After a long illness, moving in and out of hospital with pneumonia, and suffering with money problems, Baby Jake Matlala died on Saturday morning, the 07th December 2013, at the age of 51. The family is devastated at the news. “All of this came as a shock to the family” Pastor Ray McCauley of Rhema Church commented.
The death of Matlala comes as South Africans mourn the loss of former president Nelson Mandela who passed away Thursday evening. Baby Jake Matlala was the shortest boxer in boxing history, standing at 1.47 metres. He won titles under three different sanction bodies, the last of which at the age of 42 was watched by Mandela. A four-time World Champion in the flyweight (50kg) section, he was born in Soweto, Meadowlands on August 1962. His professional career began in 1980 and by the time he retired March 2002 and his record stood for more than 50 victories.
Boxing legend, trainer and promoter Brian Mitchell said the world has lost an icon and family man “We lost a man, an icon and world champion. He was the first boxer to win the International Boxing Association title. Bra Jakes really made us proud as South African. Todayy we are celebrating his life and he will be remembered,” Brian said. He leaves behind wife and two sons.
Baby Jake Matlala will be laid to rest on Friday in Randburg.