Even though he produced a career-best performance in dominating Warren Joubert last week, Grant Fourie doesn’t rate it his finest outing.
Fourie was patient and methodical as he outworked his old stablemate, finally putting together a showing worthy of his talents as he claimed the national junior-welterweight title. It was a long-time coming for Fourie, who has often been hobbled by illness.
“My main goal when I turned pro was to become a champion,” he said proudly on Monday. “I can offer so much more. I may be 32, but I’ve never taken punishment or been in a lot of wars. I don’t think it was my best showing the other night. I was happy, but not completely sold . . . I can do better.”
Ironically, had Boxing SA had its way, Fourie might not have had his opportunity to fight for the SA title at all. Local officials wanted to veto the fight because Fourie was coming off a defeat, but then they were reminded of their own rules – Fourie was rated number one and thus qualified for the title shot.
He made it count, too, winning unanimously – 114-112, 117-111, 116-110.
Fourie ascribed his win to greater maturity as a fighter. This was evident when he put Joubert over in the eighth round, courtesy of a thunderous left-right combination. He looked up and saw trainer Harold Volbrecht cautioning him to take things easy from the corner.
In days past he might have gone in for the finish, but “Fireball” followed Volbrecht’s advice. He didn’t want to wade in and get caught or perhaps get cut in a frantic bid to finish Joubert off, so he bided his time.
“I actually wanted to go 12 rounds, to show I could do it. No-one gave me a chance. That was the main thing. I wanted the win to be decisive, and it was. Apart from maybe the sixth and the last two rounds, I believe I won the others.”
Fourie isn’t sure what’s next. He’s more focused on following his beloved Liverpool for now, but says he’ll soon be back in the gym doing what he does best.
“I’ll just wait for something else.”