May 21, 2001 – It has been a sad time on the South African fight scene over the last week, following the deaths of several of the nation’s closely-knit fight fraternity. SecondsOut.com’s South African correspondent Leonard Neill reports.
Brian Mitchell Sr, father of former WBA/IBF junior lightweight champion Brian Mitchell, died of a heart attack a few days ago in Durban - aged just 58.
He was the South African bantamweight champ in his third fight. An excellent two-fisted fighter, Mitchell Sr gave it up at an early stage, but took an interest once again when his son started making headway on the world scene. He travelled a great deal with the former champ, but never in a managerial or trainer’s capacity.
Phil van Niekerk died of Alzeihemers aged 79 last Tuesday. He was a big heavyweight who went to Britain in the late 1940s with the South African team of pros, who trained at Joe Bloom's gym. But the big heavyweight never quite made the grade at top level.
Tony Liversage, former South African light-heavyweight champ of the early 1950s, died yesterday aged 73. Fit up to the last, Liversage was a successful business developer and estate agent. He died of a heart attack in his sleep.