The African Ring has always been a great place to establish a budding boxing career, as they say we all start somewhere. For some of the most prominent African boxing champions, humble beginnings are the common denominator. Most African boxing stars were raised in previously disadvantaged communities, but with hard work, perseverance and great coverage by the most prominent boxing promotors in the land, they made it to the highest levels of the sport throughout the world.
The African Ring reports one of the best boxers this country has ever seen, Jake whose birth name was N’Tuli was born to a Zulu ‘coloured’ father and a Motswana mother on 7 July 1929 and was one of twelve children. His early years were spent in and around Fox Street where the family lived in the centre of Johannesburg.
In 1934 the government removed Jake’s family from the centre of Johannesburg
and dumped them in Orlando like thousands of others, outside one of the small houses that soon became known as matchboxes.
This is where Jake first attended school and being small was always a target for the bullies, so he turned to his half-brother Johnny Mokoena for help. Johnny bought some secondhand boxing gloves and gave Jake boxing lessons until Andrew ‘Pele Pele’ Mkhwanazi, who later helped start Orlando Pirates football club, took over his training.
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