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The boxing champion belt given to Nelson Mandela by Sugar Ray Leonard was stolen in South Africa

A World Boxing Council Championship belt belonging to the former South African President Nelson Mandela According to the police it was stolen from a museum in Soweto.

The belt was given to Mandela by American boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard during one of his visits to South Africa.

It was one of many artifacts inside the Nelson Mandela National Museum, a major tourist attraction for local and international travelers.

South Africa boxing belt stolen
FILE – Sugar Ray Leonard captures the middleweight championship belt after winning the title in a split decision to Marvin Hagler in Las Vegas, Nev., April 6, 1987. A World Boxing Council championship belt belonging to former South African President Nelson Mandela has been stolen from a museum in Soweto.

Lennox McLendon / AP


Mandela, a former amateur boxer, respected the belt, and it was prominently displayed in the museum in a house where he once lived in Soweto Township, west of Johannesburg.

The museum is one of the top attractions on Vilakazi Street, the only street in the world to claim two Nobel Prize winners as former residents. Both Mandela and the late anti-apartheid Archbishop Desmond Tutu lived on the street.

According to police, the belt was stolen when thieves broke into the museum, popularly known as the Mandela House, and the theft was reported to police on July 1.

Police spokesman Dimakatsu Selo said no suspects had been arrested and that police appealed for any information related to the theft.

Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically elected leader in 1994 after spending 27 years in prison for his fight against apartheid, a brutal system of white minority rule in the country from 1948 to 1994.

Mandela died in December 2013.

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