Final bell for boxing hero

Simon
Simon "Tsipa" Skosana talking to the Sunday Times about his career.He was one of Mzansi's bright stars back in the day,the newspaper caught-up with him at home in Kwa-Thema on the East Rand. Pic. Simon Mathebula. 09/04/2009. © SUNDAY TIMES

WHILE the family of former SA bantamweight champion Simon Skosana mourn his death, the country's boxing fraternity, on the other hand, is celebrating the life of a truly great boxer.

WHILE the family of former SA bantamweight champion Simon Skosana mourn his death, the country's boxing fraternity, on the other hand, is celebrating the life of a truly great boxer.

Skosana was known as "Tsipa", loosely translated meaning "pinch". This monicker might sound meaningless for boxing but Skosana, with a deceiving stature, stung his opponents like a bee.

Probably whoever gave him the nickname intended just that.

Born on December 29 1957 in Springs, Skosana, who had a mean look once in his fighting regalia, turned professional on May 4 1979 and won his four-rounder on points against Victor Tladi at KwaThema Civic Centre in Springs.

Benjamin Thusi upset him in his second fight, stopping him in the first round. But the significant - strangely so - defeat was the fifth-round knockout he suffered against Edison "TNT" Ramagole in 1981.

It was significant because it motivated Skosana to such an extent that he remained undefeated for five years. In that period, Skosana won the SA belt from Phindile Gaika in 1984 and defended it three times.

Whether you liked him or not, you had to sit back and watch. He endeared himself to many people through his fists of fury.

Some people preferred to call him Simon "7" Skosana because he always predicted that most of his fights would be over in the seventh round. Roy Somer, Richard Smith and Gaika can tell a better story.

Even Bernado Pinango, the Venezuelan, who stopped him in the dying minutes of the 15th round in their world title fight at Rand Stadium in Johannesburg on November 22 1986, visited the canvas in the seventh round.

Were it not for the failure by his cornermen to deal with a badly bleeding cut, Skosana, the warrior, would have been the second local fighter to win the WBA belt - the first being Patrick Peter "Terror" Mathebula, who won the flyweight belt in 1980 against Tae Shi Kim in Los Angeles.

This is the rich history of Skosana, who retired after defeating Colin Sibanda on November 7 1999.

The soft-spoken fallen hero had an impressive fight record of 33 wins (13 KOs) and five defeats.

Skosana, 54, died last Sunday. He will be buried tomorrow at Vlakfontein Cemetery in Springs.

The funeral service will be held at Madison Square Garden Hall in KwaThema.

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