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A harrowing scene during a South African boxing bout resulted in 24-year-old lightweight boxer Simiso Buthelezi being sent to the hospital and into an induced coma. The fight occurred on Sunday between Buthelezi (4-1) and Siphesihle Mntungwa (7-1-2) for the WBF Africa title.
After knocking Mntungwa against the ropes in the final (10th) round and continuing his command over his opponent, Buthelezi began to wobble around and, at one point, started swinging in the direction of the official before staggering toward an empty corner of the ring, as the New York Post reported.
Referee Elroy Marshall hollered for medical attention after calling off the fight, keeping Buthelezi upright as medics rushed over.
The scene’s inexplicable tragedy sent audiences and spectators into questioning what had happened to Buthelezi, who was controlling the fight after nine rounds.
Multiple outlets reported that Buthelezi was possibly suffering from a previous head injury or dealing with a blood clot.
Dr. Buyi Mabaso-Dlamini, a ringside doctor that tended to the scene, commented that the fighter is stable, as of Tuesday, but “not in a good health condition at all.”
“We discovered that he bled on the brain and sadly his condition does not allow the doctors that are treating to operate at the moment due to the condition,” Mabaso-Dlamini said.
“It could be injuries building up all the years. His condition deteriorated when he was rushed to the hospital. But he was worse on his arrival at the hospital than when he left Greyville [the fight venue].
“Another suspicion is that he may have suffered an injury before Sunday’s fight,” he added.
Buthelezi has been in an induced coma at King Edward VIII Hospital in Durban, South Africa since.
“As brutal as boxing can be, but this is the last thing you expect. Everything was fine; no weight issues … basically no signs of anything to look into in that direction,” said fight promoter Zandile Malinga.
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Mntungwa was cheering pretty hard for getting whooped on for most of it. Hope Buthelezi recovers.