Retired four-time world champion Jacob “Baby Jake” Matlala appeared at a boxing tournament held in his honour, easing fears over the health of the popular ex-fighter and smallest world titleholder. The 1.47-meter Matlala arrived at the “Night of the Little Big Men” event at Emperors Palace on a throne carried by bearers, smiling and waving to fans before walking confidently to his ringside seat. Matlala, a former WBO, WBU and IBA flyweight and light flyweight world champion, was admitted to an intensive care unit three times last year with complications related to pneumonia.

Promoter Rodney Berman aims to raise $70 000 for the South African, who he says has been left “financially stretched” by his medical bills.