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The Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, has paid tribute to boxing pioneer, Lawrence “Slow Poison” Ndzondo.

Ndzondo, from East London, was one of the first boxers from the then Cape Province to turn professional in 1965. He passed away in the early hours of Wednesday in East London. The cause of death has not been confirmed yet.

“He was a model professional, a disciplinarian, a family man and an absolute credit to the boxing fraternity. He will always be remembered as one of the pioneers of professional boxing in our country during the dark days of apartheid, giving our people hope and inspiration,” the Minister said on Thursday.

Ndzondo, who fought in the featherweight division throughout his career and later crowned Cape Featherweight Champion, was known for his relentless body attack, fighting behind a jab, and using the defensive “shoulder roll style” later perfected by the likes of former WBC Super Middleweight Champion, Thulani “Sugarboy” Malinga.

He is also credited with mentoring the late legendary boxer, Nkosana “Happy Boy” Mgxaji.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the Ndzondo family, friends and the sporting fraternity at large. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture said.

SAnews.gov.za

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