Foster v. Fourie: Race, Politics, and Betrayal in Apartheid South Africa
International Journal of the History of Sport
On December 1, 1973, black American boxer Bob Foster became the first person of colour to fight and defeat a white opponent, Pierre Fourie, in apartheid South Africa. Foster’s unanimous victory by judges’ decision marked an important moment in South African and sports history. Not only did Foster successfully defend his light heavyweight title, he did it before a multiracial, though segregated, crowd of 40,000 fans. South Africa’s ‘Fight of the Century’ earned Foster a record US$200,000 and a place in the hearts of many, but not all, black South Africans. While he pummeled Fourie in the ring, Foster refused to fight against racism and apartheid outside of it. He repeatedly declined to answer questions about ‘politics’ and regularly praised the people and city of Johannesburg. His silence on racial matters, in turn, allowed friends and foes alike to fill in the gaps.
apartheid, Arthur Ashe, Bob Foster, boxing, Pierre Fourie
Hall, Eric A., "Foster v. Fourie: Race, Politics, and Betrayal in Apartheid South Africa" (2020). NIU Bibliography. 246.
Department of History