In a saddening turn of events, South African boxer, Simiso Buthelezi has died in hospital after suffering a brain injury. The injury caused him to throw punches at thin air during his fight at the weekend in Durban.
South African boxer Simiso Buthelezi has died in hospital after suffering a brain injury which caused him to throw punches at thin air during his fight (the video of which went viral) at the weekend.
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) June 8, 2022
The fight was contested at lightweight and had a shocking ending to proceedings. Buthelezi was taking on Siphesihle Mntungwa where in the 10th round, he forced his opponent to almost fall through the ropes. After this exchange, having been separated by the referee, Buthelezi appeared to be ready to exchange again, however, turned and began to throw strikes at thin air in a confusing and worrying turn of events. The referee stepped in immediately and stopped proceedings.
It was reported after the fight that he had been placed in a medically induced coma for his own safety.
— New York Post (@nypost) June 7, 2022
It was announced on Wednesday, however, that Buthelezi had died as a result of a brain injury. Boxing South Africa and the Buthelezi family released a joint statement stating: ‘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 hospital in Durban’.
Not the First Time
Unfortunately, deaths in boxing aren’t totally uncommon. This year, Russian Arest Saakyan spent 10 days in a coma after being knocked out before passing away.
American prospect, Patrick Day is arguably the most well-known fighter to have passed away due to injuries sustained in the boxing ring. Taking on Charles Conwell, he was knocked down three times and rushed to hospital after the bout but passed away from his injuries. Eddie Hearn stated that the sport needs to become safer, however, nothing has been done as of yet.
It isn’t just in the male side of the sport either. The first (and as of yet, only) recorded woman to die from boxing-related injuries was Becky Zerlentes. She was knocked out by Heather Schmitz in the third round of their bout, fell unconscious and never regained consciousness. The official cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.
Boxing must do more to protect its fighters and hopefully, this will be the turning point.