FORMER champion boxer, Morgan Maphosa, died on Wednesday.
He was 59.
His family said he succumbed to cancer.
Maphosa began his boxing career in the 1980s and won the vacant Zimbabwe bantamweight title by being Percival Stranger at Vengere in Rusape in 1985.
After his retirement, he joined the referees and judges panel.
Maphosa died at his rural home in Rava Village, in Mberengwa, and was laid to rest yesterday.
His nephew, Clifford Phiri, said the death was a big blow to their family.
“My uncle passed away on yesterday (Wednesday) at home,’’ said Phiri.
“He returned home from Harare, some three weeks ago, complaining of a backache and he has been here where we were taking care of him.
“He was a pillar of strength in the family.
“He retired from fighting around 1990/1991. He won several titles in Malawi, Zambia, the Bahamas and on home soil during his career.
“After he retired, he got some refereeing badges. He worked with several boxing officials.’’
Veteran referee, Patrick Mukondiwa, said Maphosa was one of the pillars of the sport.
“He is someone who had the sport at heart after he started off as a boxer,’’ said Mukondiwa.
“After his retirement, he managed to acquire some badges for refereeing and judging. He was someone who was willing to learn.
“We have lost a companion who loved the sport whole heartedly,” said Mukondiwa.
Boxing promoter, Clyde Musonda, said Maphosa was one of the sport’s father figures.
“We are poorer without Maphosa, he was an inspiration for some of us when we ventured into boxing,’’ said Musonda.
“He was a good fighter and it is a loss, not only to his family, but the nation at large.’’