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Peter Mathebula made history in the City of Angels

Peter “Terror” Mathebula may have passed away in January this year at the age of 67, but his place in South African boxing history as our first black world champion will endure. Mathebula became South African flyweight champion when he beat Johannes Sithebe on points in 1978. The following year he also knocked out Leslie Pikoli for the national bantamweight crown, holding both titles simultaneously. He campaigned in both divisions, making a successful defense of each title, but when Welile Nkosinkulu stopped him in nine rounds for the bantamweight title, he went back down to flyweight. After two more defenses of his South African flyweight title, he got the opportunity to challenge the WBA world champion, Taeshik Kim of South Korea, at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles in 1980. The city had a large population of Korean immigrants who came out to support the champion, making it hostile territory for Mathebula but he was unfazed by the occasion. Although he was a big underdog with li