Fri. Sep 22nd, 2023

A World Boxing Council championship belt Sugar Ray Leonard gave Nelson Mandela was stolen from the Nelson Mandela National Museum in Soweto, South Africa, eNCA first reported. Leonard gifted Mandela the belt during a 1990 visit to South Africa. 

The belt was one of the main attractions at the museum and was prominently displayed at the house on Vilakazi Street, where Nelson Mandela moved to in 1946. It has a green strap and is mostly gold in the middle, except for the eight flags represented. It also has a few Adidas details. According to TimesLIVE, the belt is worth about R50,000, which is around $2,950.

Leonard, a boxing legend, gave the belt to Mandela — a former South African president, civil rights activist and former amateur boxer — after Mandela was released from Robben Island in 1990. Last year, the Central Boxing Club Luxembourg shared a quote in which Leonard explained how he decided to gift Mandela the belt.

“I was in SA and was invited to dinner at his house. I go to the front door and he answers it. Can you imagine? He answers the door himself,” reads Leonard’s quote.

“Just being invited meant the world to me, and then he answers the door. He hugged me. I got weak in the legs. I ended up giving him one of my championship belts. When I first met him, he looked at me and said, ‘You have inspired me.’ I said, ‘Sir, contraire, you have inspired me.'”

According to eNCA, museum staff members came into work on July 1 and noticed the locks had been tampered with. They reported the incident a day later, believing the incident occurred the night before. The police officers went through the crime scene and took fingerprints, but no arrests have been made yet. 

Mandela died on Dec. 5, 2013 at the age of 95 in Houghton, Johannesburg.

Source link