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Johnny van Rensburg

Full name: Jan Christiaan Johannes "Johnny" van Rensburg
Nickname(s): Smiler
Gender: Male
Born: May 9, 1932 in Lichtenburg, North West, South Africa
Died: October 28, 2010 in Roodepoort, Gauteng, South Africa
Country: RSA South Africa
Sport: Boxing


Johnny van Rensburg, known as Smiler for his cheerful disposition in the ring, won four successive South African amateur titles between 1949 and 1952. A unique part of this achievement was that none of the championships were won in the same category as he moved from bantamweight all the way up to light-welterweight during his amateur career. He only lost three of his 140 amateur bouts but it was a major disappointment for him that the third and final loss of his career came in his opening fight at the 1952 Olympic Games.

Van Rensburg made a successful transition to the world of professional boxing and in January 1954, less than a year after his debut, he became South African lightweight champion. The next year he divested Joe Lucy of the British Empire lightweight title, made three successful defences of the championship and appeared to be the verge of a world title fight when a poor run of form would proved costly to his career. He lost his titles to compatriot [Willie Toweel] and suffered a pair of defeats to journeymen fighters over 1956-57 but then rebounded in the welterweight division by again winning South African and British Empire championships. As the decade ended he travelled overseas and fought regularly in both Australia and Europe compiling a record of 32 wins, 13 defeats and 3 draws in his 48 fight career until his retirement in 1960. By career he was a Traffic and Licence Inspector.


Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1952 Summer 20 Helsinki Boxing Men's Lightweight South Africa RSA 17T

Men's Lightweight

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank Date Result JF
1952 Summer 20 Helsinki Boxing South Africa RSA Round One Match #14 2 1952-07-28 Bonetti (ARG) , van Rensburg (RSA) 0
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