Former double South African champ dies at 77

Anthony Sithole
Photo: Africa Ring collection

By Ron Jackson

Anthony Macashelana Sithole one of the select few South African double champions passed away at his home in Rockville, Soweto on Saturday. He was 77.

Born in Soweto on 10 June 1943 he would have celebrated his 78th birthday on Thursday.

It has been reported that Hezekial “Ziggy” Mtshali who trained and managed him at one time said that earlier he had been admitted to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto and subsequently discharged, but his condition continued to deteriorate before he passed away.

Fighting as a pro from 1965 to 1975 and using the nicknames of “Kid Snowball” and “Quash” during his career, he made his pro debut at the Wembley Stadium in Johannesburg on 27 February 1965 with second round technical knockout win over Wilson Radebe.

Sithebe is one of the few fighters in history that have fought against two fighters who died of injuries suffered in the ring. .

On 11 March 1967 in the former Port Elizabeth, he knocked out Young Clay Lumkile Dunjana in the sixth round and Dunjana died four days later, and then on 30 July 1978 while on a successful campaign in Australia he knocked out Filipino Alberto Jangalay in the eighth round. Jangalay died shortly afterwards.

Jeff Ellis who has compiled a list of deaths in the ring and is hoping to publish a book on his findings, advises there are possibly only five fighters in the world who have beaten two fighters in their careers, who died of injuries suffered in the ring.

How this brave little fighter managed to continue with his outstanding and successful career is unbelievable, after these tragedies.

In his first campaign in Australia, he won ten fights and in the second one he lost two out of four fights.

On 16 August 1969 he won on fifth round technical knockout over Steve Khotle in Johannesburg to win the black South African flyweight title, and in December of the same year he claimed the vacant black SA bantamweight title also in Johannesburg with a 12-round points decision against Smuts Mokoena, at a time when there were only eight divisions in boxing.

This was also at the period when you had the ridiculous situation in South Africa because of the Government’s policies, where you had a black and white champion. To my knowledge there has never been a country where you have two national champions because of race.

In his illustrious career under trying times, he went in against South African champions like Caswell Juqula, John Mthimkulu, Abe Matabane, Steve Khotle, Bashew Sibaca, Joe Gumede, Solomon Ramifikeng and Israel Khonkhobe.

Anthony had his last fight on 6 September 1975 losing on points over six rounds against Vuyisele Ntunzi in Port Elizabeth,

He finished with a record 46-18-2; 27 and should the long overdue South African Boxing Hall of Fame be established he would qualify to be placed in the Old Timers Section.

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