Simiso Buthelezi dies after bout

By Ron Jackson

Lightweight Simiso Buthelezi died on Wednesday at the King Edward Hospital in Durban after his bout against Siphesihle Mntungwa for the vacant World Boxing Federation All Africa title, at the Greyville Convention Centre in Durban on Sunday.

He passed away after being in an induced coma and suffering with bleeding on the brain, after appearing completely disorientated in the tenth and last round of the fight against Mntungwa.

According to reports, the 24-year-old Buthelezi (4-1, 2 KOs) was ahead going into the tenth round and never suffered any punishment during the fight. After Buthelezi had knocked Mntungwa (7-1-2, 4 KOs) just about through the ropes it was a bizarre turn around to see the fighter walking towards the corner throwing punches in the air.

The referee stopped the fight soon afterwards as this happened before the bell in the tenth round.

This is a sad day for boxing, and I am sure all the boxing lovers and fans out there will feel for his family.

If one has to criticize after this tragic event, you must ask why a fighter with only four professional fights and 13 rounds in the professional ring, is allowed to go into a ten round title fight.

When a boxer dies there are always cries out there to ban the sport, but this should not happen as there will still be fights with no control and this would be a disaster.

Records are very sketchy in South Africa and the only available early records are those taken from newspaper reports and also those recorded by Manuel Velazquez, who was born in Tampa, Florida in December 1904. He collected information about boxing injuries worldwide and based on his study, he became anti-boxing.

The first death reported in South Africa was in 1889 and since then there have been a total of 55 deaths in the professional ring and 26 amateurs.

It is interesting to note that over a period of some 150 years in the prize-ring only 12 deaths have been accounted for. Amongst them were Dan O’Leary who killed Gipsy Cooper, John Brown died after a fight with Bob Frobisher; Anthony Noon and Big Brighton Bill both met deaths at the hands of Owen Swift; Ned Brown died after his fight with Harry Scott; Jemmy Russell also died after his fight with Tom Smith and Simon Byrne was killed by Deaf Burke three years after Byrne had been responsible for the death of Sandy McKay. Jack Broughton introduced the first set of formal rules to govern prize fights in 1743 after George Stevenson, the Coachman, died of injuries suffered in a fight with him in 1741.

There is no doubt that boxing is a dangerous sport with doctors first identifying the “Punch Drunk Syndrome” in 1928 and we will never know how much damage is done in sparring.

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  • I saw the video of this, it was very odd. He took a jab stepping in and it just kind of knocked him off. He started looking over at and then walked up and started swinging at the corner post.

    Best wishes to Buthelezi’s family and the Mntungwa as well.

  • Boxing needs a world regulation body where every boxer has profile including physicals, MRI after KO loss or severe beating, eye exams, etc.

    • It’s very difficult to do as some deaths are caused by car wreck or other head trauma unrelated to boxing and the boxing just is the final blow. Many injuries happen especially during sparring. I retired from a 12 year boxing career and had 1 stablemate die after a bout and at least 10 died as a result of boxing brain damage. I’m grateful I have all my faculties.

  • RIP, this is the worse thing about the sweet science.

    Godspeed home.

  • Could tell this was something really bad, the way he saw the ref and followed him, then the ref moved but he kept going. RIP mate

  • Only 24 y old, 4-0 before this fight and he starts getting disorientated for no reason a person can really see. Must have had some problem or injury. Very sad. RIP Simiso Buthelezi

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