Former SA fighter dies
Cape Town - Former WBF heavyweight champion Mike Bernardo has died at the age of 42 here on Tuesday.
Bernardo was also a popular kickboxing and martial arts fighter.
The cause of his death is still uncertain.
He won the vacant WBF belt when he stopped Dan Jerling from the Czech Republic in the sixth round in May 2000.
He retained the title with a 41-second knockout of American Peter McNeely in Cape Town on June 8, 2001, but was stripped of his belt in May 2002 because of inactivity.
Bernardo was born in Cape Town on July 29, 1969. In his professional debut on February 28, 1993, he knocked out Delius Musemwa in the third round.
In his next fight he was stopped in the first round by Anton Nel, who later won the SA heavyweight title.
Bernardo won his next seven fights but was inactive from 1997 to 1999 before he knocked out Scott Connar in the second round in Chicago in January 2000.
On May 12 that year, he beat Jerling in Szekszard, Hungary, to claim the vacant WBF heavyweight title.
His fight against McNeely was his last and he finished with a record of 11-1, with one no-contest and nine knockouts.
He was better known as a kickboxer and was named Beru-chan in Japan, where he took part in K-1 from 1994 and competed in five World Grand Prix finals.
He was scheduled to meet Nigerian and Japanese TV personality Bobby Ologun on December 31, 2004 but withdrew because of an injury and never competed again.