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Boxing | South Africa

FEATURE: The lightest division in boxing

The lightest division in boxing comes under three names mini-flyweight, strawweight and minimumweight, with a weight limit 47.63kg (105lbs) according to the South African Boxing Act, which lists it under minimumweight.

Some world boxing organisations use the name strawweight division for the lightest division in boxing.

However, the World Boxing Association and the World Boxing Council list the class as minimumweight and the Word Boxing Organisation and International Boxing Federation list the class as mini-flyweight.

The minimumweight division was established in 1992 in South Africa, and the first champion was Thamsanqa Sogcwe from the Eastern Cape, who stopped Zolile Ngantweni in the tenth round for the new title on 9 August.

Possibly the top South African champions in this class are Khulile Makeba, Nkosinathi Joyi, who also won an IBF belt, and Gideon Buthelezi, who has also held an IBO belt.

Hekkie Butler who has never challenged for a South African minimumweight title must be the number one of all-time in South Africa.

He has won eleven titles in the minimumweight and light-flyweight class.

As a minimumweight he has held IBO, WBA interim, WBA minimumweight and WBA “super” minmumweight belts.

On 27 December 1997 South Africa’s Zolani Petelo caused one of the biggest upsets in recent years when he travelled to Thailand to capture the IBF mini-flyweight belt when he knocked out the highly rated Ratanapol Sor Voraphin (aka D B Gym) in the fourth round.

On the world scene the minimumweight division was first established in June 1987 with the first champion being Korea’s Kyung-Yung Lee, who won the vacant IBF title with a second-round stoppage win over Masaharu Kwakami on 14 June.

The division was subsequently recognised by the World Boxing Council (WBC) in October 1987, the World Boxing Association (WBA) in January 1988, and the World Boxing Organization (WBO) in August 1989.

The Ring magazine’s first rankings of the minimumweights was in 1997 but listed as strawweight. Mexico’s Ricardo Lopez, who fought from 1985 to 2001, must be considered the greatest minimumweight of all time.

He held the WBC and WBO minimumweight belts and compiled a record of 51-01; 38.


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