Former SA fighter dies

2012-02-14 18:20

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.


  • Sean - 2012-02-14 18:40

    R.I.P You are a true legend !

      Jason - 2012-02-15 07:40

      RIP MIKE

      Martin - 2012-02-15 13:14

      Who could possibly give thumbs down on this?

  • James - 2012-02-14 18:47

    R.I.P. What a legend. 2000-10-09 vs Cro-Cop. He schooled him solid. You will be missed bud. Peace.

  • Jason - 2012-02-14 19:50

    Sad how we only get to learn of these guys when they die. RIP dude.

      Bulldozer - 2012-02-14 21:35

      I agree. I knew of him, but that's it.

      Lionel - 2012-02-15 06:49

      I went to school with the family,great guy!!!!!!!

      Merven - 2012-02-15 07:33

      Sad how this types of sport get so little coverage on TV.

      Jason - 2012-02-15 07:49

      He spent alot of time in Japan fighting, even had his own playstation game.

      Saffa - 2012-02-15 07:52

      A LEGENDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD - RIP. Condolences to family and friends.

  • hanno.vermeulen - 2012-02-14 20:59

    Sad to hear and a great shock. OMG. You will be missed as a friend and great fighter. May your legend live on!!! We think of you, Carl and family in this difficult time.

  • AntonKingsize - 2012-02-14 21:05

    Ahhhhh! Mike! Rest in peace big fella! You are a true inspiration and a legend and i always looked up to you and respected your talent, skill, integrity and lion's heart! R.I.P. pal!

      Hendrik - 2012-02-15 10:23

      Nice tribute to a great guy. Wonder what the cause of death was?

  • Ragingbull1 - 2012-02-14 22:58

    I knew Mike since the age of 8 (1979), we were at Primary school together. He was a committed Christian! I communicated with him on facebook about a week ago., we shared christian music. Mike was an unsung hero in South Africa despite his accolades overseas. he was a protector in the club scene not a bully or thug! he had a heart of gold! I should know i worked in the clubs as a doorman for over 10 years! Mike you will always be a warrior/champion and legend! RIP champ!

      Jason - 2012-02-15 07:52


      Sue Anne Cook - 2012-02-15 08:18

      It gives my heart great peace to know that you were communicating with him like you were.mike was religious and I'm glad that you could share those moments together.don't know about you,but my heart feels ripped apart from this loss

  • Tessa - 2012-02-14 23:05

    You will be missed my friend.

      Sue Anne Cook - 2012-02-15 08:33

      How are you feeling today Tessa?

  • ornellas - 2012-02-15 01:44

    very sad day. so much potential.

  • Grant - 2012-02-15 05:58

    By all acounts (bar one) he was a great guy. Anybody any idea how he died?

  • Morne - 2012-02-15 07:17

    I don't know the man you talking about! this one was extremely calm and knew who he was and would only do something if you were really annoying. Whoever you are you obviously never knew or met him. Priviledged to have known him in my life. Condolences to Karl and the whole family he will be missed!

  • jp.wittstock - 2012-02-15 08:07

    Hey Cuz, You were an unsung hero here in SA. While we mourn your loss the Angels rejoice in your arrival. Condolences to Anne, Mike, Kevin and Carl, our thought and prayers are with you.

      Sue Anne Cook - 2012-02-15 08:36

      So sorry for your loss as well.sue

  • Patrick - 2012-02-15 09:13

    He was worshipped in Japan, and in the K1 circuit. He had a bigger hook than Tyson, so big that Tyson himself refused to fight him. He started a Gym in Durbenville / Bellville which he was very committed to help youngsters learn. His family are solid, his brothers will miss him dearly. Mike .... RIP my friend

  • Beverley - 2012-02-15 09:47

    Precious darling friend, may you have eternal peace. I miss you already

  • Ferdinand - 2012-02-15 10:25

    Mike, taught me the most about striking of any coach that I ever had, but above that, he has taught me so many other things like humility etc. He had a great sense of humor, and will be sorely missed. South Africa has lost an international legend who never got the recognition in his own country!

  • MelanieMMeier - 2012-02-15 10:53

    Wow what shocking news. RIP Mike and my condolences and thoughts to Kevin and Carl - if you see this. Melanie M

  • Jennifer - 2012-02-15 10:56

    RIP Mike....Condolences to family...I had the pleasure of being a friend many years ago

  • sbriedenhann - 2012-02-15 11:20

    RIP Mike - you were awesome

  • Francois - 2012-02-15 13:54

    RIP big guy, he was a cult hero in Japan

  • Sue Anne Cook - 2012-02-15 14:54

    Thinking of you a lot today mike...wish I had got the opportunity to say goodbye,but I have all of our wonderful memories.

  • Sue Anne Cook - 2012-02-15 19:50

    Mikey....I have both laughed and cried today.missing you and your cheeky smile.All of the memories are running through my mind like a slide show,but they are priceless and I will never let them changed my life,you changed my way of thinking and approaching situations,and you helped me to grow as a will live in my heart forever.....until we meet again.xx

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