The Lions have paid tribute to Jimmy Abbott after the South African boxing legend and Ellis Park regular died on Sunday.

The former national heavyweight champion died at his home in Heidelberg on Sunday night after succumbing to heart failure at the age of 61.

One of the most well-known figures in South African boxing history, news of Abbott’s death immediately made waves on social media with members of the sporting community paying their respects.

Throughout his life, Abbott was known to be a diehard Lions supporter and the union on Sunday confirmed as much, referring to him as one of their biggest fans.

“It’s with sadness that the Lions Rugby Company learnt of the passing of Jimmy Abbott, boxing legend and one of the biggest Lions fans ever,” a Tweet from the union read.

“Jimmy was a regular at Emirates Airline Park and we will miss him dearly.”

Former Lions and Springbok lock Kobus Wiese also added his voice to the tributes.

“Everything about Jimmy was big! His stature, his love for the Lions, his devotion to the Lord,” he wrote.

One of Abbott’s most famous fights took place at the Ells Park tennis stadium in 1980 when he beat Kallie Knoetze.

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