bronze medal (shared with the Italian Mino Bozzano), defeating José Giorgetti after a bye, but losing to eventual gold medalist Pete Rademacher. Bekker then travelled to Cardiff, Wales in 1958 to represent South Africa at that year’s British Empire and Commonwealth Games. There he won the gold medal in the heavyweight boxing tournament with victories against S. Renaud of Canada, eventual bronze medalist Gbadegesin Salawu of Nigeria, and Dave Thomas of England in the final bout. As a prelude to the 1960 Summer Olympics he represented South Africa against a touring Irish boxing delegation. At the Olympic tournament he knocked out Władysław Jędrzejewski in his first bout, followed by Obrad Sretenović in the first round of their quarter-final match, and then defeated eventual bronze medalist Günter Siegmund in the semi-finals. In the final round he was knocked out by Franco De Piccoli in 90 seconds and finished the competition with a silver medal. He turned professional in November 1961 and won or drew his first five fights, including two South African heavyweight title bouts. He lost the title in 1963 to Stoffel Willemse and retired, although he made a brief attempt at a comeback in 1968. He died in October 2009 after suffering for many years with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1956 Summer Olympics Boxing RSA Daan Bekker
Heavyweight, Men (Olympic) =3 Bronze
1960 Summer Olympics Boxing RSA Daan Bekker
Heavyweight, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver

Special Notes