Simiso Buthelezi recently competed against fellow South African Siphesihle Mntungwa. Taking place on June 5th for the WBO African Light Title, Simiso looked to be cruising to a decision win until things took a turn. Buthelezi seemed to lose all sense of what was going on. The referee called the fight after the bizarre incident, and more has come to light since.
A viral video of what happened recently surfaced online. After knocking his opponent down against the ropes, Simiso took his place in a neutral corner. All seemed fine until his opponent regained his feet and looked ready to continue. Upon this, he seemed to turn his focus from his rocked opposition and to the referee. As the ref moved away into the open space, so did Buthelezi. Once again the ref circled away. Leaving Simiso in an unmanned corner throwing punches at nothing but air. The referee promptly stepped in and called the bout.
Buthelezi’s trainer has since interviewed with News24 regarding the incident. “There wasn’t anything untoward in the fight and in training, he was leading the fight on points before the unfortunate incident occurred. 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.”
It appears even those closest to him had no idea of what had occurred.
In what was a scary and bizarre incident, we now know that Simiso has sadly passed. The cause of his death has been confirmed as internal bleeding from a brain injury. He suffered the damage in his fight Sunday and passed two days later on Tuesday. After the bout, he was in a medically induced coma, but nothing could be done.
A promising fighter with a 4-0 record until this fight, at 24, Simiso Buthelezi had the boxing world at his hands. With all eyes on this tragic incident let’s hope more can be done to bring light to the situation and the true nature of the dangers all fighters face when entering the ring. In a sport where fighter safety is the priority. We hope all can be done to help find out what led to this and to prevent it in future.
We here at Combat Sports UK send our deepest condolences to Simiso Buthelezi’s family and friends at this sad time.
Featured image credits to Simiso Buthelezi