21 January 2020 | Sports
“Our beloved father passed away three weeks after being admitted to hospital,” his daughter Thembi told AFP, without disclosing the cause of death.
Mathebula created history in Los Angeles in 1980 when he won a 15-round split decision over South Korean Tae-Shik Kim to be crowned the World Boxing Association flyweight champion.
Recalling the historic triumph years later, Mathebula said: “I thought I was dreaming and nearly collapsed after being overcome by joy.”
His reign lasted only three months, however, before losing to Argentine Santos Laciar on a seventh-round technical knockout in Soweto.
Mathebula subsequently suffered back-to-back defeats to Venezuelan Betulio Gonzalez and retired having won 36 bouts and lost nine.
Aged 31 when he quit, the fighter turned to coaching with considerable success.
“The legend has gone, long live the legend,” Boxing South Africa chief Tsholofelo Lejaka told South African media.
“Not only was Terror a boxing trailblazer, he was also a gentleman through and through.
“He helped shape South African boxing by becoming the first black world champion from this country.”