Spider Kelly dies at 81

Spider Kelly
Photo: African Ring Collection
By Ron Jackson

Former Transvaal and South African welterweight champion George Duncan James Mackenzie who fought under the name of Spider Kelly passed away at his home on Friday morning in Middelburg, Mpumalanga. He was 81 but had been ill for some time.

Painfully tall, thin and heavily tattooed and gangly, he is well remembered as Spider for his style in the ring.

Spider was born in Johannesburg on 11 February 1941 and made his professional debut at the Drill Hall in Johannesburg, winning on points over four rounds against Piet Cato.

In his second fight, he lost to Bill Dollery a future South African lightweight champion over four rounds and then won his next four fights, before losing to Davey Peter in Harare (Salisbury) and Fraser Toweel

He remained unbeaten for eight fights before losing to Willie Jansen on a first round retirement on 14 June 1965.

Spider went in against the best fighters around at the time, not always winning against current or future South African champions like Bill Dollery (L 4), Dave Rose (W ko 2 and W tko 6), Patrick Toweel (l tko 6, won tko 6), Gert Steyn (W 12, L 12 and lost ko 8) and Gert Craemer (W tko 6),

Spider was never in a dull fight and won the Transvaal welterweight title and South African welterweight titles in a 13-year career.

He finished with a record 28-13-2, 20 KOs.

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  • Sad that many South Africans are passing after witnessing the country reduced to a wasteland under 28 years of shocking and corrupt Black rule. A tragedy for the ages. Yet no outcry from the hypocritical international community to this abuse of the Black man by his own so-called leaders.

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