By Ron Jackson
Former South African junior flyweight champion Mveleli Luzipho died at his home in Mdantsane, near East London on Wednesday after a long illness. He was 43. Luzipho who fought from 1981 to 1987 outpointed Tamsanqa Sogwe in his seventh professional fight on August 10, 1982 in Cape Town to win the South African junior flyweight title.
However, only four fights later and in his first defence, he lost the title to Baby Jake Matalala when he was stopped in the eleventh round in February 1983.
In a return with Matlala he regained the title and then made a successful defence against Matlala before losing it once again in May 1986 when he was stopped in seven rounds by Odwa Mdleleni.
After losing the title his career began to wind down as he lost three of his next five fights inside the distance before hanging up his gloves to finish with a record 19-6; 3.
After quitting the ring Mveleli assisted fighters at the Eyethu Boxing Club in Mdantsane for more 20 years.
He also helped in the corner of one South Africa’s greatest fighters, former IBF junior featherweight champion Vuyani Bungu and travelled the world with him.
I had met Mveleli on many occasions and will always remember his quiet unassuming manner as he went about his work in the corner.