Tragic: South African boxer dies days after ‘fighting invisible opponent’ in the ring

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A South African boxer named Simiso Buthelezi has passed away just days after being disorientated inside the ring and attempting to punch an invisible opponent.

Just seconds into the 10th round of a WBF African lightweight title fight against Siphesihle Mntungwa, having knocked his opponent down through the ropes, Buthelezi turned towards the empty far corner and began punching thin air. Buthelezi appeared confused and the referee quickly called off the bout.

The fighter was rushed to hospital and put into an induced coma in at King Edward VIII Hospital in Durban but on Wednesday died after suffering a bleed on the brain.

Boxing South Africa, who confirmed Buthelezi’s passing are to initiate an independent medical review of the injury and will make public the results.

A statement, co-signed by the boxer’s family reads: “It is with great sadness for Boxing South Africa and the Buthelezi family to announce the passing away of Mr. Simiso Buthelezi who passed away last night June 7 2022 at hospital in Durban.

“On June 5 2022, Mr Buthelezi participated in a boxing tournament hosted by Starline Boxing Promotions at Greyville, Durban. Towards the end of his bout, Mr Buthelezi collapsed and was taken to hospital and it was discovered at the hospital that he suffered a brain injury which resulted in internal bleeding.

“At the hospital Mr. Buthelezi was given the best care possible but he however succumbed to the injury last night as aforesaid. Boxing South Africa will conduct an independent medical review of the injury and will then make public the results of that medical review.

“The Buthelezi family and Boxing South Africa acknowledges warm words of condolences of the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture. The Buthelezi family and Boxing South Africa will in due course make announcement on funeral arrangements.

“Boxing South Africa and the Buthelezi family wishes to request members of the public and the media to give them space while rnouming the passing away of this great boxer who was exemplary both outside and inside the ring.”

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