In a nationally televised South African boxing match, Simiso Buthelezi collapsed in the corner of the ring. A few days later, the boxer was dead. The fight was between Buthelezi and Siphesihle Mnutungwa on June 3. Buthelezi died two days later after slipping into a coma.

The flight was a difficult one, getting all the way to the tenth round before officials ended the fight prematurely. Prior to this, Buthelezi had become disoriented during the fight. After knocking Mntungwa to the ropes, the official separated the fighters. However, when the boxers were prepared to box again, Buthelezi turned away from Mntungwa and started throwing punches in the air before slumping against the ropes, by then the official had stopped the fight. Buthelezi was rushed to the hospital where he died on Tuesday due to bleeding in the brain.

The bout between the two was for the WBF African lightweight title, which Mnutngwa would subsequently take. Since then, Mntungwa has said he’s received backlash from fans and neighbors alike, the backlash that has led him to suicidal thoughts, “I came into heavy criticism and received insults on social media platforms when Simiso was hospitalised; it has taken another level now that he has passed away,” Mntungwa told reporters, “All I wanted was to win the title, which maybe was going to help change my life and that of my family. I am the only one working at home, where I stay with my young brother, my aunt, and her children.”

The events of that title fight were brought up during a match between Alexis Angulo and Edgar Berlanga, broadcasted on ESPN. During the fight, ESPN broadcaster Tim Bradley referenced the now-viral video of Buthelezi boxing the air saying, “I’ve seen worse. There’s a video circulating right now where a guy actually knocked another guy out of the ring. He got back in the ring and the other guy actually started boxing a ghost in the corner.”

Bradley later apologized for the comments, saying he was unaware that Buthelezi had passed away, “I want to take the time out right now and apologize for that last statement that I made about that guy that was actually punching someone in the corner. He actually passed away a few days ago. I had no clue that he passed away, and I just want to give my utmost apologies to his family and to his loved ones.”

Boxing South Africa is currently conducting an independent medical review of the incident.

Read more about:

Leave a comment

Listen to the uInterview Podcast!
Get the most-revealing celebrity conversations with the uInterview podcast!