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South African boxer who became disoriented in fight dies

June 8, 2022 at 5:53 p.m.

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — A South African boxer has died two days after he became totally disoriented during a fight, walking away from his rival into an empty corner of the ring while throwing punches into the air.

Boxing South Africa reported on Wednesday that Simiso Buthelezi, of the lightweight category, died Tuesday night after Sunday’s fight in Durban, an eastern city. He had been in an induced coma.

Buthelezi collapsed moments after the referee called the fight over in the 10th and final round.

The referee’s decision came after Buthelezi looked lost in the ring. The death occurred in hospital as a result of a brain injury and hemorrhage, Boxing South Africa reported, without specifying the boxer’s age.

Buthelezi’s fight against Siphesihle Mntungwa was broadcast on national television in South Africa.

Buthelezi had dropped Mntungwa over the ropes. The referee separated them and Buthelezi stepped back as Mntungwa got to his feet.

But when both were called to resume the fight, Buthelezi turned to the right and backed away from his opponent into the corner, throwing several punches as if he were shadowboxing.

The referee decreed the end of the fight. Shortly after, Buthelezi collapsed.

Boxing South Africa has indicated that it will conduct an independent medical investigation into what happened.

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