South Africa

Baby Jake Matlala dies

2013-12-07 13:25
Baby Jake Matlala (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - South African boxer Jacob 'Baby Jake' Matlala, the shortest world champion whose fortunes were closely followed by Nelson Mandela, died on Saturday at the age of 51, according to reports.

GALLERY: Baby Jake in pictures

The 1.47 metre tall light-flyweight champion was a potent symbol of reconciliation in post-Apartheid South Africa, where his fortunes were keenly followed.

Matlala won titles under three different sanctioning bodies, the last of which at the age of 42 was watched ringside by Mandela.

A keen boxing fan, former president Mandela died on Thursday aged 95.

Matlala, who retired because he said he had "run out of small people to fight", had suffered from poor health and money problems in recent years. Benefactors raised funds to pay his medical bills and other debts.

Family, friends and fans of Jacob “Baby Jake” Matlala are invited to share their memories and tributes, and to light a candle for him, on his profile at

Read more on:    baby jake matlala  |  johannesburg  |  boxing


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