By Ron Jackson
One of South Africa’s most talented fighters Ludumo Galada the WBF featherweight champion was killed in a motor accident near East London on Saturday. He was 26. After a distinguished amateur career, Galada was unbeaten as a pro.
He won the SA amateur bantamweight title in 2001 and represented South Africa at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
Fighting in the bantamweight class Galada was considered unlucky in losing his third fight 31-30 to Lesotho’s Ezekiel Letuka.
At the 2004 Olympics in Athens he was beaten in his first fight by Shahin Imranov of Azerbaijan.
Galada who was born in Mdantsane on December 20, 1982 made his pro debut on April 30, 2005 and scored a four round points decision over Xolani Lumkwana and followed this up with wins over Luthando Vukuza, Samkelo Tutu, Marcell Jaftha, Moses Mahashe and Thamsanqa Dubase to finish 2005 on high note.
The slick boxing and skilled Galada won the Baby Champs featherweight title in January 2006 when he outpointed Luthando Kwinda and in April also outpointed Takalani Kwinda before winning the vacant Eastern Cape featherweight title with a third round stoppage win over Lungisa Jikani.
He finished the year with a second round technical knockout win over Mthutyzeli Ningi to maintain his unbeaten record.
On February 3, 2007 at Emperors palace in Kempton Park he outpointed Sydney Maluleka to win the vacant South African featherweight title and made successful defences against Luthando Vukuza and Edward Mpofu the former SA junior featherweight champion.
At this stage Galada still failed to impress the critics but in 2008 he seemed to reach maturity and was punching with more power when he stopped Themba Tshicila in the fourth round to retain his SA featherweight title for the third time.
In August 2008 he was most impressive in winning the vacant World Boxing Foundation featherweight belt when he knocked out the highly rated David Kiilu of Kenya in the first round. .
In the first defence of his WBF belt on November 22 Galada once again showed impressive form with a second round stoppage win over the capable Mexican Pedro Naverette.
He was scheduled to make the second defence of his WBF belt on January 23 at the Orient Theatre in East London against the experienced fellow South African Takalani Ndlovu.
The odds were stacked against Galada as the 31-year-old Ndlovu a former SA featherweight and IBO junior featherweight champion had fought at higher level than Galada.
However, there were critics who felt that on his form against Kiilu and Navarette he had the skills to pull off an upset win.
This was not to be as Galada finished with an unbeaten record of 16 wins, with 8 inside the distance.