South African Boxing Great Dingaan Thobela Passes On, Leaves Behind Incredible Legacy

South African Boxing Great Dingaan Thobela Passes On, Leaves Behind Incredible Legacy

Byron Pillay
April 30, 2024 at 7:58 AM
  • Dingaan Thobela was the first local boxer to win the WBC Super Middleweight title on African soil
  • Thobela was known as the Rose of Soweto and became one of South Africa's most beloved boxers
  • The 57-year-old held three world titles during his legendary career, including the Lightweight title

A true legend of South African boxing has passed away.

Former three-time world champion Dingaan Thobela was found dead in his home in Johannesburg yesterday (April 29).

Dingaan Thobela has passed away at the age of 57 years old.
Dingaan Thobela was a legend in South African and international boxing. Image: Oupa Bopape/ @ProKhabza (Twitter).
Source: Getty Images

Known as the Rose of Soweto, the 57-year-old held world titles in the sport in two divisions and was one of the true greats of South African boxing.

News24 noted that Thobela had been batting an illness for some time, but the details of his death remain unclear at this stage.

Thobela's world title credentials

The Rose of Soweto wasn't just a legend in the local boxing scene; he was also a big hit internationally.

A veteran of 56 fights, he won 40 of those and only lost 14. 26 of his wins were as a result of a knockout.

He first earned international acclaim when he beat Mauricio Aceves for the WBO Lightweight belt in September 1990.

In 1993, he beat Tony Lopez to claim the WBA Lightweight belt and avenge an earlier loss against the former champion.

In the year 2000, he made further history when he won the WBC Super Middleweight belt by stopping Glenn Catley in the 12th and final round.

Sowetan LIVE notes that he became the first local boxer to win the title on African soil with that victory.

The Super Middleweight title was extremely important, and remains so to this day, as the current champion is Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez.

South Africa's world champion boxers

Sports Brief recently looked at all the South African boxers who had made a name for themselves by winning a world title in the sport.

Among the list are Corrier Sanders (WBO Heavyweight title), Thulani Malinga (WBC Super Middleweight title), and Dingaan Thobela.

The Rose of Soweto held three world titles in two different weight divisions and became a legend both locally and internationally.

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Byron Pillay
Byron Pillay is a sports writer and Head of the Department at Sports Brief (joined in 2022) with over 10 years of experience in community journalism and a degree in journalism from Caxton's Cadet School.
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