Video of South African boxer Simiso Buthelezi went viral on Sunday night after the 24 year-old pugilist, who appeared to be in complete control of opponent Siphesihle Mntungwa for the duration of their 10-round fight, suddenly lost his bearings and became disoriented, swinging wildly at what appeared to be an invisible opponent.
Two days later he was dead.
“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 on 7 June in hospital in Durban,” read a statement from Boxing South Africa.
The referee was quick to intervene during last weekend’s incident and Buthelezi was promptly rushed to the hospital. Unfortunately the situation took a turn for the worse and the WBF lightweight was placed in a medially-induced coma, to no avail.
“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,” the statement continued. “At the hospital, Mr Buthelezi was given the best care possible but he succumbed to the injury.”
An independent medical review is expected over the coming weeks.
Trainer Bheki Mngomezulu told News 24 his disciple was in good health prior to the bout against Mntungwa and exhibited no signs of stress during the contest. In fact, Buthelezi was expected to cruise to a unanimous decision victory but became disoriented with just 14 seconds remaining in the final frame.
Buthelezi was a recent university graduate with a degree in botany and zoology.