Cape Town – Parliament on Sunday sent its condolences to the family and friends of former flyweight boxing champion Jacob “Baby Jake” Matlala, who died on Saturday.
“Parliament extends condolences on the passing of our flyweight boxing world champion, Baby Jake Matlala, just two days after Madiba, a Baby Jake fan and one-time boxer himself, left us,” it said in a statement.
Issued by National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu and National Council of Provinces Chairperson Mninwa Mahlangu, and their deputies, it noted that Matlala had been the only South African boxer to win four world titles.
Matlala, 51, died in Johannesburg, reportedly from complications associated with pneumonia.
According to the statement, Matlala retired from boxing aged 42, after a professional boxing career of 22 years.
“His retirement came after winning his last title fight, against an opponent 11 years younger than him, watched ringside by Madiba. After the fight, he presented his World Boxing Union belt to Madiba.
“Our thoughts are with Mr Matlala's family and friends as they come to terms with his passing.” – Sapa