Blasts from the past: Vuyani Nene is Baby Jake’s nemesis
Today in SA sports history: March 15
1987 — Baby Jake Matlala suffers his only stoppage defeat at the hands of a South African boxer, quitting after the 11th round against SA junior-flyweight champion Vuyani Nene in Uitenhage. Matlala and Nene fought each other four times in total, with Nene winning all of them. Matlala would go on to win four world titles, while Nene failed in his only shot.
1991 — Brian Mitchell becomes the first SA boxer to try to unify world titles as he takes on American Tony Lopez in his backyard in Sacramento. Mitchell, making the 12th defence of his WBA junior-lightweight crown, is trying to add the IBF belt to his mantle. Mitchell does enough to win the fight, but the judges score it a draw. Mitchell’s 12 defences – which were all abroad because of apartheid – is a record for the division. He would give up the WBA belt for a second crack at Lopez later in the year.
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