Renette Coetzee and her dad/training partner during a proper session. Photo: supplied.
Renette Coetzee and her dad/training partner during a proper session. Photo: supplied.

Renette Coetzee: From braais, Muay Thai to accounting

By Julian Kiewitz Time of article published Sep 10, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - I might have only seen Renette Coetzee fight live once thus far, but if I were to base my level of support for her solely on her love for braaing, then I would unashamedly confess that I am a huge fan already.

Despite being born in Pretoria, the Muay Thai artist gets a real kick out of her beautiful surroundings in her now-home, Cape Town, while also enjoying the traditions that make us South African.

“We are so blessed to be able to run in beautiful places in Cape Town. Adventures in the Mother City are my favourite, finding cool hiking or hidden coffee spots are things I enjoy the most on weekends. I too love baking and cooking. And being Afrikaans, a braai is always on the list of things I love doing,” says the Accounting student who holds her family and friends very dear to her heart.

The Mother City did not always hold sweet memories for Renette, and it was through that experience that angled her toward the sport she loves so much today.

“I started doing self defence at Mercury Taekwondo after I got mugged in Matric! I felt pretty helpless and wanted a fighting chance if my life would ever be threatened.

“My dad trained at Thaiholics and said I should join him,” she says.

Renette “fell in love” at her very first Muay Thai training session and today, she encourages every single female out there to give it a shot.

“I have honestly tried out every single sport, and Muay Thai beats everything else - from a fitness and fun perspective! Plus, you get to learn a new skill during an insane workout!

“I would love more of us ladies getting involved in combat sport. Just knowing that you are strong enough, or even smart enough to throw a punch, adds an extra skip in your step … and believe me, girls can punch!

“It is such a relief to walk into the gym after a long day and get yourself absolutely smashed and let out all the frustration of the day. Repeat that everyday, and your week will look a lot better! It makes you feel just a bit more confident, and to be honest a little bit cooler.”

The Thaiholics student still gets chills thinking of her first fight.

“I remember it like it was yesterday! It was against Kelly Williams at PFC! My nerves were out of this world, haha! I would never forget the feeling of having to remind myself: ‘You're actually alive, and you're going to fight a real person now!’”

Renette gloves up with her coach, Nicholas Radley and her father in her corner. Photo: supplied

With lockdown levels being eased, Renette (2-0 pro) is enjoying the thought of a Fight Night coming up especially with talks of the Professional Fighting Championship and other local promotions having something in the pipeline.

“I just turned pro last year and had two fights which I won. My last fight, before the pandemic, was at the Ultimate Warrior Championship against the well-known Nuraan Noordien.

“It was by far the best fight I've had and I enjoyed having an opponent with that much experience and skill! I won the fight by unanimous decision.”

Renette knows how to have a good time, but she too is highly focused on her career goals.

“I am currently a part-time junior accountant and I'm studying towards my chartered accountant qualification at UCT. I am doing my Post Graduate Diploma in Accounting (PGDA) this year,” says the fighter.

While she may be focused on following a career in the CA field, she is excited to see what the new reality show, Fight to Fame can do for South African combat sport athletes.

The show which will see combat sport athletes battle it out for a Hollywood contract (acting or stunt work) will be rolled out in more than 150 countries and will see contestants compete in various stunts, assessments and challenges.

The show - which is set to kick off in October - has been welcomed by many combat sportsmen and women across South Africa especially due to the fact that it could boost the combat sport arena by giving fighters new forms of revenue and opportunities.

Moments before her fight, Renette Coetzee prepares with the traditional Wai Khru. Photo: supplied.

For Renette, she is purely excited by some of the names that have been involved in the show thus far.

“I haven't heard much about it but I saw Plaasnaar (Eugene Kobus, local entertainer) is part of it and I think he is hilarious! I would most definitely watch it. Anything to promote the sport in a positive light could only be beneficial!

“I am quite keen for a challenge! So if time allows it, I would most definitely enter the show, yes” says the Thaiholics athlete who also trains at BoundFit for her strength and conditioning.

“I feel like there is a lot more that could still happen in the combat sport arena! We have so many talented athletes in SA! So there are definitely opportunities to cash in on. I would love to see more females getting involved! It's such an empowering sport, too.”

“I definitely think if there is more exposure, people would be very curious and join in on the fun! We also have some great gyms in Cape Town, one in particular is Thaiholics, although I might be slightly biased.”

For more details on the Fight to Fame show visit: https://www.fight2fame.com

@JulianKiewietz

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