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South African boxer Simiso Buthelezi dies of brain bleed after becoming disoriented during African lightweight title fight

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Posted: Wednesday, June 8, 2022. 9:59 pm CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: South African boxer Simiso Buthelezi died of a brain bleed after becoming disoriented during the African lightweight title fight that he was dominating in Durban, South Africa, on Sunday.

Twenty-four-year-old Buthelezi had punched Siphesilhe Mntungwa backing him against the ropes and forcing him out of the ring in a 10-round bout at the Greyville Convention Centre in Durban. When the fight restarted, Buthelezi turned away from his opponent, followed the referee and started throwing punches in the air. Mntungwa was behind him. Seeing how disoriented Buthelezi was, the referee intervened and stopped the fight in favour of an overjoyed, though undeserving Mntungwa, who in this manner became the World Boxing Federation (WBF) All-Africa lightweight titleholder.

Buthelezi was rushed to the hospital suffering from a brain bleed. He was placed in an induced coma, but he never recovered and died on Tuesday night.

In a joint press release with the Buthelezi family, Boxing South Africa confirmed the death.

“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 the 7th June 2022 at (a) hospital in Durban,” said the release.

“Towards the end of his bout, Mr Buthelezi collapsed and was taken to hospital and it was discovered that he suffered a brain injury which resulted in internal bleeding. At the hospital, Mr Buthelezi was given the best care possible but he succumbed to the injury.”

Buthelezi’s trainer Bheki Mngomezulu said on Monday that Buthelezi had been quite normal before the fight.

“I really can’t explain what happened, to be honest. It was bewildering, but in his training and in the build-up to the fight, there was nothing untoward with regards to his condition. He was in good nick before the fight,” said Mngomezulu.

According to ESPN, ring announcer Sipho Mashego said he was “dumbfounded” by Buthelezi’s sudden disorientation.

“Simiso was dictating terms, he was actually controlling the fight from Round 1. He didn’t take any punishment from his opponent,” said Mashego.

“But this was the last round, with 14 seconds to go, and his opponent fell out of the ring. [Buthelezi] then started swinging wildly, and no one understood what was going on. It was bizarre.”

Boxing South Africa said in a release the organization “will conduct an independent medical review of the injury and will make public the results of that medical review.”

Buthelezi had entered the title fight undefeated with a 4-0 record, including two knockouts. For his part, Mntungwa, who had not won any of his last three bouts, has a 7-1-2 record with four knockouts.

 

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