Lehlo Ledwaba falls to Covid-19 on the age of simply 49
LEHLO LEDWABA, a number one super-bantamweight on the flip of the century, has died on the age of simply 49. He handed away in his native South Africa after contracting Covid-19. “Fingers Of Stone” fought as knowledgeable between 1990 and 2006, retiring with a 36-6-1 (23) file, and is maybe greatest identified for dropping in six rounds to Manny Pacquiao in 2001. His best victories had been over John Michael Johnson, Cruz Carbajal, Ernesto Gray, Vuyani Bungu and Eduardo Enrique Alvarez.
Hardcore UK followers would possibly bear in mind Ledwaba preventing 4 occasions on this nation. In 1995 he stopped Ricky Beard inside three rounds at Glasgow’s Kelvin Corridor earlier than two appearances on the Whitchurch Sports activities Centre in Bristol and one at Maidstone Leisure Centre.
After being rejected for a spot among the many televised motion, Ledwaba opened a Frank Warren-promoted card in December 1998 with a routine eight-round factors win over Peter Buckley. Six months after beating Buckley in Bristol, Ledwaba grew to become the IBF belt-holder at 122lbs when he outpointed Johnson over 12 rounds on the Carousel On line casino, in Hammanskraal, South Africa. In April 2000 he returned to Bristol, stopping the first rate Gray in eight rounds earlier than notching one other eight-round stoppage win over Alvarez in October that 12 months in Maidstone.
Ledwaba was a fierce puncher in his pomp however discovered life troublesome when rising up in a township after being born at his grandparents’ house in Meadowlands, Soweto in 1971. Raised by his mom, Ledwaba was impressed to battle so he may present for his household. Although a profitable beginner in South Africa, he turned skilled as a result of worldwide alternatives had been restricted as a consequence of apartheid.
The bout towards Pacquiao was initially designed to be a showcase for Ledwaba although the alternative occurred. Scheduled to tackle Enrique Sanchez on the undercard of Oscar De La Hoya-Javier Castillejo in Las Vegas, the then-little identified Pacquiao was drafted in at two weeks’ discover after the Mexican was compelled to withdraw.
“I went to the States to battle a distinct opponent [who] was orthodox,” Ledwaba advised The Ring Journal three years in the past. “I used to be advised he was damage they usually discovered Manny to interchange him. I didn’t know Manny was a southpaw. Southpaws you’ll want to put together nicely for.
“I attempted virtually the whole lot. I’m a boxer who used to suppose. I at all times tried to outwork an opponent, but it surely was completely completely different towards Manny. Firstly, I used to be flat-footed, however he was on his toes on a regular basis, so he was laborious to hit. I couldn’t nail him. He’d bounce in and throw his punches, it was robust.
“Pacquiao wasn’t identified within the US till he fought me. At the moment, I used to be on the peak of my profession. I used to be considered among the best [super-bantamweights] round. For Manny to beat me was a breakthrough, so I might say I launched him so far as America is worried.”
He thought-about retirement within the aftermath of the Pacquiao thrashing however would return to outpoint fighters like Bungu (2002) and Choi Tseveenpurev (2004) earlier than dropping two hotly contested 12-rounders to his home rival, Cassius Baloyi. A stoppage loss to Maxwell Awuku satisfied him to stroll away for good in 2006.
“I labored laborious and managed to achieve the extent I did,” Ledwaba stated of his profession. “Shopping for my mother a home was my purpose. I used to be completely satisfied as a result of now I’ve a spot I can name house.”
In retirement, Ledwaba lived in Johannesburg and remained within the sport as a coach, supervisor and, alongside Dingaan Thobela and Jan Bergman, as a part of a promotional firm. He was married with two kids.