Baby Jake Matlala dies

Renowned South African boxer, Baby Jake Matlala, has passed away at the age of 51.

Four times boxing world champion Baby Jake Matlala. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - South African boxing legend, Baby Jake Matlala, passed away on Saturday morning at the age of 51.

The former World Boxing Organisation, World Boxing Union (WBU) and International Boxing Association flyweight world champion had been admitted to hospital on numerous occasions over the past few years with complications related to pneumonia.

Baby Jake started his professional boxing career at the age of 18, and was the shortest boxing world champion at only 1.47m tall.

He ended his career after having won four world titles.

Following his victory over Juan Herrera, Matlala presented his WBU belt to former president Nelson Mandela.

He is survived by his wife and 2 children.

Promoter Rodney Berman, who managed him for five years starting with a win over Mickey Cantwell in 1997, said, "Baby Jake was one of the most successful fighters I've ever had and one of the most popular fighters South Africa's ever seen. It's a great shock."

RECORDS

Total fights: 68 with 53 wins and 2 draws.