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Six years on, SA remembers boxing legend Baby Jake Matlala

Matlala died on this day six years ago, after he succumbed to a lung infection, just days after the death of former President Nelson Mandela.

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

JOHANNESBURG – On Saturday South Africa and the world of boxing are remembering four-time world flyweight boxing champion Jacob ‘Baby Jake’ Matlala.

Matlala died on this day six years ago, after he succumbed to a lung infection.

He became the only South African boxer to have won four world titles in a career of 27 stoppages, 54 wins, 12 loses and 2 draws.

Baby Jake died at the age of 51, just days after the death of Nelson Mandela.

In an archived interview, Matlala spoke about the first time he met the former president.

“Between 1993 and 1994, I chosen as best sportsman in the country. These were called the Presidential Awards; so he was the first to give me the award.”

Matlala was known mostly for small stature – measuring 1.47 m in height – he was the shortest world boxing champion ever.