Masibulela “Hawk” Makepula represented South at the Commonwealth and Olympic Games and as a professional won the three world titles, with only five losses in a successful 33-fight career, yet he never received the recognition he deserved.
Born on 3 March, 1973, in Duncan Village near East London, Makepula was an outstanding amateur, winning the South African junior flyweight title in 1994 and 1995.
At the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada, Makapula outscored Aaron Everett of Australia with a score of 26-10 in the first series and was unfortunate to be eliminated in the second series by Birju San from India on a countback, when at the end of the bout the scores were 13-13.
He won the gold medal in the light flyweight class at the 1995 All Africa Games in Harare.
Hawk had the honour of being the flag bearer for the South African Olympic team at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia.
In his first fight at the Olympic Games, he stopped India’s Thapa Debendra in the first round but was eliminated in his second fight by Rafael Lozana of Spain, losing on points with a score of 14-3.
After an outstanding amateur career, Makepula made his professional debut on 10 September, 1996, at the Carousel Casino in Hammanskraal, winning on a third-round stoppage against Godfrey Leteane.
He was most impressive in winning his next six fights all inside the distance before winning on points over Nokuthula Tshabangu.
Continuing on his winning streak, he remained unbeaten in his next five fights before winning the vacant World Boxing Union junior flyweight belt with a fifth-round technical decision over Rafael Torres from the Dominican Republic at the Madison Square Garden Theatre in New York.
He made successful defences of the WBU belt against Lorenzo Trejo (pts 12) and Jose Laureano (ko 1) before winning the vacant WBO junior flyweight belt with a point’s victory over “Baby” Jake Matlala.
However, soon afterwards he relinquished the WBO title to defend the WBU belt against Marcus Obregon (pts 12).
In October 2000, he relinquished the WBU belt to challenge Irene Pacheco for the IBF flyweight belt, but was outpointed over 12 rounds.
On 26 January, 2002, he stopped Melvin Magramo in the ninth round in London to claim the vacant IBO flyweight title.
He then lost the IBO belt to fellow South African Mzukisi Sikali on points in his first defence, and in a return match for the belt he was stopped in the fourth round.
After the setbacks against Sikali, Makepula won four fights in 2004 before winning the vacant WBC International super flyweight title on points over 12 rounds against Ray Lunas in East London.
He retained the title with wins over Jun Talape and Christopher Rodrigues before travelling to Hidalgo, USA to face former WBC light flyweight champion Jorge Arce (28-3) in an eliminator for the WBC super flyweight title.
However, Arce was just too strong and experienced, winning on a fourth-round stoppage.
On 31 May, 2008, at Emperors Palace near Kempton Park, Hawk had his last fight, losing on a spilt decision against Zolile Mbityi in a bout for the vacant IBO super flyweight title.
This valiant little fighter finished with a record of 28-5; 18. After boxing, Hawk became a Pastor.
–supersport.com / Ron Jackson