The Free State boxing fraternity agree that Daniel Mapanya boxing craft will be missed in the sport for years to come. One of the province’s finest boxers in during the 1970’s, Mapanya was buried at his home of Welkom on 21 July.
Followers of the sport came in numbers to pay their last respect to the athlete who many boxing followers believe was in the league of his own. The last bell rang for Mapanya mark the end of another historic boxing chapter.
So classy was Mapanya, throughout boxing history, he was one of the big names that always garnered mass attention, searing themselves in social memory. Known as “Baby Cassius” and Destroyer Mapanya died at 71 after a long illness. He conquered the country having held the South African middleweight champion and was one of the fearless boxers to emerged from the Free State and SA one-time mining hub.
Between 1970s and 1980s, Welkom was a hub of boxing in South Africa, and the Western Holdings Mine boast one of the best development stables ever. This stable produced world-class pugilist like Mapanya. The legendary fighter was one of the first national boxing golden belt holders after the unification of historically segregated black and white boxing federations in the early 1970’s. Mapanya was mentored by his predecessor Andrew “Ace” Thloone, who held the title in the same division. Mapanya’s manager-trainer Thloone polished him becoming one of the finest athlete in the ringside.
Quick as lightning Mapanya won the SA middleweight championship after defeating Dough Lumley, stopping his opponent in the seventh. He annexed the title in the 1980’s in Welkom. He made a few successful defences before losing the crown to Enoch “Sgegede” Nhlapo. Mapanya lost via TKO in the fourth-round in Durban.
Baby Cassius was one of the sportspersons that emerged from various sports developments and absorbed by the mine. Some were employed by mines. Before he turned professional, Mapanya worked as mining instructor. He was born in Springs in East Rand and raised in Welkom. He attended his primary School at the Phomolong Primary in Welkom. He is survived by his wife, Cynthia Mapanya, one daughter and one granddaughter.