Ex-boxing champ Thobela, 57, passes on

'Rose of Soweto' once held two world titles

Dingaan Thobela
Dingaan Thobela

Former boxing world champion and darling of SA sports Dingaan "Rose of Soweto" Thobela has been found dead at his Joburg flat after battling illness.

The celebrated boxer from Chiawelo, Soweto, was found dead in his flat in Mayfair, Johannesburg, on Monday evening.

Born Dingaan Bongane Thobela  57 years ago,  Thobela had been unwell. His childhood friend Eddie Mutungutungu confirmed the former world champion was found dead after several attempts to contact him drew a blank. "He was strangely unavailable on his mobile, and his family, accompanied by police, managed to gain access to his place of residence and found he had passed on," Mutungutungu told Sowetan.

His poor health prevented him from attending Boxing SA's symposium at the Arena Holdings offices in Parktown last Friday.

Thobela held three world titles in two-weight divisions - the first two being the WBO and WBA lightweight belts in the lightweight divisions early in his blossoming career under veteran trainer Norman Hl;abane

In September 2000, the "Rose" finally bloomed as Thobela won the most prestigious WBC super middleweight belt via a 12th-roud stoppage victory over defending champion Glen Catley at Carnival City in Brakpan. Trainer Elias Tshabalala was in his corner.

Thobela was separated from his common law wife Sandra. They had two children together, Ntombi and Dingaan Thobela Junior. 

Thobela enjoyed SA support beyond colour lines as his victories outside SA brought traffic to a standstill, with wild celebrations in townships.

Just two weeks ago, Joseph Makaringe – the former SA welterweight champion – passed away after a short illness.

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