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Twenty-four-year-old South African boxer Simiso Buthelezi tragically died earlier this week after succumbing to internal bleeding and brain damage that surfaced during the 10th round of his WBF Africa title against Siphesihle Mntungwa.
A video of Buethelezi’s final moments in the ring showed the boxer strangely punching at the air before passing out and being sent to the hospital.
Buthelezi was put in a medically induced coma and succumbed to the brain damage days later.
ESPN boxing commentators Tim Bradley and Joe Tessitore weren’t aware of the news and gave a joking account of the Buthelezi video. At first, the announcers were commenting on boxer Alexis Angulo bouncing around the ring, dizzyingly going from neutral corner to opponent Edgar Berlanga’s corner.
“I’ve seen worse,” Bradley said during the boxing broadcast Saturday night. “There’s a video circulating right now where a guy actually knocked another guy out of the ring. He got back in the ring and the other guy actually started boxing a ghost in the corner.”
After a backlash ensued for unknowingly mocking the video of Buthelezi days after his death, both announcers quickly returned on air to issue an apology.
“I want to take the time out right now and apologize for that last statement that I made about that guy that was actually punching someone in the corner. He actually passed away a few days ago. I had no clue that he passed away, and I just want to give my utmost apologies to his family and to his loved ones,” Bradley commented. Tessitore joined in the sentiment and extended his condolences to Simiso’s family.
The damage from Simiso’s tragic passing has also affected opponent Siphesihle Mntungwa, who attested to having suicidal thoughts for his involvement in the scene.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela