Blast from the past: Brits tune in to Willie Smith’s triumph


Blast from the past: Brits tune in to Willie Smith’s triumph

Sports reporter

1927 — Willie Smith, SA’s 1924 Olympic gold medallist, wins British recognition of the world bantamweight title when he beats Teddy Baldock on points in London. The fight was also the first fistic event to be covered live on radio in Britain. Smith’s claim to the world title was disputed and died after he lost his next bout in the US two months later. While never regarded a world champion at home at the time, Smith’s claim probably has merit when considered today in the context of alphabet organisations.

1990 — Vuyani Nene, who conquered future four-time world champion Baby Jake Matlala four times, loses in his only world title shot, getting stopped by IBF junior-bantamweight champion Robert Quiroga of the US in Pagliari, Italy.

1993 - The SA soccer team, featuring future stars like Lucas Radebe, Mark Fish and John Moshoeu, as well as coaches-to-be Pitso Mosimane and Steve Komphela, are thrashed 0-4 by Mexico in a friendly in Los Angeles. It equalled the 0-4 drubbing they had received at the hands of Nigeria nearly a year earlier, and the scoreline would be repeated twice more until being eclipsed by a 0-5 hiding by Brazil in 2014...

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