***UPDATE: Buthelezi was placed in a medically-induced coma and later died from his injuries (full story here).
Combat sports can be dangerous business, and boxing even more so than mixed martial arts (MMA) because of a significant amount of extra head trauma. A new video clip coming out of South Africa is a dark reminder of this unsettling reality.
In a fight for the vacant WBF African Lightweight title, Simiso Buthelezi knocked his opponent, Siphesihle Mntungwa, through the ropes during the tenth round of their fight. But, it was Buthelezi who suddenly became disoriented as if just knocked down. After the referee stood Mntungwa back up, Buthelezi turned away from his opponent and started punching at the air.
Very scary in South Africa please for Simiso Buthelezi (4-1). At 2:43 of the 10th & final round, Siphesihle Mntungwa (7-1-2) falls through the ropes but then Buthelezi appears to lose his understanding of the present situation. Mntungwa takes the WBF African lightweight title pic.twitter.com/YhfCI623LB— Tim Boxeo (@TimBoxeo) June 5, 2022
The referee quickly waved off the fight once he realized something was wrong. Simiso Buthelezi was then rushed to the hospital. According to boxing reporter Tim Boxeo, Buthelezi is currently in stable condition and will be held for several days as doctors try to figure out what happened.
It’s an an extremely unfortunate turn of affairs for Buthelezi because the previously undefeated fighter was en route to winning the title via unanimous decision. Now, his career may be over just as he was on the cusp of being a champion.
Given the circumstances, the WBF decided to delay the belt awarding ceremony for Siphesihle Mntungwa out of respect for Buthelezi and his family.